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Longterm Discontinuation / Withdrawal Syndrome


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#31 Nutter 6

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 12:24 PM

I have been off of Effexor for a month and I still have very slight brain zaps on occasion. Usually when I move my eyes to something new too quickly.


Yeah, me too! Even after the zaps pretty much stop, they can still surprise me when I move my eyes to the right...why the right?!?
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#32 In_Remission_solidstate

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 05:24 PM

So a while ago I decided to quit Effexor cold turkey after taking 150 mg/day for many years. I didn't like how it made me want to sleep all the time and I also had some traumatic issues that made me really frustrated to being so dependent on getting my prescriptions filled. It was stupid but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

I was more or less fine for the first two or three weeks. I had some of the usual side effects of some dizziness, etc. but nothing too bad. I actually felt a lot better for about three weeks after I quit. Then I started feeling the worst anxiety of my life, worse than I could ever remember even before I started taking any kind of medication. My anxiety was so bad I could not function. I could not eat and I lost 20 lbs in a month.

My (new) p-doc thinks this was still an effect of Effexor withdrawal and I wanted to ask if anyone here had any similar experiences.

Thanks

#33 Pillboxfox

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 07:07 PM

To me Effexor withdrawal was pure hell. Hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, visual distortions, insonmnia, major anxiety. Anyway. Anxiety can be a symptom of Effexor withdrawal. So I would be too worried with that. Quitting Effexor is very difficult so good luck and don't give up. It can be done.

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#34 Katiebug683

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 01:57 PM

I would say more than likely what you experienced was caused by Effexor withdrawal. I'm glad to hear that your doctor knows it can cause that. Some of them deny it and it makes me so mad.

I too got off of Effexor XR and it can be done. It took me about two months before I finally stopped having the brain zaps (they were very faint and occasional by then). I went for about a week of having the worst mood swings of my life, shivering/tremors, diarrhea, nausea, vertigo, night sweats, nightmares, and faint hallucinations. Taking Prozac during that period helped and so did clonazapam. I would highly recommend something like that, or Valium...something very calming. If you have some one to help you through it just to be there for you, that's a huge help too. My best friend took me hiking and my husband stayed home with me during the first few days of it.
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#35 In_Remission_ShadowBane

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 11:36 AM

so, i took effexor for 3 months in the begginning of the last year. it gave me high blood pressure so i had to discontinue it.
the thing is, after the witdrawal damned week, i tried several other antidepressants. after a while, i gave up and suddenly i started to have some badass panic attacks.
funny thing is that the panic attacks disappeared instantly after i started to take paxil (12,5 mg, the one that lasts all day. XR?). it's been 8 months with it, no panic attacks at all.
i mean, 4 months of panic attacks after i gave up antidepressants and had a bad time leaving effexor. i spent two days without paxil this month and i though i felt a beggining of panic.

the question is... maybe effexor left me hooked for life? :/


sorry about the bad english, it's not my main language.

#36 Brainbeard

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 12:12 PM

For life, nah, I don't think so. It can take a brain six months to recover from SSRI use, and probably longer from Effexor. There may be some permanent brain changes with most AD's, but I don't think these will affect you in a dramatic way. You may have been OK if you'd waited another couple of months without AD's.

Now that the Paxil is helping you, what is your problem actually? Or do you hate to be on it?
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#37 Lazarus Prime

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 10:37 AM

Is there a technical term for these "brain zaps"? I feel a little silly saying it...


"Brain zaps" and "brain shivers" are the two generally accepted terms for that symptom with "brain shocks" coming in a distant third.

When looking at the literature "brain shivers" is a term used by the pros when dealing with inflammatory problems in one's brain. Neurologists and epileptologists use "brain shocks" all the time, usually when discussing how they induced seizures in critters. "Shock-like sensations" is the only technical term used that accurately describes what is happening, because most of the time the doctors and/or researchers use "headache" when listing the symptoms of SSRI discontinuation syndrome.

Stick with "brain zaps."

Does tingling sensations and coming from the fluid around the brain fall into this category, or is that something different? Just tingling, sometimes also a feeling like when blood flow is coming back into when you sat on your foot or something -- NOT the pins and needles sensation, but the other one. Maybe closer actually would be if you get very cold, sort of quasi-frostbite and run your flesh through warm/hot water, yknow you get that itching that's not really itching, it's like an itching crawling feeling inside the lower layers of skin. That's what this is like... a tingling, itching crawling feeling on the surface of my brain.

Edited by Sduibek, 27 August 2009 - 10:39 AM.

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#38 dymphna

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 10:57 AM

Nah, it's not an itch, it's a full on zap. Like shuffling on carpet and then touching something.


D
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#39 dymphna

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 10:57 AM

Hmm.. How about a name like "for f*cks sake, this sh*t again?!", which is what I say to myself each time it happens.


I just saw this. It is hilarious!


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#40 arcady59

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 07:07 PM

I just stopped this crazy med and I have been having the strangest, most unpleasant sensations. Horrible brain zaps; if I try to look out the side of one of my eyes I feel like I am going to tip over, and I'm pretty sure I almost fell down last night when I was standing idle. I felt like my right knee was gonna give out (wasn't drunk or even drinking) for a split second. Today has not been much better. I hope this goes away soon, as it really sucks.

I have some leftover tramadol from an arm injury, I wonder if taking 50mg a day can help this? I am uncomfortable taking another medication that can mess with my neurotransmitters, but this is getting kinda scary. I suppose I should talk to my pdoc, but it is Saturday night so I can't see her for a few days. Any ideas/suggestions?
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#41 dymphna

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 04:23 AM

I just stopped this crazy med and I have been having the strangest, most unpleasant sensations. Horrible brain zaps; if I try to look out the side of one of my eyes I feel like I am going to tip over, and I'm pretty sure I almost fell down last night when I was standing idle. I felt like my right knee was gonna give out (wasn't drunk or even drinking) for a split second. Today has not been much better. I hope this goes away soon, as it really sucks.

I have some leftover tramadol from an arm injury, I wonder if taking 50mg a day can help this? I am uncomfortable taking another medication that can mess with my neurotransmitters, but this is getting kinda scary. I suppose I should talk to my pdoc, but it is Saturday night so I can't see her for a few days. Any ideas/suggestions?


Oh no.... No, no, no, no - do NOT take Tramadol.

Tramadol + anything that hits serotonin may equal bad, bad juju.

Please call your Pdoc for a bridge drug to get your brain through this. You don't have to stay on the bridge drug - they are literally used to soften the road off of the 'fex, and they, themselves do not have the same type of discontinuation.


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Yes, my name really is Dymphna.

 

I'm not a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or therapist.

I can find you an answer and I won't blow smoke up your ass.

 

St. Dymphna is the Patron for brain maladies.

 

I'm the Enforcer.

 

eqnmrt.jpg

 


#42 Lazarus Prime

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 10:38 AM

Why do doctors even still prescribe Effexor? Everything i've read makes it just sound like a terrible, terrible option amongst SSRIs and SNRIs (SSNRI?), not to mention the other classes of AD meds... sigh

They should be required to advise patients of *rare* side effects, every single one of the PI sheet. When you start Lamictal, mention that you could go deaf. When you start Effexor, mention that it could permanently effect your balance. etc.

Edited by Sduibek, 20 September 2009 - 10:39 AM.

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#43 Jerod Poore

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 01:03 PM

Why do doctors even still prescribe Effexor?


No. They prescribe Pristiq instead. Because newer = better.

They should be required to advise patients of *rare* side effects, every single one of the PI sheet. When you start Lamictal, mention that you could go deaf. When you start Effexor, mention that it could permanently effect your balance. etc.


Sort of like that ad the Scientologists are running, where the shrink pulls out the bottles and lists a school shooting for each one? Or those class-action lawsuit ads? Geez, how would Peter Breggin earn a living if doctors did his job of fearmongering for him?
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#44 Lazarus Prime

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 01:11 PM

I thought school shootings were the fault of Doom, Dungeons & Dragons, and Marylin Manson though?
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#45 In_Remission_rob8

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 10:02 AM

When I quit Effexor after a slow taper, the only problem I had was very bad brain zaps. Almost constantly for a while, which was really Hell. Not painful or anything, just annoying to the point of total distraction. They persisted for 3 weeks after taking the last pill, then stopped quite suddenly.

Well, believe it or not I'm back on Effexor, because it is the only damn thing that works for me. I wish this weren't the case, but there it is. If/when the time comes to get off it again, I'll just deal with it, and hope the zaps stop like they did last time.

Rob

#46 Serpens

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 11:31 AM

I thought school shootings were the fault of Doom, Dungeons & Dragons, and Marylin Manson though?

Well yeah, I mean -those- school shootings in the 1980s were. And the ones back in the 1920s were due to unloved European minority immigrants corrupting the youth. In the 1990s I think they were the fault of video games. In the 1960s they were caused by desegregation and heathenistic rock and roll music.

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#47 In_Remission_lisaslists2000

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 06:25 PM

Sorry, I dont buy "permanent anything" with AD's.Can they fuck you up for a period of time? Certainly. But you cant convince me that there is any AD on the market that will cause permanent neurological damage.


I've been off of it for a couple of years and still have a hard to describe "ringing" ALWAYS in the top of my head. I think of it as a million tiny hanging chandelier crystals vibrating and hitting each other and making a ringing sound.

#48 Lazarus Prime

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 11:11 AM

Sorry, I dont buy "permanent anything" with AD's.Can they fuck you up for a period of time? Certainly. But you cant convince me that there is any AD on the market that will cause permanent neurological damage.


I've been off of it for a couple of years and still have a hard to describe "ringing" ALWAYS in the top of my head. I think of it as a million tiny hanging chandelier crystals vibrating and hitting each other and making a ringing sound.

This could be Tinnitus maybe?
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#49 In_Remission_workinprogress

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 10:59 PM

Thanks for putting this post out there. It had a lot of information and is really making me rethink this med (pristiq).

Here's my situation:

I have unipolar depression, and was diagnosed with major depressive dx recently. The last episode I had was 1991, so bascially have been okay in between, but do tend to start feeling depression descending, without a full blown episode actually materializing. I've always been able to keep it at bay with excercise, diet, meditation, spiritual practice and humor.

Not this time though-- just like way back then. I can hardly move and am not functioning.

Back then, I took Doxepin, and had NO withdrawal effects, none of the brain zaps that anyone is describing and complete relief from my depression. Two disturbing side effects were fatigue (so I started taking it only at night), and weight gain (which I lost when I stopped taking it). I had (and still have) horrible reactions to SSRI's even at the first dose but continuing to get worse as I stuck with them (which I was only able to manage for a grand total of 4 days). So those don't work for me.

Okay, so I am a virgin to all of this withdrawal symptom nonsense, and I think I might like to keep it that way. Especially since I only seem to have periodic serious bouts. Life is pretty good in between and I'm thinking I may be using a drug where the cons outweigh the pros (for me anyway). The depression is serious enough to require some intervention at this point though. Does anyone think Strattera might be appropriate? I am really impressed by the knowledge I'm seeing here, and am open to listening to feedback for sure.

I've only taken one dose of the Pristiq. I'm feeling some mild side effects: headache, hunger, fuzziness in the brain, elevated anxiety levels.... nothing too strong yet, but I've only taken one.

Thanks again for forwarding this information (I think Sduibek???). Still trying to figure the forum out. Not rocket science, but I am slightly challenged at the moment :mad:

#50 In_Remission_vale-46

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 01:29 AM

Thanks for putting this post out there. It had a lot of information and is really making me rethink this med (pristiq).

Here's my situation:

I have unipolar depression, and was diagnosed with major depressive dx recently. The last episode I had was 1991, so bascially have been okay in between, but do tend to start feeling depression descending, without a full blown episode actually materializing. I've always been able to keep it at bay with excercise, diet, meditation, spiritual practice and humor.

Not this time though-- just like way back then. I can hardly move and am not functioning.


From what I gather, getting yourself stressed enough, for long enough causes chemical changes in your brain which don't help you deal with the stressful situation so well. Medication can be a band aid, but ultimately you have to deal with the stress (if it is stress of course) somehow.

Regardless of whether the above paragraph applies to you, do some research into the side effects of the various medications on offer before committing to them. The other thing to do is try to gauge how much your medical practitioner knows about the medications out there in regards to side effects and getting off them.

Also consider reading:
The Crazy Meds Forum: Crazy Meds Talk ver 9.0 > Basic Information About All Psychiatric / Neurological Meds > Other Common Stuff-> Memory & Other Cognitive Effects, Brain fog, wrong words coming out, etc.

#51 In_Remission_vale-46

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 02:13 AM

To summarise:
2 months off Effexor XR 150mg. Still getting excessive day time sleepiness. Things are improving (I think) very, very slowly. Uni starts in 2 weeks. Give modafinil a try with the idea being to run as small a dose as possible to get 8hrs or productive time a day and minimise any effects on sleep?


Details:
I was on Effexor XR 150mg for 3 years, but have been off it completely since the start of December 2009. I got off it as the side effect of it (excessive tiredness during the day) seemed to be getting worse (plus I didn't need to be taking an AD any more). Either that or caffeine was losing its effect at rectifying the tiredness.
Plus I could sleep for almost any length of time and not feel refreshed upon waking.

Regardless, I feel pretty confident that it was the Effexor that was causing the excessive tiredness as blood tests turned up nothing, my diet was good/sufficient for my exercise requirements and the amount of and type of training I was doing for cross country mountain biking should not have been causing it.

I'm now sleeping better, but I'm still copping excessive tiredness during the day and my short term memory (stuff I've just done or stuff I've just been told to do at work as examples) is worse than it was in early 2009 and all times prior to that. The short term memory thing could be to do with the tiredness as I think it decreases when somewhat pumped up on caffeine or Red Bull. I think I'm only getting the cognitive ability of myself a few years ago (when on another anti depressant, or early in the piece with Effexor) with a decent intake of caffeine (1.5-2 cups of brewed coffee). The problem is that my body adapts to the caffeine so the "normality" only lasts for a finite period of time then I have to taper off.

The tiredness during the day appears to be getting better gradually, but very, very slowly. Based on the improvement thus far, I'd say it is going to take 6-12 months to come close to being back to normal.

Other details:
25 years old, physically quite fit (close to elite level mountain biker), have a diet fairly high in fresh fruit and veg, am not depressed/down

#52 In_Remission_buddy

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 09:30 PM

been on pristiq for a year. on 150mg. being stopped coz it doesnt work and coz of sweating. pdoc is reducing it every 2-3 days till i get to 0. so 150 then 100 then 50 then 0. if i get withdrawal effects from stopping it how long will they last for? whats the longest can they last for?

#53 korey1015

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 09:41 PM

I don't mean to scare you, but when I was tapering myself off Effexor, every time I got down around 25mg/day, the brain zaps would not stop unless I increased the dose. I eventually was taken off that little dose of Effexor and put on Depakote (and anticonvulsant) for a month, and the brain zaps went away. I have no real proof of this, but I honestly think I'd still have the brain zaps if it hadn't been for the Depakote.
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#54 Artemisia

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 01:42 PM

Honestly, I have no idea how long they last, but that taper schedule sounds awfully fast. I don't remember what mine was when going off Effexor (Pristiq's older brother), but my biggest problem was going down from the lowest available dose (37.5 mg) to zero. I ended up opening up the capsules (with my doctor's reluctant permission) and dividing up the granules. (In Effexor XR's case, the extended release is built into the granules themselves.) I couldn't stand the brain zaps.
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#55 notfred

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 03:11 PM

It is impossible to answer that question because everyone is different. I have no withdrawal symptoms other that a shock or 2 on stopping cold turkey. Some report withdrawal symptoms for months.

nf
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PRN: Lorazepam 1-4 mg, Alprazolam 1-2 mg, Dextroamphetamine 10-40 mg, Propranolol 20-40 mg

Supps: Multi-vitamin/mineral, Vitamin D 2,000 IU, Fish oil 7.2 g

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

All doses are a daily total.


#56 Lazarus Prime

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 01:40 PM

It is impossible to answer that question because everyone is different. I have no withdrawal symptoms other that a shock or 2 on stopping cold turkey. Some report withdrawal symptoms for months.

nf



Her and I recently learned that it's possible to have a migraine without the headache (???) so we're wondering if her vertigo and other symptoms are due instead to some kind of biological issue, instead of a long-term drug reaction. I think with this issue, ironically, "time will tell"

Edited by Sduibek, 20 March 2010 - 01:41 PM.

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#57 In_Remission_jaimebbyy

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 08:26 AM

I started experiencing "brain zaps" when I would have withdrawal symptoms from Wellbutrin. I was younger so I would go on and off my meds whenever I felt like it, so I would have the zaps all the time. Then when I finally got off the Wellbutrin for good, I had them but not too bad. They went away but i'm pretty sure my ears will be ringing for the rest of my life.

Now i'm on 150mg/day of Lamictal, and a series of other meds. I've been having horrible brain zaps today. I'm not sure what it's from, if it has to be withdrawal or just because i'm taking one of these meds. Everytime I move my eyes or close them I get zapped. It's extremely annoying. I just feel like i'm in a fog and almost like I have headphones on or something because when I talk it sounds like it's inside my head, if that makes sense.

This might seem like a weird question, but can you get them from Adderall withdrawal? I forgot my Adderall at home yesterday so I didn't take it. But besides that, what could it be??

I'm on Trazodone too for sleep, but I don't take it every single day, and i've never experienced brain zaps from that. I also take Lorazepam for anxiety, but again I don't take that everyday and this is the first time this has happened.

Hmm.

#58 In_Remission_jaimebbyy

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 08:57 AM

Low and behold, I took my Adderall and it finally kicked in, and the brain zaps are gone completely and I feel fine now. How strange. I never thought that would happen with Adderall. I'm not on an extremely high dose, just 30mg XR.

#59 nukesandchems

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 03:08 PM

I've just been opening up my capsules (150mg) and emptying out the granules into a bottle, little by little (as per the nurse at my pdocs office). Now I'm having crazy anxiety. Could the low dose of Effexor be causing this? I hardly think it's the Wellbutrin I just added.

edit: It WAS the Wellbutrin. Too high of a dose. Still can't get myself off the Effexor though!

Edited by nukesandchems, 10 May 2010 - 09:23 PM.

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Diagnosis: Bipolar Disorder, Panic Disorder, PTSD, OCD, Fibromyalgia
Meds Now: 300mg Lamictal, 1000mg Depakote ER, 200mg Luvox ER, 800mg Seroquel XR, 1mg Klonopin (at night), 1mg Klonopin prn
Meds Tried: Serzone, Paxil, Lexapro, Doxepin, Neurontin, Ativan, Seroquel, Tegretol, Topamax, Effexor XR, Geodon, Valium, Zyprexa, Abilify, Lyrica, Wellbutrin, Trazodone, Ambien, Remeron, Cogentin, Latuda, Lunesta, Propranolol ER

 

My cocktail has been tapered down to a few good meds! YAY!

 

 

 


#60 Lazarus Prime

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 08:37 AM

Has anyone found a way to "cure" this??
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