Your Guide to Getting Off Effexor XR: Addiction, Withdrawal Symptoms, Detox, Timeline..

Table of Contents


You, just like many others, started taking Effexor at your doctor’s request.

Effexor is most commonly prescribed to address psychological issues like general anxiety disorder and insomnia.

Basically, it helps people address an underlying sense of stress by altering certain chemical structures in the brain.

What many people soon realize after they start taking Effexor is that – while it can help calm your acute emotional pains?-?in the end, it won’t actually fix the cause of your problems. And it can actually make your life worse.

A lot of people know this. They just want something to mask their pain. They know Effexor won’t “fix” the cause of their suffering.

But over time, when this medication begins to increase your issues and make them worse than they were before?- then there’s a problem. And this happens to a lot of people.

So you want to quit taking the drug and try another approach? Well, you likely weren’t told that detox and withdrawals from this substance can be terrible. Often far worse than the likes of Xanax or Oxycodone.

If you’re ready to taper off, keep reading.

If it’s the first time you are considering Effexor for depression, I would strongly suggest that you discuss the option of other treatments before trying this medication. There can be heavy consequences on your life and your well being, which you might not notice at first since you’re relieved to feel better emotionally, but as time goes by, and as you wish to resume your normal life and activities, you might feel unable to do so because of the side effects.

Effexor is often considered to have the worst withdrawals of any drug in its class. So remember that when you’re tapering off the drug.?It’s very important to follow the medical protocol and your doctor’s recommendations.

In this post, we’ll look at some facts that might help reaffirm your choice to quit or avoid Effexor. Also, advice to help you get off the medication.

Common Effexor (Venlafaxine) Withdrawal / Detox Symptoms

  • apathy
  • headaches (often felt around the sinuses)
  • nausea
  • irritability
  • shakiness
  • twitches
  • sweating
  • increased anxiety
  • dizziness
  • disorientation
  • hot/cold flashes
  • profuse sweating
  • vivid/disturbing nightmares
  • insomnia
  • stomach issues
  • hives
  • heavy mental fog
  • diarrhea
  • eyesight problems
  • throat feeling like it’s clenching
  • body aches
  • swollen joints
  • gastric reflex
  • an absence of libido
  • irregular bowel movements
  • numbness

More Severe?Effexor Withdrawal Symptoms

  • A continuous feeling of vertigo/being drunk/falling/standing up too fast
  • Continuous brain “shakes”/”electric jolts”/”zaps” / fluttering inside of the head.
  • Severe mood swings. Happy one moment, full of tears the next. Frequent suicidal thoughts.
  • Extreme nausea and vomiting?
  • High blood pressure
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Mental impairment
  • High cholesterol
  • Mania
  • Lockjaw
  • Generally feeling like you’re dying…

*These more severe withdrawal symptoms happen most often when someone quits taking Effexor abruptly or doesn’t taper off slowly enough.

For many people, it takes no less than three months to completely stop taking the medication, and for others even longer.

If you’ve been on Effexor for a long time you just can’t just stop taking it abruptly and not expect to have side effects. You have to take it slow since it directly influences very important chemical pathways/systems in your brain.

Your body needs time. It cannot fully “fix the situation” in 24 hours – or in Effexor’s case about 2 weeks for acute withdrawals.?

On Tapering off of Effexor

To have MINIMAL withdrawals it is best practice to cut dosage at a rate of between 5-10% at a time. No more than that.

Some doctors will recommend their patients taper by progressively cutting their dosage in half. For example, from 150mg down to 75mg, then to 37.5mg.. etc. But be aware – tapering at this rate can cause some of those bad withdrawal side effects mentioned above. But it’d still be far better than cutting off cold turkey.

Tapering with IR tablets vs XR Tablets should help with withdrawals

Instead of counting out granules from the RX Effexor pills its best to use Effexor immediate-release tablets. (XR’s are harder to get accurate as granule capsule contents vary anywhere from 105 – 124 granules per capsule).

Don’t worry you won’t feel any different than using the capsules—I switched from the capsules to the tablets). Switching from XR to IR shouldn’t cause you to feel any different as long as you keep taking the same mg dosages. The only difference is that you will take one half of your tablet dose in the morning and twelve hours later take the second half of your dose.

Controlling Dose with Effexor IR Tablets

Effexor IR tablets come in these doses: 25mg, 37.5mg, 50mg, 100mg.?

With a pill splitter, you can split your pills in half when necessary. Or quarters. Or eighths. Splitting tablets like this will enable you to have more control stepping done your medication.

For more in-depth info on tapering with this method, go here.

What’s the Effexor? Withdrawal Timeline

This really depends. Most people who are on venlafaxine drugs like Effexor can expect at least a year of tapering if they don’t want to experience the more severe withdrawals.

Some people REALLY want to be done with this medication, so they bear the suffering and taper quicker. For these people, it can be accomplished around 2 weeks to 3 months.

If you find that you cannot afford enough of the medication to taper off with, then ask your doctor for some Effexor samples. It’s well known how severe withdrawal symptoms are from Effexor and they should hopefully be willing to help. If that doesn’t work and your XR scripts are too pricey, then ask for generics. Maybe you can afford some of them.

Effexor and Weight Gain

Many people have experienced weight gain as a result of taking Effexor.?The drug affects an individuals metabolism, slowing it down and often adding weight around the stomach/middle/butt area.?

Often times this weight gain happens regardless of diet and exercise. Many people have experienced weight gain while not altering their diet or cutting back on exercise. Even with increased effort to lose weight, it is extremely difficult for many people to shed any weight due to the sluggish metabolic response that Effexor promotes in the body.

Most people get on this medication for anxiety and/or depression. The added weight issues may only add more to be displeased about in someone’s life. For all of the potential benefits of treating depression, many people find that the side effects like weight gain are making their lives even worse than before.

Once off this drug many people never want to get back on anything that can so drastically alter the body’s physiology, biology and all the other ‘ologies’ that forcefully ever again.

334 thoughts on “Your Guide to Getting Off Effexor XR: Addiction, Withdrawal Symptoms, Detox, Timeline..”

  1. so this must be why I feel like a worthless piece of shit suicide is beckoning

    1. Honestopinion

      Hi I’ve been taking Effexor XR for 13 yrs. I tried getting off this medicine and the withdrawls were so bad. I was on 37.5. So i went to see my Dr and he put me on Venlaflaxine hcl 25mg tablet.Take 1/2 morning 1/2 night for 3 months. I felt light headed and anxious. Then my husband was introduced to this product follow the link below. Im on 1/2 a day now with my Venlaflaxine and im doing great. No more light headed, anxiety and tense. I am so relaxed. This is my honest opinion. I want to help anyone who is trying to get off of this medication.

      1. I’ve been in Effexor XR for over 10 yrs. The only side effect I’ve had being on it is weight gain. I was on 150 and lowered my does to 75mg for over a year and just recently to 37.5. Then 37.5 every other day. At no point during my lowerin doses did I have any issues, now I have been off it for 5 days. The dizziness is awful and the chills and sweats shaking come and go. I find being physically active helps a lot. Be careful driving as you are not at your best. Only drive short distances and go slower be extra careful.
        I will NOT go back to taking this med. yes it did help me through some tough times in my life but this drugs withdrawal symptoms are not worth it. I will struggle thru it, go to work, eat healthy and exercise and continue to tell myself it will be better soon. The drug taught me how to be positive be strong and be stronger than this med. if your brain is reacting this bad it can’t be good for you right?? All the online info has helped me the last few days and I hope to be a positive out of all the negatives I’ve been reading with regards off ridding myself of this medication. Good luck everyone, be strong and we can do this!!!

        1. Linda Moyle

          Hi I would love to stop Effexor 300mg. I’ve gained so much weight & feel terrible. I never realised Effexor would be this nasty. I just want to stop it. Will I get very sick please

          1. Stephen Hornby

            I have been taking 300mg Effexor for 12 years and am now in the process of tapering off. I would never have started this drug if I had been warned of the withdrawal problems. I am planning on tapering off at 10% increments. I just don’t want to use this drug again. I thank everyone for their sharing their experiences and advise

          2. S keseian

            I missed 2 days due to my insurance being terminated and not having any left. I have never been so sick in my life. This is the worse thing I have ever been through and only 2 doses missed. I will be tapering off as I have an apt this week with my DR. I will never go back on this horrible med ever again. I pry it will not take too long to taper off. In all seriousness it was the worse feeling I have ever experienced. Shakes, nausea , weird head zapping feeling, so so dizzy, weakness in my arms and legs, and such bad blurry vision. I’ll deal with my stress, thank you.

          3. I really need help i’ve been on Effexor XR for 15 years right now am on 225mg I’m ready to get off!! but even when I miss a day I already have brain zaps the withdrawal part is freaking me out do you recommend I go to a clinic to help me taper off?

          4. cheryl Leckie

            I have been on venlafaxine for 24 years now after suffering a breakdown. Every time i try to stop or cut down, I suffer dreadful anxiety so end up going up a dose instead of down a dose which in turn makes me more disgusted with myself. I am trying to cut down on my own now without doctor interference but am worried I will end up ill. So far i have halved the beads in the capsule for two weeks and plan to further reduce this. I am on 300mg, (doctor’s advice, not my choice) and have never been so overweight in my life. This thread has given me the determination I need to continue cutting down. I don’t believe i am depressed now (my circumstances have changed greatly), but am afraid the depression will come back if I stop. i would advise people to avoid this medication at all costs.

          5. Yes, you will pray to die, and fear you will. During a very long illness of my husband’s, I ran out accidentally. I had bad dreams, night terrors recurred, I cried all day, screamed all night. We figured out what happened, I refilled and went on. My husband died 3 years ago, so I don’t think I need anything this bad. However, again this week, I inadvertently missed 2 days. I cried all day yesterday, had nightmares the night before, could hear the fluttering in my head. I started again last night & took 4 extra strength acetaminophen. I don’t suggest that. But I must taper off the 150ER I have been using for about 10 years. Taper off (I will) and never start back.

          6. I’ve been on Effexor XR 75mg for about 15 years. Always got dizzy and nauseous if I missed a pill, but for the last 5 years the withdrawal symptoms happened much sooner and were more extreme – brain zaps and auditory hallucinations. Reading about anti-depressants I found out that they’re not supposed to be prescribed long-term. So why was I prescribed Effexor for so many years? To withdraw, my “program” was to reduce my dosage by one pellet (from a capsule) every two weeks, then after a few months one less every week. I went really slow because I was terrified of the awful brain zaps. I’ve been at it for a year and haven’t had any withdrawal symptoms. Now I’m down to 25 pellets a day, so the end is in sight! I’ve started having restless leg syndrome and found out today that both taking Effexor and withdrawing from Effexor can cause RLS. How do these drug companies get away with selling these awful drugs – and how do doctors get away with prescribing them without fully understanding their terrible side effects?

            Good luck to everyone. Withdrawal is hard, but you can do it! Getting off Effexor is a good thing!

          7. SABYASACHI Sen

            Yes, to a certain degree, but you will always feel sick inside for maybe months, so be ready. Fish oil caps.,a good multivitamin and magnesium supplements may help. Try some ginger as well. L theanine, 5htp supplements may help if you can withstand it. BEST OF LUCK

          8. Deanie Ellis

            I have been on. 300 mg effexor xr for over 12 years and i dont think it works for me anymore. Im now having back trouble so he took me off the effexor xr and put me on cymboltia. Im feeling much better no withdrawels and cymboltia is also for pain in my back .Its working. Im glad to be off effexor. I was having brain zaps with it

          9. I’ve been taking t for 6 yrs dated 15mg then increased to 300mg. Now ring to aper off and am under dr care the tapering process the dr has me on is a 3wk process. I am having more of the severe affects which is effecting m daily life. I feel anxious irritable hot flashes cant sleep even though I am on strong sleep meds. Feel like I am ready to jump out of my skin itchy all over a times. I even believe I am having some paranoia issues. The brain sapping thing is horrible and no on seems to understand what I’m talking about. My dr has me replacing my med with another during the tapering process but I don’t know if it is making it worse or doing its job. I all around feel like I am losing control. I’m a nurse and worry about my reaction to PTS in my job when faced with difficult situations.

          10. RetiredT

            Just cut back really really really slowly. You can do it, but expect to take a year to totally get off. It probably won’t take that long, but give yourself permission to take that much time.
            I was on it for 25 years, I think. I have prayed a lot more during my weaning off. You can do it!

          11. They do make 75’s that would be incrementally easier to get off of. Do it slower 75 at at time, you will hardly notice it,

          12. Christine

            I understand what you are feeling. I can’t take these anymore. I am now morbidly obese and have way more issues then I started with! They are poisonous! I had them forced on me for my panic disorder and when my mother died two weeks of my dad. I did not like how they made me feel, but was told I HAD to take them to stop
            My attacks along with remron, clonazpam, and seriquil
            Now I have diabetes, a heart condition and high blood pressure
            And a spine disease 🤬😓
            I need off I can’t take the symptoms any longer
            I know it feels impossible but we can do it
            If you need to talk we can connect

        2. I’m really inspired by your post! Makes me feel good and there is hope! I’ve been on Effexor for 10 years also. I haven’t had anything for 4 days. It’s rediclously hard!! The brain zaps, vertigo feeling also feeling very anxious it’s horrible! But I want to do this! I’m currently in India while experiencing these withdrawal symptoms. But I keep telling myself that I’m ok it’s the effects of the medication and is only temporary! Thank you for your positive words!! We can all do this!!!!

          1. Read more about the side effects. Do NOT go cold turkey! It can lead to “permanent disability” (whatever that means) & can even cause death! How are things for you now?

          2. Are you saying that withdrawing causes these bad feelings? Or are you saying that you have gained weight or some other symptoms that are hard to deal with?

          3. I found it to be ok, as long as you have the right mindset. For example, it takes 3 days in rehab for a drug addict. There may have sweats, or be more tired or irritable. Maybe you could let someone know what is going on, but, Effexor comes in 75 mg, it could easily be weaned off of, even down to 37.5. It is up to you how long you need. But, i would try to get stability in other ways, like exercise, diet, sleep, work or vocation, social, spiritual, and recreation for rest and restoration.

          4. same here,, its been 2 weeks cold turkey now, and the brain zaps are aweful, I used to be heavy methampetamine user and even coming off that the brain zaps are no where near as bad.. This shit is aweful

        3. I’m going through this withdrawal atm…when seeing my gp 1 week ago he wanted to change me over to another antidepressant called avanza. I have been on effexor 150mg for 3 and a half yrs from depression and menopausual symptoms. I tappered off once about a yr ago but ended up going back to 150mg. As my gp wanted to change me over I was advised not to take effexor for 48-72hrs and I couldn’t take both meds at once. I stopped taking effexor last Friday and after lots of soul searching and researching I decided not to commence the other medication. Prior to starting effexor I ran half marathons and also trained at the gym and pool. Ran a household, have 2 boys, full time health professional and great marriage. I am now 25kgs heavier and lost alot of motivation and on the brink of lossing my marriage. I am suffering severe withdrawal but am at work as I write this. I just came out of a meeting with 2 of the exec of the hospital I work feeling that I couldn’t speak properly and present what I had. I am determined to get through this withdrawal and not go on meds…just being able to vent with someone who gets it is very positive for me. I want to old me back I miss her

          1. I’ve just started tapering off Effexor and I just started feeling nauseous and was crying yesterday for no reason and had scary nightmares it’s been crazy for me the last few days feeling terrible I know how it is.

          2. Lyn,
            I can totally relate to how you feel. I can’t hardly function at work trying to come if this poison. I hope you are better soon. Thanks for sharing.

          3. Hi All – Lynn – Your post was especially helpful to me. I am 50 and have been on Effexor 225 mg for about 6 months. After 10 lb weight gain, needing 2 hour naps most days, and feeling generally lazy compared to my old self, I finally decided to research if Effexor could be the cause or at least part of the cause. Since looking into it I have gone from 225 down to 150 for the last 3 weeks. Last night I dropped to 75 mg and will see how that goes. I will just put up with withdrawal symptoms if they kick in as I really think this meds side effects are not worth it. There are too many other meds without such difficult side effects that also seem to work for others. That said, my plan is to not go back on a med. I am exercising lots for the endorphins and eating whole, clean foods to help in the mood department. Although Effexor did really elevate my mood, I just don’t think it is worth it. So thanks to everyone who has posted success and difficulty on here.

          4. I didn’t wean off effexor or gabapentin I thought I could handle just stopping both drugs at once. I take 300 mg of Effexor a day and 1600 mg of gabapentin a day, now I am on day 4 of just stopping both drugs and God I feel like if I died today well that would be okey. I never dreamed the withdrawal of these medications could be this bad. I was given these drugs for anxiety and tachycardia. Now my anxiety is worse and my heart is beating like a freight train despite that I am still taking my metapropalol for my tachycardia. How long can I expect this to go on for? I was on these drugs for 2 and a half years. My doctor doesn’t think they are addictive cause I asked him that before I ever started taking them and he doesn’t believe me now that I am miserable and he is mad at me for stopping the medication so he is of no help. Can anyone tell me what more can I expect cause I have all the symptoms of withdrawl and I feel like I am dying but I already have 4 days behind me so I want to try to get through this without going back on these 2 medications. I would welcome any and all advice. The brain shivers and electrical feeling is the worst. Have not need been able to feel my hands or feet in 4 days this pins and needles feeling is killing me.

          5. I am reading about this drug and have weaned off of this particular drug. You are right when you describe all the symptoms. This is a horrible drug. Brain snaps are no joke. Remember, we won?t die from going off meds, but weaning is essential. I see a psychiatrist and honestly, you need more than a GP to get off of this. Once I was switched to a cheaper version of Effexor. Within a month, I was in a bad way. It did not work for me, so I could only take the real deal, or it was like me not being on it at all. These drugs are mind altering. I?m not the same personality I was before. I?m 50 lbs heavier, always looking for something to eat, sweet! Not physically active, suffering from Fibromyalgia. My retirement years suck. I?m feeling that I cannot or don?t want to go anyplace, do anything, but I?m not suicidal. Many are and that?s a red flag. I?d like to see more recent emails from people to see how they are coping. Best to not get started on these things. Easy to say, but good health is so precious, I?m not recalling how that felt (brain Fog). Good luck to all. It?s not easy but can be done! My old self? She left the building never to return, Unfortunately!

          6. I hope you were able to get off this poison.

          7. Me too !! Shit sucks no motivation or nothing just blaaa.

          8. Very proud of you! You are very inspirational! She will be back, just be sure to make sure you control the controllables, like diet, exercise, recreation, work or vocation, spiritual, intellectual, sleep patterns, and social, harmony in relationships.

        4. Georgia Sellers

          Hi, i have been on effexor xr 150mg for a couple years, in addition to many other meds needed to treat multiple auto immune disorders. Recently, i started having problems with profused sweating and over-heating. Mentioning this to my doctor this week, she cut my dose in half,150mg to 75mg. While i haven’t been sweating or over heating these last 2 days i have experienced lethargy, headache, choking, loss of appetite, blurred vision, breathing or heart problems…idk?. I just know that i feel like crap!! I have enough health problems without adding to them…lupus, rhuematoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteo arthritis, osteoporosis, multiple surgeries with hardware, broken bones, etc….lmao?

          Several years ago i went cold turkey with xanax and klonopin
          Omg! I thought i was going to die before it was over with. It took several months to just make it thro the day without being nauseous. But i made it then on my own. I’m sure i can get thro this my Dr helping me And with God’s grace.
          I just hate feeling sick. I went to dr for pain in my neck and ended up having my effexor xr mg cut in half. Now am dealing with pain in my neck, in addition to withdrawal symptoms. I have to have MRI done my neck this week, then see my surgeon on 23rd. Please pray i do not need repeat surgery and i get thro these withdrawal symptoms very soon.

          God Bless,
          Georgia from Illinois

          1. Isabella

            Hi Georgia, my heart goes out to you. I too have multiple autoimmune diseases. I am also facing spinal fusion surgery. I suffer from major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and ptsd. I have been on effexor for so long now, I honestly don’t know how many years. I am taking 5 75mg instant release tabs per day and am terrified at the thought of weaning off. I have missed a day or two over the years, it has to be more than 10 years now , and I know how terrible the withdrawal is. I was bedridden. I am presently contemplating partial hospitalization because my life has spun out of control and I feel like I am losing my mind. I can’try possibly go up on this drug even though my psych says it is possible. I already feel as though I lost control over my body and now, the thought of detox is horrifying. I pray that you are in good health and that all of us on this board and everywhere make it past this. I just wanted you to know you are not alone and that someone cared. Blessings.

          2. Hey Georgia,
            I hate to hear you are having such a difficult time in your health. I too am going off of Effexor XR 300 mg is what I was on. I talked it over with my Doctor and she felt that if I wanted to do it I needed to do it gradually. I have been a month now reducing it all the way. Have been off of the medication for like 4 days now and I want to chew up nails and spit them out and hurt someone with them. Until I get home in the evening from work and diffuse my essential oils, they help to ground all these emotions I have not felt for years and bring clarity to my mind. It is difficult reining in years of pent up emotions but the essential oils are helping me get through this. I know this is a tough question, but does anyone know when you finally start to balance out in your emotions? When do the withdrawals stop and you can feel again?

          3. I have been in this medication for about 3 years now. I’ve stayed on 37.5mg for most of the time, then it was upped to 75mg due a panic attack.
            I was placed on this medication due to hot flashes and mood swings. I still got hot flashes and anxiety that I originally had, were still there.
            Had I known about how hard it was getting off, I would have never started.
            I have generalized anxiety, depression and Ptsd symptoms.
            I have been tapering very very slowly with the guidance of my Dr. It’s been over a month and I feel terrible. Constant headaches esp around sinus area, loss of appetite, wanting to sleep, nausea, vomiting and general feeling of crap! I’m taking one day at a time and praying that this is the worst.
            The Dr added zoloft to help make sure something is in my system to try to make it easier.. Yeah, still feel like crap. I want my life back! My advice.. Stay away from this drug!!

        5. Hi viki i know we haven’t met i jus wanted to ask for a little advice my name is byan anthony i am 21 years old from roswell nm i was prescribed by a er doctor who isn’t my primary visition. Effexor xr 75 mg which helps my dmdd i trusted it and was on it for about 2 or 3 months then i just didn’t take it for about 3 weeks then about 3 days ago i started the same dosege again now i am experiencing severe pain in my head weakness in my entire body blury vision and nausea am i in withdraw? I’m starting to get concerned

        6. Hi feeling desperate today . After 16 yrs I’ve cut down from 300mg to 225mg .
          Over the last 8 weeks I have reduced to 150 mg then 75mg the 37.5mg
          I have been without venlafaxine for 4 full days .on the other reductions I had the usual withdrawal but only mildly and gone within 2 days .
          On day 4 and I can’t stop crying , I’m angry, can barely focus , my eyes are jittery , my brain feels alien , my ankles are starting to reduce etc (too many symptoms to list )…..but I am unsure how long I can take this .
          I Do not want to take a small dose as I did this for a few days and I was straight back to square 1 .

          How long will these withdrawals continue after stopping the 37.5mg .
          I am an addictions nurse /RMN so reluctant to share this with anyone as having depression and being a mental health nurse has not been dealt with sympathetically .
          My Dr wants me to start Duolexetine but I just want to be clean .
          Hope this makes sense as I am feeling extremely confused and the white noise in my head is deafening.
          Any advice please …..feeling desperate

          1. Annemarie Pasquier

            Jane – how are you? Does this get better after a month. I’m on day four- cold turkey- due to financial reasons and tired of being tired. Really crazy symptoms – praying to get through this and get any kind of normal back.

          2. This scares me. I’m on my 4th week of tapering down from 150 mg. I’m alternating 75mg and 37mg at this point, per my doctors instructions. I started this regimen 2 days ago and its probably the hardest step down so far. I took effect for 5 years now and I’m so scared of these side effects. They may seem silly and simple to others but these feelings of nausea, dizziness, and disorientation can get to the point where I just want to be point out of my misery. Have you had success completely going off of it yet? I need hope.

          3. Annemarie Pasquier

            Hi Jen, how are you doing? I pray you’re doing well; this is a difficult journey- getting off of these medications. It’s been since June19 th since I’ve stopped taking completely. The symptoms of detox are still here- yet not nearly as bad as the first two weeks. I still have the migraines- light and sound sensitivity- dizziness and nausea. Somehow, I’m making it through.
            Life keeps sending me curve balls and I’m scared to death or to frozen – to have to deal with these “real life things”- loss of home, loss of job, loss DL/car insurance- loss of health insurance– everything- without meds. I have too and now I feel like I’m not so zombied out and want to try. Small steps at a time – but progress. Praying for you Jen! I know you can get through this and be in a better frame of mind. Good luck.

          4. carol sakwi

            I tapered slowly from Effexor XR 75 mg. Very very very slowly. Took me a year and a half. And was not a problem for me. I did this because I experienced terrible withdrawal many years ago from Ativan and didn’t want to go through the same experience again. I was on Effexor for 12 years or so. Had problems with depression. Did make me feel happier! But just decided to go off. It has now been 3 months. May 24th – August 26, 2017!
            Now am having so many feelings! Everything is a major issue, that I feel I need to deal with. I am crying alot. Am planning on going for therapy and talking about everything; just getting it all out! My husband tells me I am crusty and difficult to live with. He would rather I take the pills. But I would rather have the feelings and emotions and deal with them in a healthy way – walking, bike riding, talking and talking about everything that bothers me.
            Yes, 3 months later, I am finding it more difficult just coping with the emotions than the actual weaning off of the pills.
            I am giving myself time. I am grateful that I have my Lord to walk with me on this path. Possibly, I shouldn’t have gone on them in the beginning. Maybe I should have talked more with my counsellor at the time, who didn’t want me to take antidepressants in the first place. I told her I was tired of the depression.
            Will comment again to inform how the therapy, whichever I decide upon, is working for me.

          5. Annemarie Pasquier

            Hi Jane and Carol I really got overwhelmed and ended up getting back on mthe Effexor on November 7 th I was feeling everything I hadn?t felt in the 10 years on the meds. Still trying to get the help to find a better solution- cold turkey definitely not the way to go. I was so hopeful and really thought I was doing well. Then everything kept piling on. I feeling depleted and worthless. I?ve noting left to give. Exhausted from all this. I?m trying to get back to work- trying to find a job and get out of my everyday- dread. I need to change something- anything. Dealing with all these symptoms and my anxiety is taking over – I?m scared- unrealistically all the time. I just want my old self back. Even the fake me- putting on a happy face to the world- anything just to get to be alive and functioning again. Have more drs appointments coming up – going to add an anxiety med. I?m worried but know I have to do this. I don?t have the tools or knowledge to do this on my own.
            I?m praying you ladies are having more luck. God is good and will get us through these struggles. All must be for a reason.

        7. thank you Vickie, and All other writers!, Your work towards getting off Effexor has been very inspiring to me. I’ve been on antidepressants and anti anxiety
          meds for about 18 years. I was real bad off with with the two afflictions, Going on meds only came after ongoing panic attacks. when they came on
          my means of relief might had been getting up from a meal with friends and bolting down the the road until a chemical change in my brain would drive the terror back to Hell. I would also at times burn myself to make this change take place. Later my wife found good information on panic attacks. I learned that I had to Learn to except the return of the attack. know there would be Fear, but let it pass over me, I could feel it rolling in like a dark cloud beast that would destroy me. I laid still, It was absolutely horrible, but it was my only hope, It passed over!!! I was extremely grateful. But there was more work to do; practice living more by Spiritual. principles, counselor, meds. Lexapro helped for a year or so, then for 17 years nothing as far as meds helped. Today, it seems like theres true hope for getting off three meds that that seem to only have been a noose tied to darkness. when i approached my damn psychiatrist for help getting off, he just starred at me blankly. third time i asked him. i said, You aren’t going to tell me me Anything to help me get off this train are you?! All he said was, The Effexor will be the hardest one… I thought, what a Bastard!
          I ve been coming off 3 meds for 3 months now. Lexapro cut in half, 75 mg to 37.5. Lamictal, 150 mg, to 50 mg. Then, Effexor, 75mg ER: I first split the cap and cut out one quarter. stayed there for for 3 weeks. Then went to 1/2, 37.5. I stayed at 37.5 for 5 weeks, Then went down to
          0ne fourth, roughly 18.5 mgs, been there for 4 weeks. Tomorrow I’ll cut down to 9.mgs. for maybe 3 weeks, then I will stop completely.
          With this step down i’ve experienced depression and anxiety, but nothing like the past number of years when i would spend periods sleeping 12-14 hours a day, still tired after crawling out of bed. and ‘Whiting Out with social anxiety, chattering at times in public trying to be “normal,” Energy level literally dropping in seconds and thinking about suicide (not that i felt i would carry it out, but who knows) more and more on a daily basis, letting go of exercise, 12 th step meetings (to some extent) correct eating, etc. I Never felt Happy! I never looked at a beautiful scene in Nature and felt much. On, and on, Down.
          Now, my energy level is up, working on projects I’ve considered impossible for years. with new energy. I know I have a ways to go, Know there might be set backs, but I think i would be able to go back to the smallest dose and again, gradually work off of it. I feel like i.m shedding old devolved snake skin. like thin veils of curtains are opening before me. I pray that I will keep doing the positive things it will take to keep moving forward into feeling and realizing this Precious Life. I will keep all of you in prayer and meditation, Thank you for the help you’ve given to me with your sharing of yourselves Here.
          Don’t stop! Don’t ever stop! Don’t believe the lies this medicine, your brain, negative (though perhaps well meaning) people tell you.
          Many Blessings, Trent.

          1. Thank you for your feedback, I am just beginning the process of getting off the medication after five years, I had a much lower dose than everyone else here and I’ve only been on it for five years. I hope things leveled out for you, I need to get off because I am gaining weight and having health issues and I hate it. Prayers my friend 🙏🙏❤️❤️

        8. I was on zoloft for 5 1/2 years and then was switched to Effexor for the last 4/12. It took me 2 years to taper off of this medication so that I didn’t have terrible side effects whilst tapering. However, today was day 5 of being completely off of it and it was the worst I’ve felt so far. I literally wanted to cry and. or yell at every one and every thing. I actually broke down at work and had to hide in the bathroom for 30 minutes until my manager came and told me that I had to come back out to work… p.s. she was the one that made me so upset (and she knew I was going through withdrawal and trying to cope.) Anyway, After reading more and more about the side effects of withdrawal, I started to understand a little more about how and why I was feeling like this. My Dr. had said that it would only be a few days of these symptoms being that it took so long to get off of Effexor, but I don’t think she factored in that I have been on some sort of SSRI or SNRI for the last 10 years of my life. I’m slowly realizing the triggers that set me off that I didn’t have before, and applying coping methods to them (especially at work). The brain zaps have started to dwindle to only occur towards the evening hours of the day, and luckily my dr has me on a different anxiety specific medication that is helping a little bit. I’ve been given the suggestion of taking fish oil capsules and vitamin c in order to lessen the brain zaps and emotional breakdowns and I’m going to start trying it tomorrow. I’m hoping it helps at least with the brain zaps. I think the emotional aspect is going to take a little longer than I had hoped for.

          1. Hi Katie, I just read your post its the only recent one I could find. Obviously I’m trying to get through Effexor withdrawal and fear for my life at the moment. I’m actually considering hospitalization to get medical treatment. Only 1 month ago I moved to Florida to be with,/live with my best friend. Being here and being so so ill is the lonliest, most dreadful feeling I have ever experienced. Of course much wonderful support is offered from kind, caring friends but no one could understand what this feels like unless they have been through it. I always feel like I have to plaster a smile on and participate in activities when I would really rather just die. I’m trying so desperately hard to mobilize myself and be active but I am fearful of collapse! The other night Im pretty sure I had a seizure. I woke up on the floor, not remembering how I got there, drooling all over my chin onto my chest. My hands are numb and weak, can’t grasp items and have difficulty picking items up. I’m so scared, not of death but continuing to be this sick!! Thank you for listening.

          2. I was on Effexor 300mg for 5 years and effexor 150 mg for 10 years. I was able to get off effexor 150 mg daily with hemp CBD oil.. This stuff is pretty amazing. I started lowering my dose by taking some beads out. once down to maybe 20-25 mg in the capsules I stopped. It has been over 3 weeks and although I have some withdrawal symptoms and still do, mainly intestinal (yummy, right!), But a lot more subtle. I can go to work, and manage my family responsibilities. I was on this drug for like 15 years. It has definitively been terrible for my brain!

            My anxiety has greatly diminished. My brain has started functioning again. My short term memory is better…….I can retain what I read. Hopefully the best has yet to come in terms of mental capabilities coming back. My wife said that I have even stopped snoring!

            PS. I also run 3 times a week. and also added more minerals in my diet. So, cashews, peanuts, dark chocolate, hemp seed hearts…etc.




        10. Hi there, Vicki, I’ve just come across your post from several years ago and I was wondering if you recall how long the dizziness and nausea took to go away? I’ve been in a constant state of drunken dizziness since tapering down over a month and having my final dose over 11 days ago.
          Regards, Donna

        11. Omg thanks for your post I’m trying to get off this medication years I’m starting again I have to get off this I hate having to take it every morning

        12. “if your brain is reacting this bad it can’t be good for you right??”
          That’s a very complex question and can only be answered by a patient and their Doctor(s). Some long term medications become necessary, for treating illnesses like Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, chronic debilitating pain etc etc. The medications for all of these, may cause side effects if stopped abruptly, but, you can’t infer that they must be “bad for you” because of that. All medications, prescription, OTC and even “natural” supplements potentially have side effects when taking or stopping abruptly. There are pros and cons and that’s why people should discuss both with their provider. That being said, I do think that, in general, Doctors are quick to prescribe medication for any mood disordered issues without first doing tests to see if there might be physical organic reasons you are feeling anxious or depressed. And, when you don’t feel better or have unwanted side effects, they tend to prescribe MORE drugs in an attempt to remedy the side effect. That’s potentially a never ending cycle and becomes more dangerous the older you are. People over 55, in particular, are more likely to have side effects from meds and often need a lower dose or a different medication completely. The healthcare industry in this country seems “addicted” to writing scripts for prescription drugs!

        13. Has anyone else had problems with all aspects of your life as you are managing these severe withdrawal symptoms?

          Personally, i am finding it incredibly difficult to work and maintain relationships. I have zero ambition regardless of the consequences. The crippling anxiety — i would rather sit on the couch in silence then talk to anyone
          And these mood swings are sometimes uncontrollable.

          Any guidance?!

      2. Wendy Boatright

        I am entering day 6 of detoxing, the first 5 days I wanted to just die. I had to stop abruptly, no weening. This is horrible but I’m determined, I would have never excepted the treatment had I known what harm it was doing to my body. Dizzyness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, depression, uncontrollable sobbing, insomnia, brain zaps, vertigo, it goes on and on.

        1. Wendy, I am on day 18 with no med, went cold turkey from 37.5 mg. was on 37.5 mg for about 4 years to help with hot flashes and night sweats from menopause. Had I known then how bad this stuff is get off, would have never taken it. 18 days, still have nausea, mood swings, dizziness, brains zaps and balance issues. they are getting better though so don’t lose hope. Good luck.


          2. Jacqui C

            I have been on 37.5 for at least 4 years (maybe 5?), prescribed for menopausal symptoms. In the last 2 weeks I have gone from a 37.5 capsule every 24 hours to 37.5 every 36 hours and plan to keep stretching by 12 hour increments as I adjust. This approach seems to be working pretty well, but minor sweating, brain zaps, confusion, etc. sneak in. However, I plan to stay this course until I am off of Effexor.

          3. Hi Jacqui, I to am taking venlafaxine for menopausal symptoms, and have been on 75 mg for about 6 months. It has helped with my energy and outlook. Not sure how much longer I will stay on it, but I am reluctant to stop yet as I worry that my previous symptoms will return. One of my side effects with this medication has been profuse sweating. Did you experience this? My doctor says this medication should not cause that, but I’ve read online that sweating is a common side effect. I tolerate it because in many ways I feel a lot better. However, I’m also nervous about going off of it. Glad to hear what is working for you. I would be interested to know if your menopausal symptoms have improved when you are off the meds?

        2. Lou mcgovern

          On day 19 cold turkey and feel dreadful. No energy? Totally wiped all the time. Swollen ankles and legs.
          No appitite.

        3. It is late, and I too have gone cold turkey, reading this is giving me some reassurance that I am not dying, that feeling ill, especially in the tummy is all part of going cold turkey.

        4. sanchez williams

          This is exactly how I’m feeling now and I don’t like it one bit. I also just stop taking it abruptly no weening it’s terrible when will it end it’s kinda scary when having dizzy spells and I have to work like this please is their anything to get through this feeling?

          1. I have been on this Effexor since may 2016 & I took myself off of it with God Blessings, just a week ago. The side effects when I was taking them & it still is happening to me, not much strength in my hands & I keep my shoulders up with my neck stuck down, looking like a fool until I notice that I doing that. I just pray to God that he would lay his powerful hands on me & heal me with his Blessings on this Earth that I can live a Godfearing life praising God & be normal. Just know God hears all our cries. I was taking it because of menopause.

        5. I thought I was the only one that felt like this – the shaking, uncontrollable tears for no reason, mood swings and worst of all – feeling anxious. I lasted 3 weeks… Then had a panic attack and gave up – straight back to the dr.

          1. I have tried to find others to do a class action lawsuit against them for these long term side effects. I have seizures if I’m off of it for greater than 24 hours. I just want them to pay to send me to a rehab that can help me get off of them. It’s horrible. I’ve been stuck on Effexor XR for over 20 years. I hate it.

        6. Londa Alexander

          I was away from home and had to extend my stay never thinking that I would run out of my meds (Effexor) Never dreamed what would happen to me when I did run out.

          Took my last pill on Monday and by Wednesday afternoon and evening I was so sick I could barely raise my head. I had to get on a plane on the 3rd day of no Effexor.

          By now all I am doing is throwing up, have diarrhea, dizzy, pains in my head, can’t hardly look up and the list goes on.

          When trying to board my plane in Seattle one stewardess saw how sick I was and cornered me, she asked what was the matter with me and at the point I had no idea it was severe withdrawl symptoms from going off Effexor cold turkey. I told her I didn’t know what was wrong but that I was going to be sick and needed to get to the bathroom.

          When I came out all the flight crew were gathered waiting for me, they were discussing NOT letting me on the plane that I could be contagious with something. At that point I thought I was going to pass out and begged them while crying to please just let me on the plane that I just wanted to go home.

          Finally they let me stay on. In my mind I’m wondering what the heck would I do if they hadn’t let me on the plane, where would I have went I was to sick to even take care of myself at this point. So while thinking all this, I am really crying uncontrollably.

          I finally got home hours and hours later and went straight to bed. My husband had no idea what to do or what was wrong and neither did I until later it hit me. I went to take a pill and get back on the routine but didn’t have any and it was late Friday and no one could help me.

          So by Monday, a week after taking the last pill I had decided in my mind that I would never ever ever take another Effexor or Anti Depressant as long as I lived, and that is if I lived through this.

          I am now on day 20 with no Effexor and I am still battling nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, crying, sleepless nights, horrible sweats etc. Not as bad as last week was but still not back to normal and from I have read it could take weeks and weeks of feeling like this.

          Please do your research before taking this drug,

          1. Hi Londa,
            How are you doing now? I am very curious, as I am now on day 12. My sweats and chills are doing quite a bit better, as is my nausea. I still have some “zaps” but not that bad. The worst part for me right now is the crying and the anxieties. I really want to hear that there is an end to this withdrawal. I am NOT going back on Effexor for anything. My husband keeps telling me to stay positive and tell my self I will not let it beat me. That helps a lot.

          2. verna LaPointe

            I have been on this Drug for more than 10 years! Last one yesterday,God Help me!!!

          1. Hello everyone,
            Getting off Effexor is terrible, but it’s the BEST DECISION you can make 🙂 — Its been 3 years since I quit the pill and I’ve never been happier about any decision ever. I had been taking 150mg for 5 years in a row and for 2 years prior to that (with a gap of 4 years in between). I started taking them due to “severe anxiety” and depression, and the pills helped me go on with my life and “function”, but after 5 years I HAD to stop taking them because I started having the worst depressive crisis I’d ever had, not being able to stand up from bed. I did it gradually in 2 months, but now I think it was too little time to do it …withdrawal symptoms are terrible: nauseas, dizzyness, sweating like a pig, foggy mind, volatile moods, lots of crying, overweight, you name it. I have to say I had a terrible depressive rebound (maybe this won’t happen to everyone), but I found a Functional Doctor who helped me with this. It seemed that I had several vitamins and minerals depletions and my body was collapsing. I’ve now changed my lifestyle and my diet and I’m doing much better. The emotional issues that generated the anxiety and depression in the first place didn’t go away, they resurfaced, I just had to realize that I have to work with them and treat them. No pill will ever take those emotional issues away, they will just numb you. I learned that I have to first accept and then face all those emotional issues as painful and difficult as they may be, it’s the only way. To all of you trying to decide to if you should quit or not, I would encourage you to do it (gradually and with support from your loved ones) and get rid of those nasty chemicals invading your body. Get your life back and own it! you can do it!!

        7. I realize posts are not recent but im hoping someone will see this and have some advice. I have been on effexor for several years for major depression and anxiety. 2 years ago had to take early retirement due to burnout, major depression, anxiety, severe stress and inability to function. Ended up on 300 mg effexor and 300 mg wellbutrin . I am doing much better but want to at least decrease dosages of both meds. my memory, ability to focus and comprehension have been quite affected and I am still dealing with this. I have gained 75 lbs over the years and am tired of all of the negative physical effects, altbough these meds have literally kept me alive. .I have read lots of your comments and plan to do this very slowly with dr supervision. But i am very afraid of life without antidepressants. I have taken them for many years off and on and always end up back on, and on higher dose.. Any advice to help with success is appreciated. Bless all of you who have shared your stories and i hope you are doing well!

          1. Janny, I’ve been on 150 for years and it helped me get through some huge stuff I had to deal with. The only negative is the ton of weight I gained. I recently decided it was time to wean off since I’m in a better place and the big things I needed to get through are over. Life is still stressful but I don’t want these pills in my body and the awful metabolism I have. I’m also afraid what life will be like without it but I’m going to try.
            A week ago, I went to the Dr. I’m taking 150 (two 75 mg)every other day and 75 mg other days for a month. then I’ll go down from there. Granted, it’s only a week but so far, I’ve experienced minor brain zaps and mixed emotions, feel sad for a little while, then I’m good. I think what’s saving me is for a month now, I’ve taken CBD oil. It’s been a cushion, not to mention so many benefits.

        8. I know it’s awful and they told me that there was no side effects or withdrawals I don’t trust any of them anymore
          Thank you so much for your post

      3. Venlafaxine is just the generic for Effexor. That is what I am battling with. I don’t know if I am misunderstanding, but taking you off effexor and putting you on Venlafaxine is just the same thing.

      4. I am so sicl but stopped effexior 150 a week now but the day i stopped i was put right on a new med viibryd. So a week taking that and got the terrible zaps in my brain and sweating npt to much more. My question is i did stop effexor and do u think by being put on another med right away is better than not being on nothing i am also on serequel 100 at night and xanax as needed today they just upped the dose of new med viibyrd because of the zapping in my. Brain which is seretomen syndrome. I hope this is going to help the zaps they said it would. I think you are not suppose to stop effexor suddenly without. Taking another med. All the people that that stopped effexor i wonder if they had other meds they were taking or put on another med

        1. I would bet my life they are on different meds. Our conditions don?t go away. As you age, different things happen to you, and you need some help. It?s a viscous circle, this kind of health problem, but way too many and too young people can?t cope and are joining that elite group of us taking mind altering drugs. Mind altering is not the only negative side effect. Tiredness, loss of feelings, nastiness. This is not a good drug for anyone to take indefinitely, the way I?ve been taking it. It?s dangerous.

      5. Yes I was having the same problem. My doctor also has me on 25 mg one in the morning Ing address then at night. So far so good

        1. Annemarie Pasquier

          I was wondering the same- what Kyani product?

        2. Peggy Truck

          Did you get a reply? I’m also experiencing some withdrawal effects but didn’t know what product they were recommending

      6. I cold turkey it about 1 and half was horrible..I have consulted a Dr and she has weaning me off..I have stopped taking the pill for 3 days know..the side effects are there but not as bad as the first time. So far..I’m dealing with the side gets better every day..wish me luck.

        1. So Deb, how did you do with the withdrawal symptoms? I do wish you good luck. I wouldnt wish this health issue on anyone!

      7. What is the product your husband was introduced to? I could not see the link.

      8. I just started today tapering off venlafaxine. I was on 275mg. He had me take 2 75mg starting today instead of 3. Doing this for a week. The next week take another pill away for a week etc. I’m scared as hell.

      9. You don’t mention it in your comment, but, I assume that you know that Venlaflaxine is generic Effexor?

      10. Having such anxiety trying to get off. Down to 37.5 m a day. Ready to give up but I want this drug out of me!! Help

    2. I am still suffering severe withdrawal effects and my last dose of Effexor was ( 3 MONTHS AGO )!!! It took me 2 YEARS OF SUFFERING to slowly wean off of Effexor, crumb by crumb, mg by mg.

      ( Has this happened to anyone else? )
      ( Still suffering months later ?? )
      I see my doctor weekly, due to the condition Effexor put me in, and has left me in !
      Lasting symptoms are : Nasea , Can’t sleep , Headaches , Dizziness , Foggy-mind , Chest & Heart pains , random sharp body pains , rapid heart rate, leg pain , hot flashes , sweating , can’t think straight, etc etc,,,,

      I’m hoping to find any help , or answers.

      1. Dimple Mantri

        You are not alone.I tried once a year ago to taper my dose to 37,5 but the withdrawal symptoms were as bad as you have mentioned and I was not able to do so but now I am going to try it again and this time I will take help of herbal medicines like Ashwagandha to help me through this passage.I wish you luck and endurance to bear the withdrawal symptoms!

        1. How did the ashwagandha work for you? I am thinking about tapering off; When I tried to just quit 10 or 12 years ago, I had all of the horrible symptoms listed here (not knowing about the withdrawal effects). I went to the ER where the doctor prescribed more effexor, telling me I’d have to taper. I am shocked that people will try to go cold turkey. I would never be able to live a year or 2 feeling that way.

        2. Are you getting any relief with the Ashwaganda? I’m hoping and praying you’re on to something.

      2. Dearest Dimple
        I was on 150mg for at least ten years . I decided over two years of reducing dose to about 30 mg that it was time to ween off effexor entirely . September 2015, school holidays . Physically I could put up with the months of brain zaps but psychology, I could have murdered ,raged anxiety,depression mood swings – all , I believe out of character and my bodies reaction to not having the serotonin chemical – my body was screaming to take the meds .
        July 2016 ,I am still chemical free – and loving it – I learn to shake off depression and look at natural solutions for the discomfort but temporary , anxiety . Life on life’s terms has its challenges- that I am willing to face.
        I truly believe that this terrible drug should have only ever been administered short term if at all . I regret ever taking it and believe Valium could have done trick all those years ago as I don’t abuse these products.
        Dimple , perseverance if you want a chemical free life but be clear that withdrawal is months of brain readjustment and hard . Stay with effexor if you like but recognize that you will be on it for life.

      3. I am so sad and disgusted. I feel that effexor is poison. After taking 150 milligrams for 11 years I decided that I wanted to see who I really am . Effexor kept me at a dull eveness. And honestly I was tired of being chubby with no sex drive. I took 8 months time to slowly taper down. I removed 5 “bb’s” from 7 capsules. Took that week’s worth and then next week took five more out. I knew I had to go very slowly getting this out of my system. I am extremely medication sensitive. When I was on the full 150 milligrams and I would forget to take it, I had to leave work to go home and get it. No functioning without the missed pill. The room would spin and I would have to hold the wall as I walked.
        So back to my weaning off. My doctor put me on Wellbutrin 150 to help me as I was decreasing the Effexor by 5 BB’s a day. I was feeling really really good and excited about the thought of being done with effexor.
        Here I am, going on week 3 of zero Effexor. I feel horrible. I will give it this week and then rethink what I am doing. I honestly don’t know if I feel this bad from the Wellbutrin or from the end of effexor. The hardest part is I have no one to talk to. I honestly don’t think doctors and other medical professionals can understand what this is like unless they have been through it themselves. Sure, you can read article after article about how difficult it is to come off of Effexor. Until you actually feel this you just can’t understand. You’re dealing with both physical and mental symptoms. I am so scared that I may end up back on this poison simply from being disgusted and sad over this withdrawal. I just don’t know what to do other than pray and keep on. There should honestly be a rehab program for people coming off of Effexor. It’s poison. I feel like I have brain damage.

        1. Georgia Sellers

          Have faith and don’t give up. I can understand what you are going through because i stopped xanax and klonopin at once. I thought i was on my death bed for weeks the efforts were so bad. I had no idea effexor would react the same way. This is a mean pill And should come with serious warning labels.

          My dr cut me down from 350 to 75mg xr caps. I haven’t felt good for 2 days now. You stated that you were taking 5bb’s out each capsule? I wonder if i try doing it that way if it would decrease the withdrawals and help in transitioning to a normal life w/o effexor?

        2. Betty Cranford

          I think there should be a rehab for coming off Effexor as well. I was on this for about 15 yrs. and tried different times to get off but kept going back like any body who is addicted to this horrid pill. I cut down from 150 to 75 then to 37.5 . I’m almost a month now without any and I feel horrible. I fly off the handle over any and every thing, crying all the time and I feel so angry all the time . I do Not want to go back on this drug but don’t know what will help me …

        3. I don’t know if this will help you or not, but my doctor tried me in Wellbutrin a couple of times and I could not tolerate it. Panic city! It was awful. Just thinking maybe the Wellbutrin may have something to do with your symptoms.

        4. EffexorAddict

          I can 100% understand. If I miss a dose, I absolutely CAN NOT function! I have had to leave work or have someone bring me one. The spinning, anxiety, sweating, nausea, and headache. I used to use a pharmacy that was closed on Sunday and every so often I would run out and not be able to get it filled. I seriously would have bought one on the street corner for who knows how much if I would have had to. Luckily for me, my brother was on it as well so we frequently would help each other out. If it causes that type of effect that you MUST have it then why isn’t it considered a controlled substance and why aren’t we told it is addictive? It blows my mind. I suffer from severe major depressive and anxiety disorders so I don’t honestly think there will ever be a time that I will not be on something but I must admit I’m searching now for alternative therapies. I know my imbalances are genetic as I have had multiple family members either hospitalized or attempted and committed suicide. I do believe that depression is a diseas just like diabetes and hypertension so it can’t go without some type of treatment(not necessarily medicine either). Where I am seeing issues is all these comments posting about why they were placed on it to begin with! Surely, there was something else that could have been done prior to this drastic of treatment. I know it’s also prescribed a lot for situational or temporary “depression”. Not all extended sadness is depression. Part of the problem is overprescribing the medicine. It should only be used in extreme cases AND with patient’s INFORMED consent. I am on 150mg XR twice a day for 5 years and its sister Pristiq for 5 years before that. I have spoken with my provider(who also takes it so she is fully aware of the cons) about starting to decrease my dose. She has recommended prior to ANY reduction in dose that I take certain steps in helping my body start building up on serotonin. It is an essential chemical of your brain and the drastic drop in levels is what is causing the withdrawal symptoms. There are many ways to help your body naturally increase the chemical. In a couple of months, we will revisit and start the taper once she sees I’m committed to helping my body heal. I appreciate her being so conscienous of what can happen if my levels get to low, like suicide. My advice would be to research serotonin production and start your journey ahead of the game. It is still gonna be tough but I want to come out better than I was not worse. If you were placed on this medicine, your body has become accustomed to the drug regulating your serotonin and too quick of a reduction with no backup means of increasing it, might possibly get you placed on some other poison! Please be careful!! Our mind is our greatest asset but if mistreated can be our worst enemy!

        5. Kristina

          I was on 75 mg of Effexor for about 6 months and it was the worst. Doc weaned me off to 37.5 and I took the last one a few days ago. I feel horrible. I?ve been vomiting and can?t think straight. I?m not on 150 mil of Wellbutrin. I want to feel better idk if I can tolerate this any longer.

        6. Chris Millsap

          Its been a few years since your post. I was curious how the outcome has been. Like you my Dr. put me on 150 of venlafaxine , which is just the generic form of Effexor. I’m also on 150 of Wellbutrin. I am slowly weaning off the Venlafaxine, down to 37.5 within 3 weeks. I am having the side effects, nausea, blurred vision, high blood pressure, which is probably from the weight gain. Something my Dr. said I wouldn’t have, and I was firm about not gaining because I had just recently lost 75lbs. I’ve gained over half back. I have zero ambition. I’m looking for some positive in all of this. I know someone who has never been able to go off them.

      4. Daniella

        Oh my, I’ve weaned myself down from 225mg to 12 mg over 8 months, I’d hoped the vertigo and brain buzzing would be gone by now, but it’s not, and I now have bowel issues since I went from 24 mg to the 12 mg dose.It’s been 10 years since I started on Effexor . To hear that some ex Effexor users are still feeling bad even though they’ve been of it for a while causes me great concern. My family needs Me ,my mother is at end of life with aggressive leukaemia, my daughter has a growth in her brain. How do I get my health sorted, this drug is a beast that should never be prescribed when there are less problematic drugs available. Gps should not be allowed to listen to the drug sales reps and prescribe these things without referring patients to specialists who know the long term damage they can do!

      5. Sharon G

        I have been weening off of 150 mg XR for 11 months. I had been on it for over 15 YEARS! I, too, did the weening bit by bit. I ended up in the Emergency Room twice due to cardiac symptoms (high blood pressure, rapid heart beat, etc). The ER docs said they see these symptoms often with Effexor withdrawal but a lot of sites don’t mention it. I’ve had the brain zaps every time I decreased dosage (along with digestive issues, dizziness, inability to focus, etc). I finally got down to 6.25 mg of immediate release tablets (1/4 of a 25 mg tablet). I took my last dose 4 days ago and the symptoms are worse now than ever but luckily I have not had any cardiac symptoms.
        I am going on vacation overseas in less than 2 weeks so I think I’m going to have to get back on the 6.25 mg until after vacation.
        I wish everyone luck in their efforts to get off this drug. I wish I had never started!

        1. Jo Ellen Taylor

          I have such empathy with everyone trying to get off effexor. I am in my bed with my computer on my lap to write this. I started effexor xr along with megace 12 years ago after surgery, chemo, and radiation for estrogen dependent breast cancer. Blocking all my estrogen caused the most horrendous hot flashes, so the effexor/megace regimen was started. I stopped the megace 6 years ago with no problems, but whenever I missed a dose of effexor (75 mg) I thought my brain was going to explode. Four years ago I had major back surgery and am fused from T-10 thru S-1. My back pain is so severe that I go to pain management and am on daily narcotics, muscle relaxants, and Ambien/ativan just to survive and sleep. My pain management doc was very concerned with all the drugs I was on affecting the central nervous system, so I decided to stop the effexor (I am 74, no longer having the hot flashes!) After reading what everyone else is going through, I’m convinced that effexor has a strangle hold on my brain. I cut my dose in half, and now take a few beads every night decreasing slowly (for over a month now) and my head feels like fireworks are exploding in it as I write this. Last night I had to get up at 5 am to go to the bathroom, and I could hardly walk–I crashed into furniture and then hung onto walls to get back to bed. I am a retired RN and at first thought I was having a stroke. But the usual stroke symptoms weren’t there. My doctor told me to reduce slowly and I have been, but am wondering when I will ever be functional again. I find myself taking extra benzodiapines (the ativan) and pain meds to cope with the effexor withdrawal, which only can lead to more problems, and the sad fact is: nothing helps. I don’t want to have to fill another effexor xr script just to break open the caps and take a few beads at a time. I am just hoping that eventually my body will adjust. There are enough problems with aging without going through drug withdrawal. I don’t want this capsule holding my brain hostage. I only weigh 90 pounds, but have had to add blood pressure medication since cutting down the effexor, which shows what a hold is has on your body. I feel truly crappy right now at 11:00 am. For those of you with weight problems, at least with me, I don’t have an appetite anymore. Maybe you will lose some weight!! I can’t afford to lose more. I just want to hear more people say that they conquered this beast and it was worth it.

      6. Were any of you replacing the Effexor with another antidepressant such as Prozac?

        1. My dr has me on trintellix 20mg while tapering from 300mg effexor er.

      7. Jesus I have to get off this medication I tried loads of times

    3. I am do sorry, this website explained everything perfectly. I’m trying to get off of effexor, been on it for 9 years. I was at the maximum dosage. I’m at 150mg now and it truly is awful. My heart goes out to all who also have to go through this. I was 16 when it was prescribed to me and no one informed me or my parents of the side effects. God bless you and good luck to you. Remember, the negative thoughts we’re having are not who we are, it’s the medicine, NOT US!

      1. I am in the process of getting off Effexor in preparation for a sleep study. I don’t know how many years I ha e been on it, but have been on something for most of my life. I went from 225 to 150 very easily last year, now am on 37.5 3x daily for 2 weeks, then 2x daily for 2 weeks, then to 1, etc.
        I felt pretty good with the 3 37.5, but going to the 2 37.5 I am feeling exhausted, like my muscles won’t hold me, sleeping 12-15 hours a day, tearful at times. I don’t think I can go to work tomorrow I am so foggy and have to drive 2 hours to get there. All I want to do is lay on the couch and read, watch TV or sleep. This is not like me.
        Any suggestions are appreciated!

        1. I’ve been exhausted too! Exhaustion was not on the list of side effects for going off Effexor. Maybe it should be added?

        2. smoke some weed. . . it does wonders you won’t believe its stabilizing affects

          1. Olivia Kenton

            Well, leslie, I’m one of those trying to get off Effexor XR after many years of using it and no doctor ever reviewing the question. I appreciate that you are trying to be helpful, (and heaven knows the world is not suffering from a surfeit of helpful people), but I can’t see the point of using an illegal substance to help myself get off a legal one. I have never used illegal substances, and, though I know many people claim that weed is harmless, and I know it is probably harmless to many if only used occasionally, I know those to whom it has done plenty of harm. Since a chemical imbalance is what is wrong with me while trying to stop Effexor, it seems to me to be the hight of foolhardiness to swap to something which I have no idea how my system would react to……

          2. I concur, but with caution. I am working to wean myself off of Effexor after just 2 years but I have gained an intolerable amount of weight, have lost ALL motivation, and can’t stop sleeping. I would rather deal with depression in just about any other way.

            Cautious and careful use of medical marijuana (where available – careful of street quality) really can help withdrawal symptoms quite a great deal. I have found that it manages vertigo, nausea, confusion, and anxiety, as well as (for me) eliminating dreams associated with withdrawal. If you are not an experienced smoker this is a roulette wheel – ask for advice from someone who can help.

          3. Hey I concur, it almost immediately wipes my worthlessness away and gives me clarity on issues that could have been avoided. It’s not “Legal” vs “Illegal”, thats how they trap us. It’s “some dude with a big brain, lab coat, beaker with some other, big fat rich dude riding him piggyback” vs “stuff that grows out of the ground like fucking cantelope or kale and you don’t see Whole Foods throwing them off their shelves….”

            It’s a daily must in these troubled times…

          4. Have you tried taking a pill form of marijuana for relief?? I dont want to “smoke”

          5. I’m taking CBD oil and sleep gummies as I begin my reduction from 150mg Effexor. Pray that it helps!!

        3. Joan, I am going to be doing sleep studies too. For all others I have read many of the posts , not all, but would welcome tips. I also am sorry each of us have had to deal with situations that brought us to this point of using this drug and now trying to get off it. Didn’t realize how hard all of you have had to work and all of the nasty side effects. I will start my journey soon..
          I have been on 375 mg Effexor XR for about 9 months. Prior to that 300 mg for probably 20 years. Also have been on Modafinil 400 mg a day and for about a year, 200 mg for probably 20 years. The last 4 months added up to 30 mg a da of Ritalin. Main complaint since I was in college years has been tired all the time. I describe it as exhaustion now. I have fibromyalgia ( more of a moderate case), osteoarthritis, and depression. Had previous sleep studies that the present care providers said were not done properly. So now I am suppose to be 2 weeks off these medications before tests.
          I read of people on dosages of 75 mg having problems getting off Effexor so makes me nervous! Were you able to get off and have tests done?
          Any tips you could share?
          If they test for sleepiness only then they said I did not have to come off Effexor. If wanting to test for narcolepsy one has to be off all three.. Previously on a test they said I had pre-narcolepsy. Was told that test was irrelevant.
          So….getting ready for the entire journey.

      2. I feel the same way VJ! Ive been on it for 7 or 8 years since i was 17. Tried tapering down over time very slowly and stopped taking it 4 days ago. Its a living hell now; all the symptoms listed on this site for severe. Hopefully youre right; hopefully it is the medication not us!

      3. Nancy supanich

        Why were you prescribed venlafaxine? My son, 16, is now taking 150 mg for headaches. Not helping so far but he’s willing to take it for a couple months – I’m worried about withdrawal, and it sounds like it’s best to taper off very slowly. I’m so sorry; share your story

        1. EffexorAddict

          My migraines didn’t start till I STARTED the Effexor! There has to be some other form of treatment for him. I recently got a daith piercing in my ear and they have almost stopped completely. I went from 2-3 migraines a week to 1-2 a month! Has he been checked for candida overgrowth? What about a hormonal imbalance? One of the worst symptoms for both of these are headaches! Please don’t start him on this drug for headaches!! I know how awful they are but in my honest opinion it isn’t worth the risks of Effexor! They also put me on topomax for migraines and it completely altered my mood in a very negative way so avoid that one as well! I hope he finds relief though bc I know he is miserable!

          1. I have been on Effexor for close to a year now after my neuro prescribed it for migraines. No clue that it would have such crazy withdrawal symptoms. I was on about 112 mg, I’m now down to taking about 6 mg (1/4 of a 25 mg pill) once every three days and it’s so miserable. I’m constantly nauseas and do not feel like a human being or that my brain is in my body. It’s completely affecting me at work and causing me to have to just lay down on my couch a lot even though I try to push myself. I have been tapering for a few months now but am really scared to take the final plunge and just stop all together. Has anyone tapered themselves off this slowly? How long did it take to go back to feeling normal once you just stopped? I’m almost considering taking some time off work to just go through this withdrawal.

            Also, re: migraines, I’ve had chronic migraines since I was 7 years old (I’m just about 31 now.) I’ve felt like a guinea pig and have been on and off so many different meds but this – without even comparison – has been the worst x10000. Try anything else for migraines before this.

        2. I was also put on Topamax for migraines. After about 12 years it stopped helping and I started losing so much of my memory, I would forget what I was doing while I was doing it. I’d forget where I was when in stores and while driving. After discussing this with my neurologist he took me off of Topamax and put me on Effexor. I have been sick ever since. It’s been probably seven months and I’m sick when I take it and even sicker if I forget it. The neurologist had me at 150 mg a day and I recently seen him and told him I want off of this medication. I feel drunk, dizzy, nauseous and just plain sick and tired every single day. He has me down to 75 mg a day now and next will be 37.5 til hopefully none very soon. This medicine is very bad news. I’m going to get off of it no matter how bad it gets. I’m currently in bed sicker than sick (I took my dose today but still feel sick). With four kids, a husband and house to run along with being self employed who seriously has time for being sick every single day. I hate this medicine and wish I had known before I started it just how bad it is. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE anyone who is not taking it yet, research everything before you decide to take it. It’s not worth it!!

        3. Patricia

          Effexor does not help headaches. It can cause them. See pain management doctor.

      4. I know it’s awful I tried to get off this medication for years it’s the worst thing ever I hate it I was never told either about the withdrawals they lied to me
        I wish you well

    4. Please everyone make sure you are emailing Pfizer. They need to be making increments of 5mg so that people can wean themselves off easier. They are aware of the withdrawal from Effexor yet have not made smaller increments so people have to figure out ways to do it themselves. 37.5mg is too big of a jump and all you end up doing coming off of that much is feeling like you brain is being electrocuted.

      1. Because they want everyone on this medication I’m struggling to get off it too and all I was told were there was no problem coming off it
        It is horrible

    5. I am stopping now!! Can you become addicted being on it only 10 days ?

      1. I totally understand. I am so “done” with this and requip. I have found solutions and am changing my life for the good. Try reading for cures. I am seeing results with magnesium, L-tyrosine,iron, b-vitamins, 5-htp. be diligent. Go homeopathic! Find your hope thru these specialists????

      2. Stop it!!! I have only been on it since Sept and on 75mg. I am coming off it and going back on Prozac, but just one day off yesterday was hell. So I will be doing it very slowly . This is poison !!!

        1. Melissa Mick

          I have a question.. I am on 75mg once a day for about a year now. I am wanting to taper off and quit. I have been researching and was wondering if anyone has tried increasing their serotonin naturally? If that helps or not? Foods high in tryptophan, increased sunlight and exercise. I am not sure if these things really help or just keep your mind occupied while detoxing. I am also on Chantix to stop smoking and have done really well with it, but I am a bit nervous to stop smoking and stop Effexor . Thank you for any advice and feedback.. MM

        2. Yes it is poison I’ve been trying to come off this medication for years

    6. Its ok Shelly. With Jesus He will help you through. Read His word and keep the faith. Difficult road yes. I’m comming off the drug also. But decided to deal with the problems instead of mask it.

    7. Chelsea nicole

      I’m in the process of weaning and I feel like I’ve finally found a method that is bearable.. you just have to find a doctor that is understanding and willing to work with you. Honestly if I miss a dose of my effexor I feel like I want to rip my skin off.. I’m nauseated, dizzy and feel like I can’t hear or process my own thoughts.. like someone is screaming inside my head. So far with my weaning right now, my biggest issue is waking up with excruciating headaches and just feeling groggy and tired. I’m doing the slowest process pretty much ever since I’m so sensitive to the withdrawal symptoms and have zero ability to function when I’m withdrawing.. and I mean ZERO. So anywho.. I started out with 150mg ER effexor.. changed to two 75mg tablets.. one extended release and one immediate release. I took that for a month.. Then I switched to one 75mg ER tablet and one 37.5 IR tablet and one half of another 37 5 IR tablet for one month. Then I went down to one 75mg ER tablet and one 37.5 IR tablet for one month. Then to 75mg ER and half of my 37.5 IR tablet for one month and then finally to just one 75 mg ER tablet for one month. Then I switched to one 37.5 mg ER tablet and one 37.5 IR tablet and did that for one month.. then I cut down the 37.5 mg IR tablet by 1/4 a pill staying at each step down for an entire month. I am now at one dose of 37.5 mg ER daily… my next plan is to switch from 37.5 mg ER daily to 37.5 mg IR daily.. I am experiencing the most withdrawal symptoms at this time and this last transition to entirely immediate release has been the most brutal.. once I’m ablento tolerate just the IR 37.5 I will start cutting it down by a 1/4 of a pill each month.. I’ve had to get a prescription for zofran to help with the morning nausea and take ibuprofen for the headaches.. For sleep I use benedryl or marijuana and that seems to help. I know this process seems long and probably ridiculous and over doing it to some, but it is honestly the best way to do it if you hate the withdrawal symptoms as much as I do.. it minimizes them so much and makes them so much more tolerable… that way you are able to continue on with your work/ relationships and regular life without having a mental breakdown.. I just wanted to put this out there incase it could help anyone wean without wanting to jump off a cliff.

    8. I am now 1 month free of the drug Effexor that I was put on by a licensed drug dealer (doctor) 15 years ago. Not a word mentioned about the side effects or “hey this medicine is worse than opiates to get off of” (don’t judge unless you have felt the withdrawal clicks or shocks).

      I was on 150mg and asked my doctor to switch me to 75mg (XR). Took it for about 1 month and then started to take days off in between and would take one if the withdrawals got too bad. Did this for about 3 months and am now pass the 3 week mark.

      I have gone the herbal route too (don’t ask…Google herbal remedies and anxiety..duh). It is unfortunate our medical system where licensed drug dealers (doctors) get kickbacks for writing certain prescriptions…
      This practice has corrupted most licenced drug dealers and the reason why “they always have a pill for that”. Wake Up people…hug a nurse as they are the ones who will save your life…..Western Doctors treat symptoms and this is a risk to your health. If you have a flat tire, would you fix or add another tire? Western medicine has failed the masses…imagine this country if medicine became scarce….how many Americans would be crippled with withdrawals? Just sad….

      Happy New Year all and good luck getting off the fixes provided by our Western licenced drug dealers.

    9. I did not now I would have withdrawal from these capsules I was prescribed them fir hot flashes . I’ve been without for two weeks how much longer until symptoms disappear

    10. Look into micro biome and how to populate your “good bacteria”.
      Eat well and try go organic where possible as food that is sprayed with pesticides damages the biome. Also make sure to do all the essentials, get out into nature, excercise, drink Water! Learn breathing excercises / meditation. Practice grattitude, read books / educate yourself on these topics, youtube can help but also take time out from the digital sphere. That is a good start, hope you have success and remember to pass it on. Helping others is an important part of building self worth! Look after yourself 🙂

    11. Rember, reality can have a negative filter over it. Remove the filter reality improves immediately. Effexor proved to be my negative filter. 3 weeks off after 2 months tapering I already feel better. Research mushroom therapy. Much safer and effective route. BTW I’m not a physician so this is based on my personal experience. Don’t EVER give up. Peace

    12. I have been on Effexor for 15 years. I am currently trying to manage my tapering from 75mg every second day, to 37.5 mg daily to every 36 hours, to 42 hours. Today, I am trying to mask the side effects with paracetamol and codeine. I will keep you informed.

    13. Stay active. Very active to push thru the bad thoughts. Trust those feelings vs will pass soon.

    14. I have also found the first two weeks after you start the lower dosage is hellacious. Then, i became less moody, depressed, anxious.

    15. Never the right answer. Hang in there the feeling will subside in a week or two as your body gets used to a lower dosage

    16. Are you saying that withdrawing causes these bad feelings? Or are you saying that you have gained weight or some other symptoms that are hard to deal with?

  2. Debbie Stevens

    i have recently detoxed from Ativan. About 4weeks ago. I’m still feeling a lot of anxiety , I was on this medication about 15 years.i want to detox from Effexor as soon as possible. How long should I wait to start this process. I know this is going to be very hard. I ran out of my medication one time and didn’t t have it for 3 days. I had suecidal thoughts bad. I also felt very strongly that I was dying. I couldn’t handle the feelings so I kept taking it. I’ be been taking this for about 12 years. Effexor really helped with my depression. It’ s time for me to try and get off all these meds.

    1. Why would you stop taking a med that helps your depression and anxiety? I have been on Effexor for about 10 years. I have gained weight. But now I’m starting to eat, not diet, right and exercise a little, I am losing so much weight. Of course, I pray a lot too, that helps.

      1. I’m glad it’s working for you. It worked for me too but for certain reasons I had to stop. I never understood how intense this med was till I started getting off of it…I would never ever recommend this drug for anyone! Ask your psychiatrist to find you an alternative!

    2. Derwin Yamamoto

      How are u doing right now? I’m thinking of quitting effexxor xr 375mg a day. I know its gonna be tough!!

      1. Hi
        I was on 375mg of Venlafaxine a day. I have gradually decreased the amount by 37.5mg in the morning and night each decrease after 6 weeks. This is on my doctors advice. I’m on 75mg morning and night at the moment. Sometimes feel a little nauseous. Tired sometimes other times more energy than ever before. Staying positive and remembering strategies on how to deal with feelings etc Is very important. Good luck. Remain positive

    3. Well congrats, on wanting to get off this crap…I’m right now two weeks detox…I have been on it for five years..I’m only 36 years old…I’m trying hate to say this but in my option you will need a detox doctor…I hate to say that, but my concern would be your health very much so…I’m two weeks and all the really craapy stuff they say happens it is so so much true…you already know what happens from detox with the other drug, this one is one of the worst withdrawals I’ve been through…if you do do this on your own, oranges help and honey…keep sugar in your body…that’s what I am doing and the knew v8 juices are helping…but my head hurts, seeing things, eye vision don’t even know if I’m spelling this right…and yes suicide thoughts…but I have family support. …so friend take care of yourself…and I have decided that I may have problems but who the hell does not…I don’t belong in a nut house and sis neither do you…good luck and damn the government for throwing this shit at people…God speed…

      1. Jana4344

        I could not agree more that this medication should be used as a bridge during a period of transition and therapy to develop coping skills. I was prescribed effexor xr almost 10 years ago after realizing suicidal thoughts stemmed from ptsd due to having been abused as a child. But, effexor more recently began causing suicidal thoughts and I tapered off for a month and tried lexapro which triggered horrible edema. My psychiatrist believes I need to be on medication for the rest of my life, but my therapist and internist believe me that I am healthier without it.
        The FDA and pharmaceutical companies do not have our best interests in mind. Please be careful, seek help from mutiple providers like I did. Use the drug to help you get better, not as a way of life.

      2. Took effexor for years for severe depression, and it worked great for me. I’ve been off it for about 5 years now and I still have withdrawals, in the form of vertigo and electrical shocks to the brain. The vertigo comes and goes. The brain zaps have increased in severity, to the point where it literally feels like my brain is being shocked with electricity. Like someone flipped a switch and I get a jolt. I can even hear it – it sounds like the high pitched musical feedback from the speakers at a concert. If I’m holding or carrying anything, I will drop it, and I cry out involuntarily. I never had any problems with this drug, and I’m debating getting back on it to alleviate these withdrawls. The voltage to my brain is driving me nuts, and I’m driving everyone around me nuts. I’m sure it’s a little unsettling to witness.

        1. Wow…you have been off of Effexor for 5 years and still have withdrawal symptoms? That is discouraging. I had been on Paxil for about 10 years. Had some weird depression, anxiety, heart beat problems. All I could do was lay in bed miserable. So they put me on Effexor and Klonopin last October 2016. I started at 50 mg twice daily and Klonopin .5 MG twice daily. I felt better but experienced apathy so the Dr. upped my dose to 50 mg a.m. and 100 mg I only take the Klonopin if I really need it, not daily. I want to stop. Paxil is hard to come off of and Effexor seems so much worse. If I am going to have to suffer side effects 5 years later, like you. I am wondering if it is worth it.

          1. everyone is different if we looked at everyones side effects like our own WOW we would all be in the nut house.. PLEASE people I was on 37.5 mg and I am on day 7 of stopping cold turkey and everyday seem more positive and hardly any side effects I like to focus on the day and knowing I am heading in the right direction try everyday to get up after all we all have to get up to get on if we lay in bed and stew about what is next or how long this will all take everyone is so different.. I am looking forward to a new life without drugs horrible chemicals in my body and I have no control I want my control back I want me back far more then these side effects of with drawls we have to eat properly and move around drink plenty of water to help cleanse our bodies to flush out the junk and get out into the sun and around people that are positive and can laugh. I am not one to lay down and give up and have a pitty party we have to self ourselves.. I will continue on with my withdrawls and get ff this so I can find myself again and live life… Hope this helps and each one of us can find the courage and peace of mind we all look for.. I know I will be… 🙂

        2. Charlynda

          You are still having these withdrawals after 5 years of being without Effexor? The reason I’m asking is because I’m thinking of tapering off myself of the same meds.

      3. Catharine

        Thank you so much for your post and to everyone who has shared their experiences. It has truly saved my life! I was on Effexor XR 150 mg for about 9 months and just took my last pill a few days ago after having been tapering off for about 3 weeks. I’ve experienced every single withdrawal symptom there is and I am still detoxing. The head shakes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, mania and insomnia have been hell! I tried to do it as quickly as possible because I realized after a botched suicide attempt that this drug was the cause of my desire to end my life as well as the cause of many other horrible side effects and worsened my OCD and anxiety and agoraphobia and self abhorrence. I wish I had realized it sooner. I had been on Lexapro, Zoloft and Trazadone in the past and kept having to change meds after a while because my depression and anxiety kept coming back. I didn’t realize the meds were actually worsening my symptoms. I just thought it was my depression getting worse. I’m happy to say I’m doing much better already and to let others here know that are struggling too that there is light at the end of the tunnel and anyone else that reads this please know you’re not alone. Reach out to anyone you can for help, be patient and pray and have faith that God will get you through it.

    4. Have you thought about waiting a little bit until you feel more balanced after coming off of Ativan ?! Congrats btw!
      I say this because i have been in Effexor for 15 years 220 mg and
      I am coming down 35 mg a month and it is brutal. I don’t have head zaps but
      My moods are all over yhr place and intense and there have been days i feel like I’m having a panic attack. After about two weeks those symptoms subside

      I wouldn’t want ur body to be in shock taking away more resources before it reaches its new equilibrium. But i getttttt it. This is my third time trying to come off Effexor and i just want it out of my body

  3. Honestly I never found it hard to get off this medication. I was only on for a few months anyways so it’s probably different than people who have taken the higher doses for several years.

    I had tons of side-effects ON it which is why I wanted off in the first place. I remember the first time I started taking it I was literally high as a kite (I’m a tiny skinny guy so anything I take hits me like a bag of bricks).

    A little word of advice for anyone reading. The hardest thing I dealt with was the lightheartedness/headaches. As terrible as it is at first to go outside for a walk or stay active I found it helped tremendously. Sitting watching bright screens or sulking on the couch made my headaches turn into nausea etc. Move around and don’t stay on the computer/tv all day!

  4. I get the brain shakes any night i forget to take Effexor XR. I also sweat like no other. its unbearable but I want to get off of this medication. I do feel like I’m stuck though and that I cannot get off.

    1. I’ve been tapering off since June and it’s so hard and I have the brain shakes every 3 days. It’s like clock work. Hardest thing I’ve been through by far, but I was on 150mg XR for 2 years. I’m now on 37.5MG XR, and I’m taking one pill every other day. I get the brain shakes on the 3rd day if I spread out the dose to try to taper more. I feel stuck at this point, and I haven’t before this. Sucks! It just sucks

    2. You can get off

      I tried a few times as well

      Stuck with it and do it slowly

      I’m coming down 35 mg a month and I’m not getting brain zaps. I have every other symptom but not those. Then the last two weeks in thr month i feel a bit more balanced then it’s time to lower it again and ….we’ll, the first two weeks are hellacious. Hellacious to the point where it is impacting every part of my life

      Hang in there
      Keep trying
      This medicine is atrocious

  5. Natasha Mace

    It’s been rough. I really wished my doc told me how hard it is coming off of them.
    It’s been 6 days I’d say day 3 was the worst. I’m still feeling funny, but doing much better.

    1. Natasha Mace

      It’s been rough. I really wished my doc told me how hard it is coming off of them.
      It’s been 6 days I’d say day 3 was the worst. I’m still feeling funny, but doing much better. All though I’ve been tapering off of them for now 2 months I was extremely afraid to stop taking them altogether. The vertigo with something I’ve never experienced in my life. I had to take some time off from work the first four days I couldn’t’t drive my car. I notice that closing my eyes was probably the best thing for me any fast eye movement is when I got extremely sick. I don’t know if I’ll ever get on an antidepressant honestly I’m afraid now. I never want any kind of pill to control me…. I need it and if I don’t get it I get physically ill. One thing I’ll probably miss is the calmest at night, or the heavyness.. I could feel the serotonin dumping on me, but I hated the night sweats. I’m also looking forwarded to cry again, passion and all those feelings us humans get. Good luck to ya all!!!

    2. Wendy Boatright

      I’m going on 6-7 days now and the first fews days I wanted to die. I’m determined to work thru the horrible side effects

      1. Wendy,
        How did things go for you? I am currently on day 12 with no effexor. I am making progress, but still have a ways to go.

  6. I finally took the plunge. I talked to my doctor about decreasing and eventually getting off. My doctor prescribed me to 75 mg by taking 3 37.5 mg.
    I immediately started to take just 2, and for 1 month I was feeling normal. on November 18th I forgot to take the medication. And since then have been off. It’s now the 24th. I have been dealing with side effects such as the “brain zaps”, sweating (very much), uncontrollable shakes, times where i just feel like crying for no reason, and the aches are horrible.

    1. Wendy Boatright

      I’m going thru that very same thing, it’s so bad at times but I’m determined as hell to not let it beat me, ours bodies are strong, keep pushing through it

      1. I am right there with you both I did cold turkey after years of 225mg. I am on day 8. Shakes, random crying spells, can’t drive my car, Good Lord I can barely function; soaking sweats, brain zaps, ears are screeching, dizzy sweats and oh yes, did I mention SWEATING??? This is some evil medication and I would never, ever recommend it to anyone!!!!

  7. My personal experience is like many of those I’ve read. Before discussing my symptoms, I’d like to state that I was prescribed this medication based on one of its potential alternate uses: for fatigue. Therefore I was prescribed a low dose, and had been taking the medication for approximately 6 months.
    Due to the medication not affecting my fatigue, and the (minor at the time and in comparison) side effects I had felt within 24 hours of missing one dose a few months in to taking the medication, I had decided I would rather not continue taking it. Based on a conversation with my Neurologist PA, I had tapered from 75mg to 37.5mg for a few weeks. (I should note that during the conversation with the PA, he had indicated the tapering off may occur over one week to 1 pill per day, and then another week before tapering off completely.) During this time the side effects were minimal, and essentially the worst of it was some mild dizziness/vertigo that would occur quite regularly (approximately noon to 1 pm each day).
    Then, I came off the medication all together. For me, the results were extremely disappointing as the side effects became severe within approximately one day. The way I described the effects to others was: take the symptoms of the flu (aches, extreme fatigue, nausea, chills, sweating), and add to that severe dizziness and vertigo, and a sensory perception of electric current(s) in my head exacerbated by eye movement. Emotionally, I experienced sadness and crying that would sometimes abruptly change to laughter. The experience as a whole is beyond disconcerting, and rendered me nonfunctional in regards to being able to perform everyday tasks (i.e. driving, work, household tasks, etc.). Mobilizing around the home was even difficult.
    These initial few days of withdrawal began on a Saturday; Monday I chose to attempt to work from home. Subsequently on Tuesday I reached out to my neurologist and left a message. In doing so, and while speaking to the administrative assistant I received some of the most reassurance and information provided to me by anyone. The Admin Asst. let me know that she’d forward the information to the neurologist; she also let me know she had been on the same med., and how after a similar situation as mine she was able to taper off; not without some withdrawal effects, but definitely not to the level I’d been experiencing. She utilized the method described in the article above: taper off by being on the lowest prescribed dose, and alternate pill consumption days for at least a few weeks, then start to slowly increase the “days off” in between the “days on”. At each increment or step down, take a few weeks to allow your system to adjust.
    Therefore, and as much as I want nothing to do with the meds, I have started such a tapering off method. I also intend to, if necessary, further taper down the med by counting out the grains. I am sincerely hoping this method in conjunction with some natural and OTC remedies I’ve read about (i.e. Omega-3 and B12 supplements, anti nausea and motion sickness meds) do the trick, and do so in a reasonably quick time frame.
    Best of luck to each of you who may be going through the same situation.

  8. I just recently stopped taking Effexor successfully after three attempts. I’m experiencing headaches but that is my only symptom. I attempted a quicker taper the first time and passed out at work, the second time we tried a slower taper and I still felt horrible. The third time my doctor gave the Prozac bridge a try….it was amazing. No brain zaps or horrible nausea. I am on day 10 of no Effexor and like I said aside from a headache I am just fine. After 10+ years of being on the medication my blood pressure was rising and my triglycerides were through the roof….within weeks of lowering my Effexor dose both of those numbers went back to a normal range. I will never take Effexor again or recommend it for so many reasons. Yes it helped in the short term but I will try anything else before Effexor next time.

    1. Also forgot to mention! A Dramamine here and there helped with any nausea/dizzy feeling.

      1. It was positive reading what you went through as I did not know why I was suffering the side effects. I started efffexor 12 years ago and steadily increased dosage to currently 375mg per day plus 150gm of lamictal/day.
        effexor was for depression but then found that i may be bipolar so lamictal was added as effexor was not working. I have now decided the cost in Australia for effexor is ridiculous and due to holiday circumstances leaving tablets behind it is an opportunity to wean myself off.
        It is a vicious circle as there is no certainty Effexor adds any benefit to my situation. Add on Zyloprim 330gm, Pariet 20mg it adds up to $153.00 per mth,
        I have to stop being sick etc.
        Thanks to all those out there for sharing it helps.

    2. can you go into a little more detail about the “prozac bridge”? and are you still taking it? ty

  9. I have been on Effexor XR 150 for migraine prevention for 4 years. I have had two occasions where I forgot to take my Effexor XR 150 in the morning at my usual time of 7:30am. The first time, by 2:00am, less than 24 hours after my missed dose, I woke up with an excruciating, pounding headache, worse than any migraine I have ever had, vomiting, diarrhea, profuse sweating and a rapid, pounding heart rate. The first time, after I realized that I had missed my medication and that was probably why I was feeling that way, my husband called my neurologist and he sad that’s was a common reaction to missing the Effexor XR. After taking my regular dose, and sleeping for several hours I awoke feeling weak, but otherwise normal. I vowed never to missing another dose and loaded extra does in my purses, car any anyplace else I could think of. Two years later I have once again missed a dose of my Effexor. I experienced the same horrible withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately I didn’t realize that I had forgotten my medication until about 8:00am the next morning. After this last episode, I have decided to wean off of the drug. My Neuro PA gave me a 4 week weaning schedule to drop the dosage by 37.5mg each week . She also gave me generic Prozac 10mg to use as a bridge. After the first day that I decreased my dosage I experienced a pounding headache, dizziness, and nausea. I then opened up one on the 37.5mg capsules and counted out the granules and took half of them in a bite of yogurt and put the other half back in the capsule for the next day. During this time I was searching the Internet for any info that I could find on coming off of the Effexor XR. I noticed in the blogs that I read that people who were on the Effexor immediate release didn’t seem to have as much trouble coming off of the Effexor as the people who were on the extended release (XR). I mentioned this to a doctor friend of mine and he told me that when he had to wean his patients off off narcotics that he always switched them off of the extended release to the immediate release right away because it was much easier to come off o that way. Not to mention that the pills go all the way down to 25mg and they are scored tablets instead of capsules! I emailed this info to my Neuro PA and she faxed in the meds (generic is least expensive) and a new weaning protocol suggested by my doctor friend. Today is my first day of decreasing my dose from 150mg of Effexor XR to 137mg of the immediate release. I am taking half of a 100mg tab and half of a 75mg tab twice a day. Thanks be to God that I didn’t even notice a difference in the dosage! No withdrawal symptoms! I plan to stay at each dosage for 3 weeks so it will probably take me about 33 weeks to finish the medication. That is totally fine with me because I am moving in the right direction and no withdrawal symptoms! I agree with the person who started this blog, that switching from extended release to immediate release and taking your time to wean slowly is the ticket to getting off of this junk. Also have your doctor do they Prozac bridge. I will update in a few weeks about my progress. Good luck to everyone. I am praying for an easy time and minimal withdrawal symptoms.

    1. Valerie Blair

      Omg, I’m sorry you have migraines, but I’m glad to finally read a post from someone taking this for the same reason I was. I was taking 225mg as a preventative, one of several. I was still getting migraines roughly every other day. I have a myriad of other health issues & decided it was time to wean off some meds as I felt they weren’t working & we needed to figure out what would. I had no life & my family & I couldn’t really do anything & I’m now on SSDI. So I chose to start here. I started by weaning down to 150mg, then 75mg per Drs instructions over a 2 month period. The second day off the medication the horrible dizziness started. I emailed my Drs office & didn’t really get a good response on that. I had an appointment that day & decided to call the pharmacist that night to see if he knew better. All they “know” is the medicine has a half life of a few hours so my symptoms shouldn’t be related to my stopping. The next day I was so bad my blood pressure shot up to 154/104! I’m already on BP meds so I went to the ER & spent the day having tests run, CT scans, EKG, & nothing to show for my symptoms. I finally come home to find this! It walks like a duck, quacks like a duck & now I’m so angry that I wasn’t weaned further. I gladly would’ve taken more time in order to avoid still dealing with my BP being high, tremors, dizzy, nauseous, brain zaps, and everything else. In the meantime, my husband works out of state & now is flying home to take care of me & our daughter cuz we don’t know how much longer this is gonna last! I’m still waiting for my dr to call me about this. I’m not only thankful I chose to get off this poison, but I refuse to go back up any dose in order to alleviate any of these symptoms. The pharmaceutical training here needs to change!!!!

      1. EffexorAddict

        I sooooo agree! The training of the providers and the pharmacist needs massive improvements! When as a patient I can tell you more about the medication than you can, there is a problem. With any mind-altering medication, there should be extensive training. I had a physician once tell me that it would take me two weeks to feel ANY KIND of withdrawal symptoms from stopping my Effexor! I could’ve have slapped him senseless. I also had a pharmacist refuse to fill 2 pills to last till that Monday when we could call my physician bc they had questions regarding my new script so he wouldn’t fill it and said I would be fine until Monday(this was a Sat). My brother had moved from TN to IL and was having a very hard time finding a new psych doc. He had to wait 2 months for the closest appointment. In the meantime, his refills ran out and his physician in TN refused to issues 1 refill unless he came in to be seen(he was required to be seen every 4 months- which he did faithfully and had told that Doctor he was moving). He explained that he was put out a few months and had ran out and gave him the phone number to the new MD to verify the appt was made and when it had been made, but TN MD still refused. I contacted that office and threatened legal action bc I brother had been placed on it originally for depression with an attempted suicide. He should never abruptly have to stop much less for weeks and if he ended up commuting suicide I would own their clinic and everything he had! Actually, at that point all he needed was 10 days worth! 10 days was all I was asking for. Just enough to get him to his appt. They called it in only after my fit but it shouldn’t have taken that! He should’ve known what could have happened with stopping abruptly after 10+ years! Some serious changes need to be made in regards to information and training of healthcare professionals!

    2. Hi Julia, I was wondering how you did with the Effexor – Prozac bridge? I have been tapering off of Effexor xr (75mg to 37.5mgs) by decreasing the amount of beads and alternating days (example: 37.5mgs one day and 45mgs another day). Ive slowly working my way down and almost to the point of being on 37.5mgs on its own but have been having withdrawal symptoms. I want to add in Prozac to help alleviate these withdrawl symptoms. Do you take the two meds at the same time in the day or separate times? Do you increase the Prozac while decreasing the Effexor? Which approach worked for you? Thanks in advance. 🙂

  10. I have weaned down to 25 mg pills, cut those in half with a pill splitter and then cut down to 1/8th . WHAT NOW? I am trying to go from every 24 hours to as long as I can stand it, but I am worried that I am just prolonging the inevitable. I feel better after taking the 1/8th, but it only lasts a little over 24 hours….I’m trying to make it to bedtime and stretch it out. Should I now go COLD TURKEY? How long will the withdrawl last? I feel like a yo yo.
    The weaning wasn’t too bad until I got to 37.5…and it has been a nightmare. Can’t wait to be off this drug…I wonder if I will ever feel good again.

    1. Lucy, don’t know whether you’ve already gone ahead cold turkey. I did four days ago and spent March 15th in the ER. Racing heart (I actually thought I was having a heart attack), blood pressure out there on the high end, hot/cold flashes, severe feelings of anxiety/dread, feeling I was losing consciousness, complete nightmare. 12 hours into this and nothing has changed other than knowing my heart is ok after complete workup. Had I known this before, I would have spoken with my physician first. This sucks!

    2. Wendy Boatright

      I’m with you about feeling good. Day to day I guess, cold turkey is extremely hard, I stopped abruptly, not by choice and it’s beyond horrible but I will continue to go through these withdrawals to be rid if this debilitating pill. I am fortunate enough to have an exceptional support system they know I’m not faking it and when I cry uncontrollably brain zaps nausea vomiting insomnia depression more brain zaps my skin feeling like it’s calling I know when it’s all said and done it it’s going to be worth it you must have a support system people that don’t just think you’re crazy or or imagining what’s going on it’s all very real and it’s tough to go through it and these blogs really have helped me especially sunce I didn’t realize that other people were going through the same thing and surprise! I’m not crazy, do what your body can handle and believe me your body can handle a lot more than you think it can. Good luck with your detoxing and remember that you’re not by yourself there are tons of us out here suffering with you. Good luck!

  11. I tried to get off from Alventa (Venflaxine) june-dec- everything was ok til 10 mg per day. Than 2 days was head spinning around, but it stopped. Doc put me back to 20 mg day.
    Now anxiety back, I wake in nights 2-3 times with anxiety+ awful allergy- skin+ every morning my eyes +face 2 times bigger than usually. Last 2 weeks Im back in 20 mg, should I go back bigger dose or what to do? Can someone help, I just cant go work with allergy work (Loratine help after 2 hours )

  12. Two weeks ago I stopped taking venlafaxine after 4 years. I am so pleased as this is the third time I’ve tried and at last I have been successful. I did it really slowly. I have been on the immediate release tablets which can be easily cut in half or even quarters. Previous attempts have been awful and the withdrawal symptoms unbearable resulting in returning to my previous dosage before I stopped. This time I followed the guidance given on the website They have a page on venlafaxine reduction instructions. I have been cutting down slowly for a year, with the occasional side effect which was always quite mild and bearable. I was on 150mg twice daily so it’s been a slow process and I would reduce by a small amount and stay on that dosage for a month or until I felt stable. Normally I would only have very mild withdrawal symptoms for a few days. After I got to 37.5mg morning and evening I followed the instructions on the named website, cutting down slowly to 1/4 of a tablet morning and night and then just a 1/4 in the morning. I stayed on each reduced dose for a few days longer than they suggested as I was determined not to fail. It has worked! I am now venlafaxine free. It still hasn’t been easy and I have suffered some withdrawal symptoms. The worst being dizziness and a bit tearful at times. It has taken 2 weeks to feel ok. I would suggest taking time off from work to do it so you can be gentle with yourself. You can’t drive as the dizziness would make it dangerous.But I know feel back to my normal self- a person I haven’t known for 4 years. Fingers crossed I won’t ever need to go on it again, although it was the only drug that seemed to work after my last breakdown. I would never say don’t take venlafaxine if you are desperately unwell, but be aware it is a long,slow process to come off it successfully. Good luck.

  13. I’m currently out of my Effexor and I feel like I am dying. My heart is racing, I have this weird pain in my head and I’m dizzy and nauseous. This drug is the absolute worst when you run out or forget to take it.

  14. Oh guys, it really sucks lol I want to mention a withdrawal symptom that I’ve never seen mentioned. I’m not sure if its because its rare or if people experience it but don’t associate it with withdrawals. I’ll start with how I got off it.I too tried cold turkey and experienced severe side effects. After that it was almost a year before I even attempted to come off again. Like a lot of you I tapered. I was taking 300mg a day and slowly reduced for 8 months. One I got to the 37.5mg I went to the immediate release and started cutting pills. Anyway, 6 days ago I took my last dose. I was taking a quarter of the 37.5’s and felt it was time. I of course had withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours (brain zaps, dizziness. pretty much every bad withdrawal listed above), however this time while all the withdrawals symptoms were there, they were far less severe. I definitely had my moments where I thought about going back on but I didn’t want the last 8 months to have been a waste. Like I said this is day 6 and I actually woke up feeling great. No brain zaps etc and while I still have some body aches everything else is subsiding nicely. Now to the ‘Other’ symptom. I’ve always had fairly clear skin….sensitive at times but nothing major. The last few months my face has been breaking out in a rash. It kind of looked like acne at first. I also started breaking out on my upper back. Last week it got really bad. It was so red and sore. It literally looked like someone had thrown acid in my face. My husband asked me what the hell was going on with my face lol When I told him what I’ve been going through with it he immediately said “I bet its a side effect of coming off the effexor”. It never in a million years would have occurred to me that it was connected! I got online and after some search I found out that indeed it is listed as one of the severe side effects you can get. If you too have suffered this I implore you NOT to use acne creams or the like as it will only make it worse. What has been working for me is pure aloe vera. Also every night I slather my face with hydrocortizone ointment and that helps ALOT. I know most would not recommend using that on your face but if its only for a short time I’m in. Anything beats the painful rash I’ve endured. One site I found some good info on I’ll post a link to. I think they may be selling a step by step guide to getting off effexor but I just used it for all the withdrawal info etc. Good luck to all!!

    1. michelle

      Thankfully i have only been on Effexor XR for 2 months……i have had major weight gain and hair loss. So what do i do,?? STOP taking it like every 2 to 3 rd day and use prozac in between……PLEASE DO NOT EVER DO THIS ON YOUR OWN!!!! I cant believe how stupid i feel, i made a huge mess of a mistake like i have made in the past, ‘oh i feel better, or i dont like the side effects’… bipolar brain doesnt realize the:: brain zapy dizzy fog, elevated blood pressure, dreaming AND remembering ALL of it then feeling like freaky zombie all day, and all the other side effects if withdrawal,incl Suicidal Ideation!!!! Please, i have enough without this withdrawal problem!
      Thank you all very much for sharing!!!!!! We are not our disease and we are NOT alone!!!!! I see my Doc in less than a week and will slowly and correctly get through this……may God and positive vibes bless all of us! Thank you

    2. I am experiencing something similar but not to your degree shame im really sorry. Ive gone cold turkey after 8 years and today is day6…i have a rash…little red dots, all over my upper back, no pain or anything but little red dots.

  15. I am so scared my doctor don’t talk to me my blood pressure was high and it took him 2 weeks to get back with me I’m on 150 mg of effexor xr for 2 months I missed 3 days last month and went crazy now he is dropping me down to 75mg and I just think its going to be so bad… I am so scared I will hurt myself this time…. Please help me if anyone thinks this is normal to go from 150 to 75 mg. No one understands me text me if you have to 318-451-9362 please I need help

    1. Dont be scared, i think we make it worse by being afraid and reading the posts i feel so sorry for everyone…including myself…lol…ive been on venlor 100 for 8 years. All it did for me was make me numb and didnt cure my major depression so i decided too stop. I know from so many countless times of forgetting to take my pill,the brain shocks!…anyways ive gone cold turkey and its day6 i have the constant brain shocks but its getting less,insomnia , i can stay awake the whole night and not even think of sleeping, but thats about it…oh and im hungry all the but thats ok im thin.I guess what im trying to say is dont be afraid,its not that bad and you can do it!

  16. Hi Alicia

    I too have been taking venafaxine for around 2 years. I decided to cut it out as insomnia and constipation were vile. I live in the uk and my doctor told me to cut it down over a week then switch to Prozac. It will be day 3 tomorrow of a zero dose and I’m feeling foul!!!! Brain zaps are the worst for me and feeling like I’ve had 3 bottles of wine and am drunk, it’s awful but I went into work today and persevered. Have had nightmares the last two nights, I know tomorrow will be more of the same but on the plus side I have lost weight and am having feelings again along with energy and interest in things that don’t involve being asleep which is all I have done for the last 2 years!!!! Stay strong and don’t lose heart, I’m not going to!! These symptoms can’t last indefinately (I’m sure)


  17. No! Dropping from 150 to 75 would be HORRIBLE!! I’m worried how bad it was for you. I went from 75 to 37.5 VERY slowly by opening the capsule and taking out 1-2 at a time each week. The problem is doctors don’t research medications before they prescribe them. I was given Effexor for PMS!! They get a kickback for handing out samples and prescribing these medications!

  18. So I recently went off Effexor XR cold turkey, I’ve been on it for about 8 years and I stopped cold turkey. Worst thing I’ve ever done but I was determined to not go back. Since the day I stopped, about 2.5 months ago, all the nasty withdrawal symptoms have faded aside from the nausea. It’s so bad I take Pepto Bismal, Dramamine, and two different antacids every day otherwise I would be vomiting. Were it not for the fact that this started exactly the same time that I went off the medicine, I would be freaking out thinking there’s something else going on. It has to be related, however I feel like 2.5 months is a decent amount of time and this constant nauseas feeling is not improving. Then again, I was on a high dose for almost 8 years. Does anyone have any thoughts or similar experiences? I just want to know if it’s even possible for withdrawal symptoms to last this long. I’m desperate to feel human again. I don’t even want to wake up because I know I will be facing a day of feeling sick, and i fought so hard to stay off it so long, I need to know there’s light at the end of this tunnel. Help please!

    1. Hi Amy and anyone else who is weaning off Effexor/venaflaxin. I have been on Effexor/venaflaxin for 16 years. Started at 75mg and am now taking 37.5 mg. This has taken me almost four months. And, yes I feel nauseas. I am lucky that is my only symptom. It takes a long time get this medication out of your body. Be patient and do it very slowly.

  19. Check with your doctor first, but I was on Effexor 75 mg and he decreased me to 37.5, I’ve been on that for a few years and wanted to get off completely, so he had me take 1 every other day and see how I tolerated that. I have been off that for a few days and I am having the dizziness, nausea, & throat tightening . I think I may stick it out if it’s okay with the doc. I started them in 2007 after being diagnosed with breast cancer. 9 years cancer free now! God is good!

  20. I have FINALLY gotten off Effexor altogether but it has been a long process and a challenge. I was on 75 most of the time, went up to 125 (?) for a short period of time but then back down. Each step was difficult. I went from 75 to 37.5, then 37.5 every other day. Each step was at least 6 months at this dosage if not more. Then I finally pulled the plug and went off 37.5 within the last couple of months. The main disturbing side effect are the brain zaps, which happened quite frequently the first few days. Then I had a bout of being very emotional, cried at the drop of a dime and horrible insomnia. It’s been a month now and I am still getting brain zaps but infrequently. Before I would get them if I missed a dose. I gained a lot of weight while taking Effexor and despite efforts to diet I did not lose any significant weight and in fact just gained more. I have had bad migraines since I lowered the dose to 37.5 every other day. Maybe my migraines will subside now that I am weened off of it. When I first started this drug my doctor said it was one of the safest anti-depressants with the least side effects. So wrong.

  21. Same, I started Effexor 75mg late November 2015, then went up to 150mg for about 2 weeks – it just made me so tired sleeping all the time – went back to 75mg for a couple of months, been on 37.5mg for a month and came off it 3 days ago.. Today is very bad, been lying down all day feeling nauseous with big whooshing in my head… I hope it goes soon – never again.. I think the doctors are being tricked by the pharmaceutical companies that this drug is so good – they should believe the patients instead…

  22. I feel like an idiot after reading these posts. My doctor prescribed 37.5 for migraines and then upped it to 75mg. I think it’s been two months since I’ve been on that dosage. I think I’d rather deal with the headaches which I still get at least once a week. I’ve gained weight and sweat like a pig. Now I get to slowly wean myself from something I should not have been on to begin with. Pays to do your homework BEFORE you take medicine. I’m also on 1mg ativan for sleeping. So not worth it.


    1. Hey your post caught my eye…how has it affected your liver? I’ve been on this crap since I was 19…had severe depression and panic attacks and could not function so it did help immensely. But since about a year ago started having right sided abdominal pain..GP told me I pulled an abdominal muscle so naturally I was not too concerned. Still got the pain went back to GP and they referred me for abdominal ultrasound. Well I have an enlarged liver!!!! Almost 10cmbigger than it should be but my liver function tests are coming back normal. My specialist doesn’t know why but I’m going back for a follow up next week. Can you tell me more about your liver condition? I need answers. I’m also coming off this shit…down from 150 to 75 and I’m hoping to do the next drop to 37.5 after my uni exam in June…I’m so worried about my health. The whites of my eyes are even gone yellow. Please write me back. Anita

    2. lisa read

      I have been on Effexor 150ml for about 10 years , started on 125ml relapsed after nightmares & suicidal thoughts , due to being sexually abused as a child .. this is my third day into my detox after 15years of use. under docs instructions I am taking 150ml every alternative day and 75ml the other days.. then the lower dosage beings continues for four weeks (weening process) so far so good, I’m taking supplements ( all the B’s women’s multi vitamins just light headed and tired , a little nauseous but nothing I can not deal with ..never really thought about going off Effexor , however was told my kidneys and liver are not functioning correctly..
      I going to smash this feeling positive .. keep up the good work y’all

  24. I’m doing the every other day method . I am sad that this is such a long process. I am using cannabis and talk therapy instead of pharmaceuticals. Thank you all for sharing your stories. Blessed be.

    1. I’ve been doing the every other day method as well. I was originally on 75 mg for 5 years started taking it when I was 17 (now 22 probably the worst time to go off it as I just graduated college and feel HORRIBLE). I started cutting down to 37.5 then 75 the next for about two weeks and was fine… I then did a week of 25 mg short release twice a day–minor side effects (headaches), then 25 mg once a day for two weeks. Now I’m currently taking one 25 mg every other day and am feeling all of the side effects.
      I am also using cannabis as I find it to be the only way to relive the extreme anxiety (to the point I cannot focus) and crying spells of depression. However, I tend to use it only at night time as I am unproductive on it during the day.
      I FEEL HORRIBLE, to the point somedays I can’t get out of bed from the nausea, depression and intense anxiety combined.
      When is it going to get better!? 🙁
      My boyfriend just moved and am feeling lost. I just graduated and feel like this is a crucial point of my life and I’m just doing nothing which makes it worse. UGH advice?!

  25. Marla shoulders

    I am on my second week and have almost considered walking to my medicine cabinet and taking this crap again but after reading some of these statements I know I got to hang in there and fight back my doc did not tell me the side effects of this drug because if I had of known I would have never took them so now I’m dealing with this sickness crying over everything and not wanting to even get out of bed I am so miserable I’m making my family miserable too I thought I had the flu even took a flu test I’m just praying God gets me threw this fast and anyone who are going threw their own war with this drug ??

  26. Oh wow . . . my daughter is getting married in just over two months, I have registered to begin college at the age of 52 in the Fall, and since I have been on 75mg capsules daily of this drug (generic prescribed by my neurologist in November to help deal with intense depression and grief after my father died), I have put on weight and dealt with so many of the above mentioned symptoms. I thought I was having heart issues, (last week went into the ER but was cleared of heart problems – but of all things, the ER internist wanted to put me on meds for my “high blood pressure,” all the while knowing I am on this drug), I have had so much brain fog and lack of interest in pursuing any of my usual dreams/goals YET have had other times of near mania – just never followed through on anything. I had no idea this medication would be so hard to taper off of until I started reading through all this, but I want to get off of it as soon as I can. At this point, though, is there going to be a good time? With all I have coming up, I am now terrified the withdrawal symptoms will make living my busy life impossible during the times I need to be okay. I feel so helpless over it now. I have a scheduled appointment with a new doctor soon and will discuss with him a plan for getting off this stuff safely. I feel so bad all of us were told it was such a great option to use in our treatment:(

  27. I was on Venlafaxine 50 mg/day for 6 months. Recently I have reduced the dose 25 mg/day before 20 days. Now my Dr changed the medicine yesterday. but now i am feeling dizziness, shaking, nausea & current waves in my mind. Kindly advise what to do?

  28. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to find information like this. I was given Effexor/venalfaxing in 2009 after the sudden death of my son. Before that I was taking Paxil for generalized depression for seven years. My psychiatrist told me that this was one of those anti depressants that doesn’t cause weight gain and it is given in small doses to help with hot flashes, which I was experiencing at the time. I am now 57. She worked me up to 225mg daily after a while. There was one point when we lost our medical ins and I went from 225 mg to 37.5 mg within less than two weeks. Yikes! The worst time of my life! I was able to get back on after a while but I was basically a mess for close to a year. I have been on it regularly at 225mg now for 3 + years and have decided to get off of it. I have to laugh at the fact that my doc said it is used to treat hot flashes. After reading all of your above posts, I know I’m not crazy! I have never sweat so much in my life! I have gained approximately 80lbs since being on it and now I know that this evil drug is probably, at least, part of the problem. I went down to 150mg for two weeks. I basically waited for the brain zaps to go away before going down further. I was unaware, however, that the stomach issues were also part it. I was actually feeling “lighter” like fog had lifted to an extent so decided to go down to just one 75mg daily. Did that for only one week. Wasn’t too bad until I stopped taking that one. Today is day three and didn’t want to get out of bed. When I did, I could barely walk, so dizzy and brain zaps. Maybe TMI but have also been on the pot 4 times. Not normal. I finally took one 75mg about two hrs ago. Symptoms are still there but not as bad. I know I have droned on but I too wish the medical professionals out there would be more informative when doling out these meds. When we, as patients, go to them in desperate need, we take them at their word. We look to them for help. I now know that I will check into any further drugs to find out not only side effects while taking but also side effects when trying to go off of them. I am going to continue with this with my GPs help. I want to look forward to things again. I want to have the energy and the “want” to do the things that made me happy before this drug made me live in this “gray” world. Good luck to all that stumble on this like I did!

  29. Unfortunately, you are doing a disservice to those who are “Mentally Ill” whose only options are to take medications. This doesn’t mean I’m broken or it’s masking anything. I’ve exercised like crazy, done alternative medicine changed my diet without any results. I finally felt normal on very old AD’s. Where you do a disservice to people like myself is you scare them and misinform them that this is all a big pharma conspiracy. Depression is a real malady just like diabetes. It needs treatment if you have it. My family has been destroyed by it. Effexor didn’t work for me as many others and I was able to get off max dose in 12 days. I know people whose stories are very similar to yours. It can be horrid. Nevertheless, you are not everyone and I know many ill people like myself who need these meds to live. They turn on the lights for many. Of course, everyone is different and they are’t the answer for everyone. However, my suggestion based on 25 years of Treatment Resistant Depression, where meds have changed my life completely when they work, is to not throw out the baby with the bath water. It’s actually a very narrow minded view, and in my opinion and experience quite incorrect.

    1. EffexorAddict

      I agree that depression is a disease and should be treated as such! Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance. Grief and sadness aren’t depression, although, extended periods of such can cause a decrease in serotonin which can cause a chemical imbalance but that usually can be corrected without medication or at least short term medicine therapy. As someone in the same shoes as you, it hurts me when I see people dismiss depression as a true disease. My AD changed my life for the better but after years of increasing dose year after year and starting a whole body approach especially after learning I was vitamin B deficient and that is crucia in breakin function, I have decided to at least decrease my dose through my provider and very slow taper but only after two months of intense natural ways of increasing my serotonin production under her direction. I hope that I can start to feel somewhat normal again like how I felt when I first started my AD years ago. I know the mental anguish and physical pain severe depression can cause personally and the aftermath of relatives committing suicide. True mental illness is nothing at all to play around with. If a person was diabetic would we tell them just stop or taper down your diabetes meds? No bc it could kill them! A person with mental illness can’t just stop or taper meds without some kind of alternative treatment or it could kill them too! Mental illnesses are real diseases!

  30. Anyone having stomach cramps, pressure? My wife is trying to go off effexor and it’s really hard for her! Even feeling pressure in abdomen and rectim

  31. I am also trying to get off Effexor. I have bern taking it for about 5 years, the past 2 years the 37.5 mg time release version. I am now stepwise reducing the daily dose by splitting 25 mg immediate release pills. Have been doing this now for 6 weeks. Right now I take a quarter of the 25 mg pill a day and am very irritable, permanently tired and feel very often these brain zaps. After reading here all the misery that so many of us are experiencing, I agree with some of you that Effexor should have never made it on the market. At least it should not be applied for extended periods of time. The side effects and withdrawal symptoms are too strong. I am wondering if we should take the initiative to consider suing the companies that sell Effexor or its generics. So often law office specialize in suing Pham companies based on problems with certain drugs. I will look into this, but maybe someone has an idea on who to approach regarding this.

  32. I was on 150mg ER for over a year..decided I wanted to come off…got 75mg that i was supposed to take every other day and a 150 every other day…well, i didn’t…i went almost 3 days w/o anything…then the vertigo was too much, so took a 75 and was able to go another 2.5 days w/o anything…went in to see a doctor, she gave me 37.5mg ER and i took one of those that day…now it’s been almost 4 days w/o anything (so technically, the drug is out of my system) but oooohhhhh so light headed…seeing things like I’m far off from them…I’m just worrying and wondering what I should do. I’ve not followed the weaning plan the doctor gave me, so… since I’m “off” of it, but am having such side effects (driving home today was “fun”)…I don’t want to go back on, just to stop it all, but also don’t want to be this way. I’m a teacher, we’ve got three weeks left of school and then I have a mission trip to Africa for the month of June and other commitments in July…just wonder if I should take it “as needed” to literally maintain my balance and then really try to stop…All my pills are extended release…I’m wishing I’d known to ask for the tablets so I could cut them… so advice? ugh.

    1. Kirsten Pihlaja

      I’ve been completely off for a week now…lessening vertigo…still get the “surges” …those are lessening…i notice when i have caffeine, they increase in number, so cold turkeying it on coming off of caffeine too!

  33. Elaine Degarmo

    Hi, i been on effector for ,many yrs, went for 75mg to 37.5 for yrs.trying to wean myself off i doing every other day…I feel like u have the flu everday. .. this med. Is nasty

  34. I’m 37 years old – was on Effexor for 4 years @ 150mg/day. It’s now day 14 since I’ve taken this poison. I can’t even begin to tell you how horrible I feel. The physical effects are terrible – jolts, vertigo, nausea, etc. The emotional are even worse…Feeling as though my heart’s been broken, that someone has betrayed me, that I’ve lost someone close to me, intense sadness, etc with no cause. I’ve cried everyday for hours for no reason. My mind drifts to painful places that only make things worse. I am seeing my Psychiatrist and primary tomorrow…I don’t know how much more of this I can handle.

  35. Effexor is a terrible drug, a very close family member is taking it, or use to take it. It is awful going off of it. I can relate all the things people are saying, writing here.
    I’m wondering if the people over Pfizer are reading blogs like this and are aware how much pain are they causing. How can a human being contribute to such a dirty cause. I just looked up how much was Pfizer’s last year revenue: $49 billion.
    I assume these evil people who decide to put drugs like these on the market are making way too much money to let it go. If you are one of them think about if it is worthy all that money, to get you another sport car, or a mansion or a whatever to ruin the life of millions of people who take YOUR drugs which shoud have NEVER been made.
    Think about it!

  36. I had been taking Effexor 150mg for 3 years. I planned a 3 month taper schedule. My 3rd month was up last week.
    My withdrawal symptoms have been difficult. Overall my desire to get off this drug supercedes. I have experienced every single one on the list above – in combination – one at a time – some more than others – etc. I feel them less and less everyday and my mental clairty is improving. I do a lot of meditations to deal with my withdrawals. This helps me cope all around and alleviates the urge to run back to the doc to get back on them.
    After being on this drug and tapering off– I do not recommend it. It did help me a lot with my anxiety and depression, but even whilst on the schedule I was reacting so differently to situations. Perhaps not meant for me at all. Either way I wasn’t taking the pill as a cure all. I did have logical, spiritual and physics therapies in conjunction with this med. I have worked very hard to correct my situation as to why I was depressed and anxious. In retrospect I appreciate what the drug has helped me with. Unfortunately, more than once, I felt like I could relate to a hard core heroine user detoxing when withdrawing. On the upside, I fee soooo much better everyday and I feel a bit as if I’m opening my eyes again to a new way of life. I wish everyone the best of luck when working with this medication. The reviews are great to read because a few times I thought I was going mad but I see I’m not alone. Thank you all again!

  37. Mary Garcia

    Hello all,
    I see that everybody is talking about stopping this medicine. I know about the side effects and of course the withdrawal effects. I have been on Effexor XR (75 mg) for 8 years. This year my anxiety and depression were more severe and my doctor bump my Effexor XR to 150! I was scare at first, but, oh what a difference! I am back to my normal self, full of energy and well being. Of course I sweat a lot, but only in the mornings. No other side effects. I asked my doctor before (3 years ago) that I wanted to stop taking Effexor, and he ask me why? He said that most of the time the original causes (depression, anxiety, etc) will eventually come back. He checks my liver (and everything else) every 3 months and the results are good. So I think it is worth it. I balance the side effects with the good feeling I have everyday, and I prefer to keep taking this med. I tried paxil, lexapro, and other things to help my depression and anxiety and nothing helped. I want to explain that depression and anxiety runs in my family. That I have tried other things before with no luck. Every case is different. Good Luck!

  38. I’ve been switched to Effexor from Paxil. I was taking 150 mg of Effexor and now am on 75 mg because I wanted to get myself weaned off of them. I’ve been on 75 mg for about a week now, and I am constantly getting headaches, and now I have been having insomia. Going to see doctor this week, but can’t afford to miss work, and i’m having trouble sleeping throughout the whole night. Any suggestions?

    1. Michelle Aj

      try melatonin its natural in the pharmacy and see if it may help

  39. Michelle Aj

    I have been on this medication for 5 years but anxiety medication for 15 years. I have anxiety and had to start medication due to having tachycardia attacks. I started to work at a Dr office 5 months ago, got a full physical and Dr wanted me to switch to Wellbutrin. 75 mg in morning and 75 in afternoon. I have been off Effexor for 5 days and it has been horrible I cant sleep, I have shakes but the dizziness and off balance is the worse. I have had diarrhea for 4 days and feel nauseous . I was always thin and gained 100 lbs in 15 years on these medications. Turning 50 yesterday I was trying to get myself back in shape for my health. This is the worst medication I have ever tried to stop.

  40. Madelein du Toit

    I am so thankful to have stumbled onto this blog. I started with Venlor (as it’s known in South Africa) in 2011 after a rather severe MS relapse and some personal problems to boot! Our medical insurance does not want to pay for it anymore and I need to make some decisions. This blog has persuaded me to just get off the drug and I thank everybody participating here who has given me the real facts about detoxing from Venlor.

  41. Wow!!! I didn’t realize how bad this drug was if you wanted to withdraw. I actually have been taking it for about five years now and it was prescribed to help with my menopausal symptoms. The most I’ve taken is 37.5 mg. I started to wean myself off of it because I wondered if my weight gain was due to taking this medicine as most antidepressants cause weight gain. I have been cutting my 37.5 mg. pill in half for a couple months now. I have not had any problems yet. I want to try and cut the 37.5 mg. in quarters and see how that goes. However, I will say that if I miss a dose, I can tell because my head feels like it’s “shaking”. I work out six days a week and eat healthy and could not figure out why I had gained almost 50 lbs. over the five years I was taking it. Never dawned on me until I started searching the net and came across this site. I hope I don’t get some of these awful withdrawal symptoms and I feel bad for those of you that have gone through them. Thanks for this site, it’s been very informative. God bless you all 🙂

  42. I was on Effexor XR for around 14 years 75 mgs. Over the past 3 years, I’ve been tapering and last August I finished my last dose, also at a very low dose (maybe 10 beads), although not low enough. I started to feel shaky, anxious, couldn’t sleep and couldn’t concentrate. It was so bad I decided to reinstate at a very small dose, I think 1/4 of 75 mgs. Since November I’ve been tapering this small dose and am now at 4 beads. I’ve had NO w/d symptoms since and plan on tapering this off over the next year to prevent w/d symptoms. I plan on removing 1 bead every 3-4 months and holding for that period and then drop another bead and do the same until I’m down to 1 bead only. I doubt these few beads I’m now on have much of an effect but plan to do this safely and over a protracted period. It’s of no consequence to remain on this very small amount for as long as it takes to guarantee a good outcome. Hopefully, I won’t have discontinuation symptoms after finally taking that 1 bead. To reduce the beads, I start with 4 of the largest (come in various sizes) to the very smallest and then when dropping by 1 bead, take 3 of the largest gradually reducing to the smallest etc… after that. I hope this helps for anyone wishing to taper gradually. Slow and long is key to maintaining good health. There’s nothing worse than those w/d symptoms. Best of luck!

    1. Tracy Thomas

      I have been taking Effexor XR 150 for a few years now. I was bumped up from 75mg. It has taken me this long and from reading this thread, that I can now explain my excessive sweating and weight gain! The sweating is so bad! My insomnia may also be a side effect as well. I take Lunesta and Melatonin and can still stay awake all night. I guess my question is is there another drug to switch to that would help with original problems and with withdrawal? I’ve experienced the brain zaps and vertigo like symptoms when I’ve missed a few doses. I really want off this drug but don’t want my depression and anxiety to go haywire in the process. I’m terrified of having suicidal thoughts, too. I had them from a previous drug and it scared the crap out of me. The sweating really bothers me, very embarrassing, or I wouldn’t have an issue with the drug, well, before I read this! I went to an aquarium last week. I started sweating in the parking lot and it continued throughout the visit, it was a nicely air conditioned building, I just can’t stop sweating once I start. I cut the trip very short because I was drenched. I’m gonna take the leap and see my doctor about stopping. I’m hoping my withdrawal symptoms will be minimal. Thank you to everyone who has posted their story, now I know what I can be up against!

  43. I was on Effexor for about 3 months in combination with existential therapy and meditation as a treatment plan for anxiety. I was reluctant to use meds generally speaking, as the side effects of many anti-depressants used to treat anxiety tend to limit people’s functionality in other ways (reduced or eliminated libido and sexual gratification from orgasm as well as motivation generally speaking, difficulty maintaining erections, social withdrawal, etc., etc., etc.). I finally caved when I was having regular debilitating panic attacks and when my quality of life was dropping below the point where such side effects seemed like a feasible temporary trade off if the meds did what they were supposed to do and help me work through a tough time. My doctor put me on 75mg of Effexor XR as a second attempt at medicating the problem and after a few weeks I bumped it up to 150mg feeling it wasn’t doing enough. I told my doctor that these meds were not the solution to my problems and that they were going to be a temporary aid in working my way to health (read: any med you prescribe me should have a fairly explicit exit strategy). She said that I would be on them for about 6 months. Spending some time working through things with the help of therapy and making some changes in my life I decided I would examine eliminating these meds from my treatment plan. Then I read the horror stories and the ridiculously long titration length associated with this drug. I was absolutely astonished and angered that my doctor wouldn’t have told me these things about the drug (knowing full well that I only intended it for short-term use) when she initially recommended it to me. Considering I’ve worked a distress hotline and am getting my Ph.D. in psychology (not Psychiatry – or I may have known better myself) I used my best judgement and decided to go cold turkey to get it out of my system in the quickest way possible without prolonging horrible side effects over the course of months. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS FOR ANYONE WHO HASN’T CONSULTED THEIR DOCTOR FIRST. I am on day 7 since I quit cold turkey from 150mgs of Effexor and I still get head zaps, cold-sweats, confusion, cloudiness, cardiovascular palpitations / throbbing, tingles in my fingers, sleep paralysis and nightmares, disturbed sleep, nausea, dizziness, acute emotional highs and lows, anxiety and discomfort in loud or busy environments, sleepiness, and a variety of other symptoms. If I knew coming off of this med would be the equivalent of a coke or heroin detox, I would have told my MD right where to stick these meds. I have since dropped my family doctor and am looking for a new one. I am continuing with therapy and meditation and hope to see some improvement over the following two or three weeks. As with many others on this forum, I was never adequately informed prior to being prescribed these drugs. Having experienced Effexor’s tendency to exhibit severe withdrawal symptoms that may preclude people from managing to successfully terminate their use I seriously believe anyone in my (or similar) position consider alternatives prior to this particular medication. What happened to me, I personally believe, is bordering medical malpractice/neglect… It certainly wasn’t ethical. I wish anyone attempting to terminate their use of Effexor a speedy recovery. Just hold it together, be persistent, have a good network of family, friends, and trained professionals (if possible) around to help you through it, know your resources (distress lines, hospitals, etc), and keep in mind everything you’re going through when terminating a med like this is likely to be temporary. Being prepared and knowing I was going to experience a laundry list of symptoms helped me quite a bit before hand. I was ready for the highs and lows… but I still can’t wait for them to end and for me to get back to life as usual.

  44. I’ve been on three different antidepressants. I started taking Effexor in February of this year. I quit cold turkey around 1 month ago. I personally haven’t had any withdrawal symptoms and I honestly feel just as I was while taking Effexor. I have MDD and Generalized anxiety, but I was also on Ativan and Trazedone and decided to stop taking those last month too. I guess I just got lucky?

  45. I just began a taper. Was at 150 for over a year. Gained 30 lbs, no libido, apathetic about everything, caused issues at work. Am taking 112.5 (75+37.5) and am having withdrawal symptoms with that. It’s keeping me from sleeping because I feel like I am going to vomit or have the runs all night. It’s not as bad as forgetting to take it … but is still awful. I wish I knew all of this when my doctor prescribed it. I would have told them anything but this. It was prescribed to help reduce headaches and insomnia.

    1. greenrobin

      I am 8 weeks off of Effexor after having taken it for around 6 years (but on and off anti-depressants for 21). The dizziness has decreased by about 95%. I still cry a lot, am really anxious, and doubt my self-worth a lot. However, what has helped me this time over all the other times I’ve tried to quit is taking massive amounts of vitamins and being on a regimen of aminos. “The Mood Cure” by Julia Ross helped me figure out what to take.

      I pray for all of us who are going through this. DON’T GIVE UP! We are better than this stupid drug. We are all God’s beautiful children and won’t be forsaken. Stay strong.

  46. Hello! I just came across this post today when looking for what happens when you stop taking Effexor. I’ve been on it for 7-8 months, with my doctor bumping the dosage up to 225mg quite quickly because of suicidal thoughts, severe anxiety, and depression. I’ve been on Welbutrin as well, going from 300mg to 150mg recently. Welbutrin is something that I’ve been on for a long, long time, intermittently, and I haven’t found that I suffer any negative side-effects when going off of it.
    Three days ago, I had a very bad situation happen at work, and I have forgotten to take my meds in the mornings for those three days. Today I’m having dizziness and light-headedness. I’ve been feeling pretty not good about Effexor from the time I started taking it, and I read up on it a lot before agreeing to start it. I thought that it would be able to help me, but it’s only dulled things down to the point where I don’t really care if I live or die, as opposed to reactively considering suicide.

    Tl:dr – what I’m wondering is – is there anyone here who has come off Effexor cold-turkey after less than a year of taking the drug? I don’t want to continue taking it. I need a clean cut and I need to do it quickly, otherwise I don’t know how much longer I can keep convincing myself to stay alive. I don’t like who I’ve become on this drug, and I would like the old me back.

    Any advice, help, or anecdotes would really, really help.

  47. Susan Dawson

    I began taking Effexor 14 years ago for hot flashes after showing an article in Prevention magazine to my doctor. Had I known all of the bad about this drug I would have toughed out the flashes. Fortunately I was only taking 37.5 mg so it hasn’t been quite as bad as some that I have read about. On June 20 I switched from the extended release capsule to the immediate release tablet. I stayed on the dose of 37.5 for a week. I was having problems in the evening with dizziness and came across a UK website called clinical depression They have some very good information on tapering off. I began splitting the tablets and taking 1/2 in the morning and the other 1/2 at bedtime. Every Monday I would step down 1/4 of a tablet until I was finally taking 1/4 in the morning and 1/4 at night. The last week I took them I only took 1 per day but began taking it 3 hours later each day until I was taking it at bedtime. Today marks a week since I have taken a dose. I will have to say the week hasn’t been unbearable but it has been a little rough. I have had dizziness when I moved my head too fast and have been having night sweats an hot flashes. I have also been weepy and irritable until today. It is like the sun has come out after a storm. I realized this morning that I am not dizzy and my mental equilibrium seems to have returned. I have done this under my doctor’s care and am fortunate to have a doctor who will spend as much time with a patient as is needed so I feel that his encouragement was a boost during the tapering process. He said he never would prescribe this drug due to the side effects and difficulty getting off of it. For those of you who are struggling take it very slowly and if the symptoms become too much move back up to the previous dose. I am a flight attendant and was concerned about having to get through this while flying plus I fly overseas so I lose at least one night’s sleep per week-more if I fly more. It wasn’t a walk in the park but I found if I just took it slowly I was ok. I did experience some cognitive loss in that I would be loading our ovens with meal choices and then I would find I had put an incorrect amount of one thing or another into the oven-causing a problem when it was time to serve them. This was very temporary and I started double checking my self in every thing that I did. I am now back at the gym on every day off and have my energy and mental alertness back.
    I know that there are some who suggest staying on the Er and removing beads as a taper but having just celebrated my 1st Effexor free week I can’t imagine trying to keep up with the number of beads removed and when to take out more-especially given the mental fog that sometimes settled over my brain. For me this was the best process and I was able to stand firm and keep going.
    Good luck to those who are struggling. I will say to you that you can get thru it but it can be discouraging at times. I considered going back to a small dose last week but stayed resolute and am so glad I did. Hang in there and you will be on the other side of the taper and celebrating your life once more.

  48. I had been on Venlafaxine for a number of years but felt it was time to get off since I don’t feel I need it. I weaned myself down to the 25mg tablet and then halved that for a couple of weeks. My doctor put me on Prozac because the side effects of my getting off of even the 12.5 mg were too great. It has been 3 weeks with no Venlafaxine and on Prozac. I am still having lightheadedness and dizziness especially when I exercise. Any idea how long these symptoms last. I plan on weaning off of the Prozac as soon as I can. I don’t know if symptoms are from Prozac or getting off of the Venlafaxine.

  49. I believe after taking 225mg of Effexor XR (Venlafaxadine) for over a decade many people could be managed by taking the occasional Xanax (Alprazolam) when needed. I tapered for 18 months and went through every single one of the mild and major withdrawal symptoms during that time. I finally got down to taking 12.5mg of the short acting Effexor then quit but still needed the occasional Alprazolam and still do on occasion. I get #30 at time and I refill the medication about every 6-8 months which means I should not get addicted. The medication does work in the initial phase but I would hate to be someone who had to abruptly stop taking it. I don’t think I would have made it if I had to quit cold turkey. It’s the only medication I have ever taken long term in my life fortunately and I am almost 60 now.

  50. Shirley Rierson

    Let me just say, I have been on Effexor XR then to veneflaxine and have been taking 300 mg. started out 15 years ago at 75mg. daily. I knew I was all of a sudden feeling worse about life issues rather than better.I went to a holistic MD.and I really think SHE is why I have been having a success with my withdrawal from this DEVIL of a medication. I tapered off myself before going to her,by taking half what I normally took every other day for 3 weeks then knowing what I wanted to do she then gave me a medication that would ease my withdrawal symptoms.She has given me blood work up and has given me natural supplements ,such as vitamin D ,probiotics for intestinal strength ,wonderful energy giving daily vitamins ,moral support and I pray and lean on the Lord for the REAL help.I am having GREAT success .Hope this helps someone out there.Dont give up.

  51. OMG I was originally prescribed effexor for severe hot flashes and although I still got the hot flashes being on the this medication made them tolerable and me somewhat numb to having them. 2 years later I decided to take myself off the effexor and just deal with the hot flashes because I am totally against taking a drug if it doesn’t do the job it was diagnosed for. I am in day 3 and I think I am dying….. I have blurred vision, nausea, I feel like my brain is not functioning, I cannot sleep, my heart feels heavy and I have a very upset stomach. I have just read these symptoms could continue for several months and am now struggling with whether or not this is worth it. Is this what a junkie feels like when they are in rehab and if it is god help me. Reading these posts gives me hope that I can do this and that I am not crazy despite the fact I feel I may be. I will never ever go on this drug again and would caution people to really think twice before taking it.

  52. Hi
    I am an Australian. At one point I was on 338 mg of Effexor. was very suicidal. Cure worse than the disease. Side effects reduced to 150 over 2 years then went cold turkey . Totally lost the plot. Dr talked me into Pristiqe which is basically the same drug.How stupid was I? I feel I have had 10 years of my life in a fog of anxiety and unhappiness whilst trying to work full time and pretend I am coping.I like many others have cut it once again from 100mg which is equivalent to 150 effexor to 50mg. its been 6 weeks. Some days I can almost think straight, but then the next I can hardly stay awake or think at all. My business is financially a wreck the only bright point is I have a new and amazingly supportive partner who sees ‘me’ under all the emotional chaos. I needed to find out who I was as I really don’t remember any more. My memory is so very bad now. I could get paranoid about the things people tell me I have said and done that I don’t remember. Not bad things, just life experiences that as far as I am concerned never happened. Its like being in a bad psychological thriller about identity theft. I am a glass artist and a reasonably good one but this drug kills creativity along with your passion for life…your passion full stop. Numbing the ‘pain’ just ended up just numbing my life.I know this is going to be a long haul but I need to straighten out my brain again or life really will not be worth enduring. I am 57. I feel like a coma patient who has started to awaken in an older womans body.Shit happens…. I shall try and remember to repert back occasionally to add context to my experience. cheers SS

  53. I’ve been on 150 xr for 10 years at least. Just started with 75 xr to wean off. Been on the 75 xr for 1 1/2 week now and after discovering this site, I now know what the heck is happening to me! I have a great fear of falling asleep, sweating like crazy, so sad, no desire to even get out of bed, let alone get out of my pjs, etc… in a month i go down to 35 xr for a month then i go free and clear. Lord help me.

  54. I took Effexor XR for 4-5 months. I had slowly went from 150 milligrams down to 75 then took 37.5 for approximately 3 weeks. My doctor decided to take me off of Effexor completely. A Tuesday was the last day I took it. Wednesday night/Thursday morning, I had my first withdraw symptoms. I woke up from a bad dream with a headache, my chest hurting, abdominal pain, and felt as if I were having a panic attack. Then, in about 5 minutes, my whole body started to hurt. I went to the ER because I did not know what was wrong. The Emergency Room doctor did a EKG and chest x-rays. He said that everything looked normal so they sent me home. . .Wednesday, I was passing blood from my anus, was lightheaded, cramps, and a horrible headache. I had to go back to the ER because I knew these symptoms could not be normal. They took a urine sample, CT scan, drew blood, pelvic exam, EKG and once again determined that nothing was wrong. Thursday, I spent all day pretty much lightheaded with a headache. I had currently been being agitated with my husband, and very irritable. I felt like the light was making my headache worse. I had a hard time sleeping. I just decided that I would give it all day to see if it would be gone in the morning. Friday, I scheduled a doctors appointment for Tuesday, it was the earliest that was available. By Friday afternoon, I could not take it anymore. I called the doctor’s office back and was informed that they and a urgent care office available. I had to get a ride because I was very dizzy, my eyes would not focus (everything would go blurry and give me worse of a headache). The doctor told me that I had a migraine and gave me a shot of Tramadol and Fenagren. My headache got slightly better but I was still very lightheaded. I felt like if I looked to the side one way or the other something was pulling on my eye sockets. I got sent home. I cried myself to sleep that night. Today is Saturday and I am still having a lot of these symptoms. I checked the symptoms for withdrawl from Effexor and have experienced like 15 of the 20 symptoms. I know now that this has been the problem the whole time; I am having withdrawls. I still feel really bad and would appreciate any advice on this.

  55. I am horrified and so sad reading everyone’s comments. I’m very sensitive to medications and have experienced most of what you are going through. I have been taking venlafaxine 37.5, 1 per day for two years. It was prescribed to me for menopause symptoms which helped but certainly not worth it. I cannot imagine any of you going cold turkey. Please do not punish yourself like that. If I accidentally missed one day of this pill, it was hell. But way better than accidentally taking two in a day (1 in am and 1 in pm). then I’d have to sit in the bathroom at work with a garbled mind, horrible headache, brain zaps, nausea, vertigo, dizzy, could barely walk and could not drive home. My Dr. has given me this plan to get off this pill: Was taking 1 capsule a day 37.5 for 2 years. Now I am taking 1 tablet a day 25mg for 14 days, then 1/2 tablet for 14 days, and then the 1/2 tablet every other day for one week. Then stop. Today is Day 4. I still have twinges in my head, dizzy, vertigo, nausea and more…. but not that bad in comparison. I hope and pray that half of my brain cells come back. I can’t remember so many things. I think of all you and wish you the best. Take it slow and we will all beat this.

    1. I’ve been on 225mg XR for the last 2 yrs, prior 275mg for 1yr, 300mg for 1yr & 375mg for 2yrs…seems it’s going to be a long slow process as a full time working single mum of a 7yr old I’m not able to take the down time to do it with side effects.
      Slowing moving to next phase, last year was crap with having to move house so reducing was not an option. Good luck to everyone on their challenging journey

  56. Ive been taking venlaxfaxine for 9 years. I started off on the highest dose and over the years have managed to get down to 37.5mg. I am happy with progress but I honestly can’t go any further. My body just needs the stuff I lasted 5 days before admitting myself to hospital as I couldn’t deal with the brain zaps. DO NOT miss a dose, I want to write more infact I could right a bloody novel about this drug but im tired and done.


  57. I am so relieved to see other experience the same pain I go through with effexor. I take 225 mg of venlafaxine HCL aka effexor. If I miss two doses, I wake up drenched in so much sweat and from intense from nightmares, so much so I think I have wet the bed. I fall back asleep for another hour and the horrible night terrors will continue and so does the profuse sweating.

    When I finally can get out of bed, I am in so much physical pain its hard not to cry, it’s hard to even stand. I feel like my body is vibrating with pins and needles, and that my hands and feet are throbbing in pain. I eventually become incredible nauseous, dizzy, shaky, confusing, as if I have a wind tunnel in my brain.

    Today, I took my last pill. I have called the pharmacy and trying to refill ASAP but I’m not sure when I will get the new meds. Now I am freaking out. I have already run out of my other meds too, which are causing me to have a headache and stomach pain.

    Does anyone have any homeopathic remedies? Baths? Supplements? Anything to recommend that I can try until i receive this months Rx.

    1. Hi I’ve taken my last Effexor 37.5 four days ago. I had been weaning of gradually for about six weeks now. At times it has been difficult to say the least. But my determination to get of them and move forward in my life . Has got me through it. They were good for me , to get get me through the trauma, as I was badly assaulted . And avantually l got ptsd. I had all the withdrawal symptoms Mentioned. But taking it slow and being mindful that these symptoms will pass. And that I won’t die has helped. Insomnia is the main side affect I’m getting at the moment. All I can say is that. Pills can’t remove the underlying problem , but rather they just mask it. I think that we we’re born to have the freedom or choice , I didn’t choose to be assaulted , but I can choose how I want to be, and that is someone that is happy . Hope this may help you.
      Cheers Steve.

  58. I am currently withdrawing from this drug. I have done it gradually. Awful withdrawls. Dizzy, sick etc. Keep your sugar levels high. Drink lots of water. Keep active. This drug should come with a warning sign. I previously was on mitazapine for anxiety, depression . After my experience of being on veneflexine for the last several months im going back to mitazapine. I lost lots of my hair and the veneflexine caused me insomnia. If your doctor or anyone in the mental health services pescribes you this drug think twice. Good luck x


    No other medication has ever helped me as much as Effexor XR. I take 300mg a day. I have had to quit taking it previously due to finances, but I have now managed to get back on it; I have no doubt that I will need it the rest of my life if I want to manage my severe anxiety disorder.

    My mistake was not getting it filled in a timely fashion through my required pharmacy mail order. I have been without the medication for about a week and I seriously feel like I am going to die. The worst part is extreme dizziness and random PROFUSE full body sweating. In addition, I have had the most disturbing dreams that haunt me daily. Another side effect I have been experiencing when I go to bed is an inability to breath sufficiently. It is kind of a claustrophobic feeling…….I become so panicked that I have considered calling an ambulance. I would have to say that this is the absolute worst and most frightening thing I have experienced.

    I received a message today that my medication will ship on Monday, 10/24/16. My advice to anyone wanting to stop this medication…….do it with the help of your doctor. I can’t begin to believe that suddenly stopping this medication could in any way be healthy. My entire body (and thought process or lack of in this case) is in a severe STATE OF SHOCK!!!!!!!

  60. Hannah j

    I have been on venlaflaxin for 2 1/2 years for anxiety and depression. Being on the medicine has made me numb to the world, gain alot of weight and no sex drive ( extremely depressing for a 28 year old.) So i decided to talk to my doc about getting off of it….. ive been on 75 mg, she changed the dosage to 37.5 mg. Im on day two of tapering off and im experiencing diarrea , dizzyness and aweful crying over nothing! How long does it take to be over it completely?? Im also curious about the ashwanda… anyone have any experience with it after this devil drug?

  61. I am 58 years old and was prescribed Effexor-venlafaxine about 14-15 years ago due to menopause, depression and anxiety. I am diminishing the prescription dosage since February of this year. Over the nine month period I have lost or in the process of losing everything wonderful and dear to me including my two talented and wonderful sons, two precious daughter-in-laws, my three kind siblings, several close girlfriends, my dear and supportive husband and my first sweet grandchild who is 4 months old, myself, and my relationship with God. Everything I hold close to my heart is or has disappeared in my life. I am not the “me” I was at years ago. Now I am without life-hateful, cold, empty, mean, and bitter due to one drug. I take 1/2 of 37.5 of that medication every other day at the present. I was at the largest dosage which could be taken by anyone. No one wants to be around me. I have not seen my grandson four weeks now due to crude remarks and accusations I babbled on and on about to his precious mother. I am lifeless, and limp. I continue to have all of the symptoms daily. Today I feel failure and am hopeless. I lack energy and drive. No one wants to be around me. I understand. Hopefully I will feel better soon. My counselor and doctor are good. But I am not. Venlafaxine, please get out of my body. Urgently needing prayers. Thank you.

    1. Taylor, my heart goes out to you. I believe I can attribute many losses to this drug as well! Please don’t give up. And please believe in yourself to make things right with your family. There have been plenty of others that have thought they did irreparable damage to their relationships, and none of us are beyond making mistakes that seem hopeless, I know this personally. You need those, or even one person, that will stand beside you through this, someone you aren’t ashamed to tell all of your story to. If they try and fix you or fix your situation, they probably aren’t a safe person to rely upon. Keep working on getting through this. I am praying for you.

  62. I had been taking Effexor ER 150 for at least ten years – for the same reasons as many of you – severe depression, hot flashes, anxiety. I was taking other things too – Xanax to sleep, pain meds for sciatica.

    I decided that I wanted stop taking so many drugs. I was about to turn sixty, which is shocking to me. Nobody expects to get old. I stopped taking two kinds of pain medication three months ago. I thought I was going to be very sick from withdrawal. I had enormous fear and shame that I was an addict, and a bad person for taking them. You can’t imagine how much guilt I had. I took them for pain, but somewhere I knew I liked the way I felt when I took them. I was more confident, less anxious, and the tedious parts of life were made more tolerable. Anyway, I stopped cold turkey and it didn’t bother me. I felt shaky for a couple of days, but there was no withdrawal. None. In fact, I haven’t really thought about them since.

    I decided that I wanted to stop the Effexor too. Why not, right? I was excited about getting off the Pharma-go-round. I waited about a month, just to be sure that I felt “normal” after stopping the painkillers.

    I had no idea that stopping Effexor was going to become such a horrible nightmare. It never occurred to me that the antidepressant was the “addiction.”

    I worried for years about being addicted to painkillers. Painkillers were my dirty little secret and I was so ashamed that I took them. In fact, though, I wasn’t actually “abusing” painkillers. I never took as many as I was prescribed.

    Instead, I now realize that Effexor was the damaging and terrifying drug! I assumed, like an idiot, that anti-depressents were “okay” to take. That they wouldn’t harm me, and that they would help my depression. I bought in without even questioning my doctors. I never even researched what I was taking! I was depressed, and the doctor recommended it, and I took it. For ten years!! I had no idea that stopping it was going to cause such debilitating withdrawal. I went from 150 mg to 75 mg. Horrible side effects – just like everyone is reporting.

    After about three weeks, I felt somewhat stabilized and it was time to make another cut. I cut back to 37.5 mg and spent another couple of lousy weeks until I felt a bit stabilized again. I was determined (and still am – though somewhat exhausted and freaked out). Eight days ago, I stopped completely. It isn’t until stopping them completely, that the withdrawal gets insane. I feel awful – the same kinds of things that you are all describing. I still take Xanax (1 mg) and two Tylenol PMs to sleep. I sleep about five hours at most, and wake up sweating. Terrible nightmares. I am dizzy. I get brain zaps. I can’t put sentences together, my memory is shot, my vision is blurry. My mouth feels full of marbles and I think my speech is garbled sometimes. I have relentless headaches. I feel anxious and weird. I teach at a university and it requires me to be articulate and insightful, and I can barely grunt. I make no sense and my students are freaked out by it. They are retreating from me. My social skills have always been problematic or maybe they became worse BECAUSE of the Effexor. In the last decade of taking Effexor, I became much more reclusive – almost agoraphobic.

    Also, and this will surprise some of you – I can’t stop eating. I’ve gained ten pounds since I began to cut down on Effexor.

    I am not going to take them anymore – no matter what. I plan to persevere. But I am panicky about what I am reading on multiple forums, about the acute withdrawal effects of Effexor lasting a year or more. Some people are reporting side effects for multiple years! No one knows if being off of them will allow our neurotransmitters to go back to “normal.” I don’t think I can continue to teach if I can’t put sentences together or function. I am hoping someone out here can give me a success story. I need to hear that someone got off of these evil pills and had their lives enhanced because of it. Help!

  63. I took Effexor XR for 6 to 8 weeks and had horrible memory problems that I am still recovering from
    I highly suggest people reconsider and take another anxiety medication. Scariest time of my life.

  64. Alexander

    Just four weeks after starting on an Effexor generic I’ve decided to quit it. Will be tapering off from 75mg by removing twenty “beads” from the capsules each day until empty. Reading these horror stories I’m glad to be doing it now rather than later. As a fit 26 year old man, the possibility of weight gain and loss of libido terrifies me. I see depression as a symptom more than a disease. Whether it’s a symptom of chemical imbalance, trauma or a life situation you’re currently in that you need to change. For me it’s definitely been the “life situation” this year.

    Also discovered that I have an underactive thyroid, which is likely contributing to my depression and general lack of interest in most things. Will be focusing on and medicating that rather.

  65. I am tapering off 75mg of Effexor XR. I am surprised so many of you are stopping it cold turkey. It is such an assault on your nervous system. I have been tapering for 12 weeks, and it will be another 8 before I’m off it totally. I set up my pills for the week. I open my capsules and remove some granules. I am keeping a chart of how many I remove. Look up the ten percent reduction method. I have not had any withdrawal symptoms. It will take a while, but I feel powerful that I will not let this drug ruin or hurt my brain and nervous system any longer. Good Luck everyone!

  66. Years ago I was on Cymbalta, a chemically close cousin to Venlafaxine (Effexor) which I’m on now. Tapering off of Cymbalta was HELL ON EARTH, I never felt so close to taking my own life, ever. When my current MD suggested Venlafaxine I resisted, big time – although in the interest of full disclosure, I had tried so many drugs, and none had really worked so I agreed.

    I’m now contemplating coming off Venlafaxine but I know all too well what can and will happen…but my suggestion is this: When I was coming off of Cymbalta (again very closely related) I took a combination of calcium/magnesium every day, and I will tell you what, the combination of those two elements absolutely soothed my CNS (central nervous system) and it made ALL the difference withdrawing off that horrific drug. And when I do start coming off of Venlafaxine, I plan to do the same thing.

    I hope this helps someone – I have been there, it’s hell, I don’t ever want to go back there again.

    1. I agree that Calcium and Magnesium help. Also, Omega 3 and a B complex. I also take a epsom salt bath almost nightly (which has magnesium in it).

  67. I have been on Effexor XR for 20 years. 8 months ago I was on 225 mg/day, and gradually began tapering off. I am now taking the pellets from 75 mg/day and putting them in a small dish and dividing them to 5 pellets each and taking them with a teaspoon of applesauce throughout the day until gone. Yes I have have had side affects galore while tapering off: Nausea, dizziness, brain zaps, extreme fatigue, sadness, depression, impatience, diarrhea, aching all over, and more, but I am beginning to find relief from these additions to my diet and lifestyle that I believe are helping me little by little each day, and also I believe is keeping from doing anything drastic:
    Daily I take 2 capsules of B12 Complex (morning only, because it keeps me awake at night), 2 tablets of 1000 mg Calcium-Magnesium-Zinc in morning and evening (taking it again in evening helps me to not have restless legs), every 4 hours during the daytime I take 2 1000 mg capsules of Omega 3-6-9 (this really helps with the brain zaps and brain fog), and 1 Dramamine tablet (when I feel especially dizzy), one Multi-vitamin (I take a women’s “petite” one-a-day). Some people take Benadryl for the brain zaps and dizziness, and I got a children’s liquid Benadryl as it was recommended by another. I found that it helps with going sleep at night and dizziness during the day, but it affects my existing problem with restless leg syndrome, so I discontinued it. Now, for the most important things I do to help my tapering off, walking for long distances (adding weight lifting to that soon), listening to positive music while walking, and praying a lot.
    Let me just say this, each day tends to be different for me. This drug has actually wreaked havoc on my life. I can’t even tell you the details of that. But I am determined to “feel” again, and to care about life like I should be doing.
    If you are on a small dose of this, and/or just started, get off of it with help from a doctor immediately! I can only pray that I have not permanently damaged my brain and body!

    1. Thank you for your post. I am currently trying to taper myself off of Effexor XR after being on it for 19 years. I have been enduring daily headaches, sweats, sleep issues, brain fog, severe mood swings, anxiety and irritability. I recently ruined a relationship with a good friend and realized my behavior has been nothing short of crazy lately. I never even thought about my Effexor causing withdrawal symptoms. I thought I was doing a good thing coming off chemicals. At least I know I’m not alone now.

  68. I do not see my previous post about what I am doing to stop Effexor. Perhaps it has not been moderated yet. Anyway, I am fortunate to have some time off to continue weaning off of the Effexor XR. Unfortunately, I have no insurance to get the regular Effexor for splitting; therefore, I have to count out the beads. What a pain. I take 1/2 beads out of each capsule each day now. I worked my way up 15 years ago to 325 mg. Then I went to 225 mg for about 5 years, then 150 mg. for about 2 years, and 75 mg for 6 months. Now for the past 2 months I have been taking half the pellets from a 75 mg XR a day. The most prominent side effects I have are nausea and vertigo, crying, sadness, and impatience, and fatigue. I have taken dramamine for vertigo and nausea, but it makes me very tired, so no driving for me. I am going to see if I can find Gravol for nausea. I also take Omega 3, calcium/magnesium/zinc, a B complex, and a multi vitamin. I keep whole grain saltine crackers with me all the time. I also drink ginger ale occasionally for the nausea. I have no craving or desire for coffee any longer (some people say this exacerbates the symptoms of withdrawal). I have found some relief from extra protein as well. Some people drink a whey protein shake daily, but I am not spending that kind of money on the powder, so I just try and keep some protein in my system, like a slice of turkey, egg white, cottage cheese, etc.
    Also, I make myself get out and walk for miles on end. Now it’s raining like crazy, so I will get out the boots and umbrella and do it anyway. You have to get some exercise in for the serotonin and sunshine!
    I am job searching, but dreading the interviews that will be scheduled. I have very little positivity that is needed to sit in interviews and sell myself.
    Truthfully, I do feel more clarity than I have had for many years. I am not sure how I even remembered my name on 300 mg of Effexor XR.
    Please hang on tight to get off of this. I’m really praying for all of you.

    1. Your posts are live now, sorry for the delay.
      Thank you for sharing your story.

      1. Oh, No worries. It doesn’t look like there have been many recent posts, but you never know who it helps that doesn’t post. Thank you for being the admin.

      2. Day #7. This blog is giving me hope that I will be able to wean off completely. Breast Cancer treatments gave me menopause and Effexor was prescribed to treat the severe medically- induced hot flashes and depression symptoms that were starting to surface due to chemo, mastectomy, etc…. I will NEVER take this drug again. The withdrawal symptoms are horrific.

  69. I just noticed a few other side effects I have been having as I detox from this junk. If I hear a song for even a moment I cannot stop that song from going through my head over and over again. The only way it will stop is to listen to something else, thus that song then will go over and over… Also, while I was driving today, (and this has happened more than once) I had a jolt of something I can only explain as being like my head and vision were two plates that are together at one time and then suddenly slide in opposite directions for a split second. It wasn’t like being dizzy or having vertigo, it just felt like I was briefly outside of my head. If it continued I would not drive at all. Weird, I know, but I do not know how else to explain it. I only share these “little” things here because I want let people understand that there are many symptoms of withdrawal off of this drug. It has helped me immensely to read about other side effects of withdrawal.
    Some positives I have noticed are that I no longer clench my jaw and teeth like a vice, and I don’t have a tense feeling like I used to in my shoulders and face. A while back my doctor gave me Wellbutrin to “relax” the tenseness I felt. It helped a little, but I didn’t want to up the dosage on that. I have not taken Wellbutrin for about 6 months.

    1. @Jaclyn – I noticed too that I am not clenching my jaw as much. The withdrawal side effects are unbearable.

      1. I feel for you Ande. Hold the course. It gets better little by little. I notice little things like being more interested in organizing things that I had let go for so long. Also today I didn’t have a song going over and over in my head. However, I have the brain zaps a little more today than the last few days, since I am cutting back a little more each week on the Effexor. This will taper off, from my experience. Try to get out and get some exercise, if you do not already. Take the vitamins and minerals that I recommended above. Do not give up. It is becoming more and more worth it for me.

  70. Thanks for posting this page so happy to see this and sad too cause i know how you all feel cant believe so many people feel exactly how i am right not its such a struggle if you miss even 1 dose the brain zaps start almost like the brain is in slow motion when the eyes move,,i started this medication 3 years ago my doctor put me on 75mg once per day after i went through a bad break up and a life change i went from 12 stones to 16 stones i have dieted and been working out and i have seen no change since i gained the weight and its stuck on me i havent had a boyfriend or a social life i dont go out anymore because i feel horrible since i went on these altho they have kept me calm and got me through the hard times they are like a ball and chain im always so tired and almost dazed i know this is not how i really am and i actully miss my old self when the emotions where real i had feeling iv realized a pill isnt going to fix my life ,,this year i went bk to college i qualified as a beauty therapist and i was able to do things for myself i never thought id do and i think the effexor did help me but iv recently started training in the gym and started some cbt sessions to help me with the real issues iv never dealt with,,im starting by taking 1 pill every other day for a few weeks and then hopefully every other 2 days ect until i come off these,,if anyone is reading this and your thinking of going on them,, DONT do it there are so many other ways to deal with lifes fuck overs i just wish someone had of told me at the time now im stuck in a rutt hopefully il be out of it soon il keep watching this page while im sick as a dog i reckon herion withdrawl is easier at least i know im not alone x

  71. I am currently taking 300mg and I am planning to start tapering off when i go in for my next appointment. Reading about all the difficulty you all are having is somewhat disheartening but getting off seems to be the best course of action. I really appreciate all the information on supplements etc. to ease the symptoms. I was so bad off when I started taking them i didn’t even look into the side effects, at lease i’m not that desperate anymore. I had tried other antidepressants which didn’t help with the sadness but these withdrawal side effects seem as debilitating as the depression. I’m so grateful my to God that you are all willing to share your struggles so I could find the help i need.

  72. I’ve been taking this medication for a year now , and my hair is falling out like crazy and breaking off !!
    I’ve been taking it for anxiety attacks which started at 45 years old .
    I want to get off of it because I don’t want my hair to fall out anymore but I’m also scared shitless that the anxiety attacks will show up again.
    I am on 225mg a day and 1 clonazapam, just last night I took 1 pill away and started to take only 150mg at night I am hoping everything works out ?

  73. I was taking venlafaxine for almost 4 years. I knew when I would go off this medication that my body would not respond very well, as even missing one dose by a couple of hours, I would feel ridiculous!

    I stopped taking 37.5g 5weeks ago. The first 2weeka were horrendous! Hot and cold sweats, really bad insomnia, headaches, fatigue, massive mood swings, crying spells, blurred vision etc.
    Things seemed to get better as I commenced work for the year. I have been eating healthy and exercising with my own personal trainer. Could have been feeling any better. Apart from ‘reaching my limit’ around 8pm and snapping at the smallest things.

    Last thurs, I started feeling ‘off’ driving to work. I managed to get thru the first hour of work but then I stared to feel very ‘off’. I thought I was getting a migraine – nauseous, dizzy, lightheaded, vague, unable to concentrate. I was driven home by two colleagues and rested for the remainder of the day.
    On Friday, I felt no better and usually when I get a migraine I can’t handle the ‘light’ and I never really got the massive piercing headache. So I went to the doctors. Explained my situation & she believed it was a viral thing that’s been going around. However I am still feeling basically the same – very dizzy, lightheaded, vague, no concentration etc – and my bloods came back fine.

    Could this still be associated with coming off venlafaxine?? I can’t handle this anymore. I need to work but haven’t been all week and now will not be going Thursday/Friday – as I still feel terrible. I am a high teacher and need to be switched on to few with the 100 personalities I endure throughout one day.

  74. I was only on Effexor for a couple of months. I can’t imagine years on it. My doctor gave this to me for hot flashes from stopping hormones. Those symptoms were a piece of cake compared to what I’ve gone through in just a short time. I’ve been cutting down the dose. I began at 37.5 and she raised it to 75 which didn’t go well at all. To get off she took it back down to 37.5 for a week and then every other day for a week. I had so many of the side effects it was awful. But now that I’ve been without any dose for 5 days I’m light headed, lethargic, feel like I’m drunk, brain zaps, alternating between high & low blood pressure, extremely hot and then freezing, vision changes and I’ve gained 10 pounds in that short a time. I’ll suffer through because I want this out of my system as soon as possible. I’ve always been a very healthy person and this is totally opposite. It makes me feel like there is so much more to go wrong. They should take this off the market. Had I been told of the possible effects of this med I would never have taken it in the first place.

  75. Agratefulstranger

    Thank you so much for all the information! I am not personally affected by this horrible drug but my partner is… she has been taking it for 2 years now due to Depression and anxiety. She started with 75mg and has been on 150mg for 6 months now… she has been having many memory losses even though shes been taking them as prescribed. She usually takes her pill at 10am but if ever she has the misfortune of forgetting to take it for 1 hour or more she goes through major side effects for many hours even though she has it in her system when realizing she forgot to take it…. It is extremely discouraging to hear all the hardship that everyone has gone through to wean off of this disgusting pill… but atleast now I know what we are up against and will be able to understand and be patient as we go through this process.

    I really do not understand how doctors are still prescribing this so freely and not making sure that theyre patients are well informed about all the nasty effects you will suffer during treatment and when you decide to wean off of it. I am really sorry to hear all the suffering this pill has caused to all of you and truely hope you make it out! I cant imagine how hard it must be! Good luck to all of you!

  76. I just renewed my monthly script for the first time since being prescribed for migraines. I haven’t had any headaches in a month but after finding this post I’m going to stop before I get in any deeper. Thank you all for your honesty and best of luck.

  77. I am getting off Effexor right now. I have been it on again since 2013 after a breakdown when I was on no medication. Before that, I was on Effexor for 8 years. I am slowly getting off of it. I was at 225 mg and have now lowered to 150 mg for a month, then to 75 mg for a month and finally to 37.5 mg for month. I have 2 reason to get off of it. 1) My boyfriend and I are thinking of having a child together as long as my body can handle it physically and 2) I have gone through a lot of therapy since 2013 and I have learned a lot more about myself and found myself. I do get the negative thoughts and just catch myself and say “Why”. It helps my brain get back on track. The other withdrawals I am having is the headaches, increased anxiety and wanting to cry. At least reading this article again, I know that these are withdrawal symptoms. I am on my way out. I do need to get more active again. I especially will after tax season since I am an Accountant that sub-contracts at a public accounting firm and have my own public accounting firm. Busy times, but will worth it. 🙂

  78. I was put on generic Effexor XR (Venlafaxine HCl ER) two months ago after a suicide attempt for moderate-severe MDD and mild GAD and was initially prescribed the lowest dose (37.5mg). When that seemed to be working somewhat well, my doctor increased my dose to 75mg. Within 24 hours I began to feel worse physically, I noticed that my negative thoughts had become more severe, and my pupils were almost fully dilated. I then called my doctor who instructed me to go back down to the 37.5mg immediately. It’s been a few weeks since then and she is now taking me off of the generic Effexor and starting me on Trintellix and the last four days have been absolutely MISERABLE. I was sweating buckets, experiencing severe dizzy spells, and feeling drunk/disoriented for the first three/four days. Those symptoms have mostly subsided, but my head, neck, and back ache constantly. Kudos to those who had to taper down from a much higher dose. My doctor attributes the severity of my discontinuation symptoms to the amount of sensitivity I have with the medication. I definitely wish I would’ve been much better informed of how terrible the side effects and withdrawal symptoms are with Effexor. The doctor who prescribed it to me is not the doctor I am currently seeing for my mental health issues, but he assured me when he introduced the idea to me that it was very low-risk and had very little side effects–I beg to differ! I now see a nurse practitioner with a mental health certification and I am far more comfortable with her than I was with the original prescribing doctor.

    1. Stephanie P

      Have your symptoms subsided by now, Sara? I hope that things are looking up for you.

  79. Thanks to all in this email string! Since I was laid off in January, 2017, I decided this would be the best time to wean myself off Effexor since I’ve been on it for over 10 years. I consulted with my doctor and decided to take my own aggressive approach not realizing the serious repercussions. I was at 150mg/day (2 75mg tablets) and cut it in half to 75mg/day and felt okay. After 2 weeks, I cut the 75mg/day dosage in half to 37.5mg/day and still felt okay (I cut 75mg tablet in half). I also felt like I was “waking up” after being medicated for so long. After 3 weeks, I cut the dosage in half again by taking a half tablet every other day. This is when I started to really feel ALL OF THE NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS with uncontrollable crying, nausea, vertigo… After 1 week, I finally called my doctor for help realizing that I cannot withstand another day of crying over nothing and feeling dead inside! Learn from me and follow your doctor’s advice in weaning. I could hardly get through one sentence with the nurse today without balling my eyes out……..Good luck.

  80. Stephanie P

    I just started this med 5 days ago, and had weird side effects. I’m getting off now, especially since I read all these warnings on this post. I notice that many of these comments are from people using Effexor long-term. Has anyone just tried it and realized it was bad and tried to get off of it right away? I took 37.5 mg 3x daily, and I stopped about 19 hours ago. So far I feel shaky and have a headache. I felt unreal last night around 3 AM, but I have been taking the advice and taking vitamin b complex, krill oil (omega 3) and magnesium as well as Advil every 4 hours. Side effects still there, but not too horrible. I want to thank all of you for your warnings and words of encouragement. I think you all stopped me from making a huge mistake by giving this drug a chance and waiting out the weird side effects. Hopefully not too much of this drug is in my system, and hopefully my brain hasn’t permanently been rewired weird.

  81. I’ve been on Effexor XL for about ten years now. I have decided that I want to come off them in the past. I once stopped abruptly from 150mg to zero overnight and suffered severe withdrawal symptoms, most noticeably the “zap” or “jolts” or “electrical shocks” feeling in my head, especially when I move my eyes to either side. I then went back on them at a lower dose of 75 mg. I have recently decided to come off them again but this time I decided to taper off. I took my 75 mg prescription and got it in 37.5 mg tablets. I cut my dose in half for about a month, no side effects. Then for two weeks I cut the dose in half again by throwing out roughly half the granules in each capsule. Again, no side effects. Then I cut my dose to approximately 20 granules by pouring some onto a teaspoon and putting them back into the capsule (no need to be exactly 20 capsules, I’m talking about 17, 18, 19, 20, ish). Then I halved my dose again to 10 granules for a week, now I am on 5 granules for the last few days. Today I tried zero Effexor and had some very slight sensations behind my eyes. So I am going to stick with 5 or so granules and then cut down to zero. Hopefully all will be ok with a bit more time.

    By the way I thought the counting of granules would be a pain but its actually fine, I just do it in the morning while I am boiling the kettle and making some porridge. I think its much easier than switching to the immediate release tablets and buying pill cutters etc. You can even sit down and prepare a week’s worth of capsules at a time and just leave them in a container for yourself to take each day.

    Anyway, still not at zero dose yet but I can see myself achieving it within the next couple of weeks. Hang in there we can get off this terrible medication. I will actively discourage anyone from taking this med in the future. One of the older generation SSRIs like fluoxetine (Prozac) that are longer acting would not produce such terrible “discontinuation” effects (as Pharma like to call it, I call it painful withdrawal symptoms).

    Good luck everyone

  82. I have been on effexor for 20 years was up to 225 mg but have been weaning off down to 150 for about 6 months in the past month i have gone down to 75 i would take 150 one day 75 the next for a couple of weeks now i was taking 75 every two days today is my third and am going to try and go cold turkey . Did try this last week but i was getting bad headaches and thought my head was going to fall off. so far side effects havent been too bad do have alot of body aches but thought it was just other issues. So want to be off this drug want to be back to normal yes i did gain alot of weight and napped every day and just didnt feel like doing anything. Already have more energy

  83. Bubblerat

    Two weeks in to withdrawals.
    After being on Venlafaxine for the best part of 8 years, 150mg for the last four, I ran out of tablets and decided to go ‘cold turkey ‘ Didn’t seek medical advice, didn’t even tell my family until about day three when standing upright was a bit of an issue. Thankfully the physical withdrawals were relatively short lived. Sweating, nausea, dizziness, itching like crazy.
    Just when I thought I’d got off quite lightly, the emotional and mental withdrawals have kicked in and kicked my ass.
    I found last week as long as I was keeping busy and trying not to think too much I could just about get through the day. A few tears over sad Facebook posts, so not in my nature normally, angry outbursts over small things, but getting over it quickly. Now it feels like a swarm of angry wasps has taken up residence in my skull, and at any point I may unleash them on whoever happens to be in the way. I’m now getting paranoid that this is the person I really am and the meds just stopped me being me.
    Hoping week three brings some balance.

    1. DantheMan

      Hi Bubblerat. I personally am in day 4 of withdrawal. I appreciate your honesty about what is happening during your withdrawal and how you have shared your fear of who you may really be. I hope that week 3 does bring you some balance and that you see my reply. This post you made was on June 1st I am replying on the 16th of June. I would love to hear how you are feeling now that four weeks have gone by. Hope your withdrawal is still going well.

      1. Claire Villis

        Hi DantheMan.
        Hope you are doing well.
        All the physical side effects have gone, just the emotional ones left, but I’m thinking that’s why I started the medication to begin with!
        I’ve tried to keep myself busy, fostered 95 ex battery hens and bottle feeding kittens, (only one of those I recommend). I’m finally at a point where I’m able to stop myself before I say anything to brutal. It’s making for a happier family.
        I’m also awake by 9 most days, before I wasn’t awake until at least 11. Everyone put it down to fibromyalgia, but I still have that, so it was obviously the medication.
        It’s definitely an eye opening experience, all the things I accepted were just who I was, turns out was me on meds. Who I am mentally and emotionally remains to be seen, but I’m feeling more confident that I can handle it.
        Good luck , and don’t give up.

  84. hi there. i am going thru the process of coming off of venlafaxine and would deeply appreciate any guidance, advice or just an ear to listen. i started effexor a few months ago to help me come off of lexapro, which i had been taking for five years (for anxiety and depression, but as i am now entering adulthood it is apparent something deeper is occuring and the drug completely ceased to work) i had tried to come off lexapro before without assistance of another drug and it was hell, but venlafaxine seemed to mitigate the worst of it. as soon as i came off the lexapro however i shot into a painfully manic state, have been in a constant panic and have not had a good nights sleep in months…so i decided to taper off starting about two weeks ago. i was at 225 mg at the highest dose. about a week ago i became violently ill with what was most likely noro virus and was unable to keep down any medication, so i was forced to make a jump from 75 mg to 0. i was admitted into a hospital for rehydration a few days ago; it’s now pretty clear that my main ailment is withdrawals. my temp is fluctuating, i keep jolting awake screaming in a cold sweat, intense nausea and dizziness, random bouts of crying/yelling and it feels like there’s a tiny bird flapping around in my brain. in short it’s plain Death. thru all of this i feel a great amount of frustration with my psychiatrist, who knew full well that a) my mental health is shifting rapidly, b) i was planning on coming off all medication soon anyway and c) i am extraordinarily sensitive to substances i put in my body. she failed to tell me any of the info this article provides and in fact urged me NOT to research the drug. i have never had a positive interaction within the mental health care system which is one of the reasons i came to this page; thru all this hell it’s somewhat comforting (albeit infuriating) to know im not alone in being screwed by this drug. i wish u all the best in this painful process and welcome any advice/kind words.

    1. Hi there, I have been on about 300 mg of Effexor for 10 or 15 + years (I can’t remember). I have tried coming off a few times but it is absolutely horrible. It feels worse than death.

      Just a tip: if you or anyone runs of insurance or cannot afford some pills, you can sometimes ask the pharmacist to give you a couple until you can get a new prescription or you get some $. Pharmacists usually know the withdrawal symptoms and will help you, even if it is some samples they may have on hand.

      I am going to take the advice to cut down 10% at a time. I have already done that several months ago and I seem to be ok. I keep trying to cut it down by 50% and the next day the headache/dizziness begins.

      People, PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO QUIT COLD TURKEY!!! You will regret it since you will feel so sick and horrible.

      Had I known about the withdrawal symptoms I may never have taken Effexor, but I have to say it did work for me. It was better than offing myself.

  85. I am 55 have been taking 75 MG of venlafaxine since March 2017. While on the drug I would sleep 12 – 16 hours. I took a Friday off from work, went to bed Thursday night at 9:00 pm and didn’t wake up until 1:00 pm the following day. I also had vomiting problems while on the drug. I emailed the doctor and told her I felt like I was having a bad migraine without the headache; nausea, vertigo, and achy all over. It would last from 4-8 hours or until I vomited. The Dr’s answer was buy an over the counter pain medication for migraines. I did but it didn’t help. The vomiting syndrome last almost weekly or once every other week. I wanted to sleep all the time. I was having a hard time getting up to go to work and my energy went down the drain. I ran out June 2nd and didn’t get the pills until the following week. By that time my nervousness increased, vertigo and dizziness was bad. I decided to go ahead and go cold turkey and get my life back. Prior to taking these pills I took Xanax on occasion for panic attacks. The Dr. I saw wanted me to stop the Xanax and switch to venlafaxine. I wish I would have found this website or researched it before I followed the instructions. Thank GOD I was on it for only 3 full months. The worst for me was the vertigo, dizziness, no appetite, and anxious. I was at my local Fred Meyer and in their health food section they had pills called Nerve Tonic by Hylands. I also saw on some another post that Gaba and Glycine will help the anxiety by putting the tablets under your tongue. I ordered the Gaba and Glycine from Amazon and just received it today. The nerve tonic helped and taking dramamine has helped with the nausea; only downside, it makes me tired. I would rather be sleeping though instead of wondering if I am going to throw up. It’s been about a week now and I feel my old self coming back. Even my husband agrees. I have good days and bad still but I am hopeful that the bad will decrease. I resigned from my job the end of May and I am so glad. I want to totally get this medication out of me before I go back to working.

  86. Back again, since last posting in January, 2017. I thought I would be off of this wretched drug by now. I am down to about 10 granules a day. But I feel like I am going to tear apart all of my relationships, and I have more anger and hurt than ever! It’s almost as if it has increased since tapering down to 10? I am trying to ascertain if it is circumstantial and warranted because of big changes in my living situation, etc. How discouraging to share this here, since I thought I would be off of it completely by now! I have exercised more than ever, but the weight won’t come off. I know that exercising helps my brain and thoughts, so I can’t stop doing that. Today I am so pissed about this drug! I can’t find a local doctor, since moving to an area where there is a 3-6 months waiting list for a doctor. There are literally only 4 Psychiatrists in the entire County! God forbid if I resort to the ER…I don’t want that on my record. If I can give another piece of advice: Do not move to a job or location where you do NOT have good doctors, insurance, or medical care. I had great doctors where I moved from, and never imagined it could be so challenging. Your health is more important to you than moving to a “great” area (just venting).
    @yikes Your doctor is NOT ethical at all! She is making money off of not telling you the truth, and to “not research this drug.” And also you must taper off of it…as far as I can ascertain. There are a few people that can go cold turkey. Those seem to have a great support system around them.

    1. It helps to know Im not crazy. I have tried for years to get off of Effexor. Im now trying to take half of the 150 mg. granules in the gel type capsule. Ive moved to Tx. and it’s like going back to the 60’s here. I cannot find a Dr. . One was sweet but old and burned out. One, Gods gift to the medical field, told me “your a 1/2 glass empty kind of person”, aren’t you? That was after a 20 minute deduction of what kind of person I am. Another gave me a bunch of drugs to take.
      So Im going to try to wean myself. I must get off of this stuff. It must change patterns in the brain. Addiction.
      I hope I can make it. Thanks for all your truthful comments.

    2. I’ve been on venlafaxine (generic of Effexor)since end of April to replace my HRT (hysterectomy 2 years ago). I was weaned off my HRT and started slowly taking venlafaxine. I was leary of trying an antidepressant for hot flashes/night sweats, and believe it or not, lack of energy but thought my obgyn knew what she was talking about. My hot flashes/night sweats didn’t improve and was actually more tired. I tried to quit cold turkey not being told I couldn’t and felt all the same symptoms as everyone else (felt like the flu doubled) so called nurse and she said get back on the ven. IMMEDIATELY and slowly decrease. Thing is I was only put on 37.5 so thought this was crazy only having been on a few months. She said decrease to 1 every other day for 3 weeks, then 1 every 3 days for 2-3 weeks, then 1 every four days 2-3 weeks, etc until you are fully off of them. It’s been a month and I’m just at 1 every 2-3 days and feel nauseous, horrific headache, extremely tired, worse night sweats/hot and cold flashes, dizzy, and just bad in general. I was going to try to go 4 days without it every 2-3 weeks starting next week but I can see by these posts and the way I feel it will take much longer. I will continue to wean myself though realizing how poisonous this is to my body. Just angry I wasn’t told, I would have NEVER started taking these and would have just weaned myself off my HRT which was EASY. I will NEVER go back on these even if I were to get depressed. Shame on these doctors not telling you what this will do to your body. I’m exercising, drinking lots of water, taking atleast 1 “detox” bath a week and weaning down SLOWLY. Symptoms are still bad, but not as bad as cold turkey but still feel like crap. You shouldn’t be put on a medicine that makes you have withdrawals. I feel the pain of those with addictions, and am so sorry they have to deal with this and worse. I pray daily for God to detox this medicine out of my body. Feel stupid for listening to my doctor who I should have been able to trust. Hope and pray you all feel better soon. Can’t imagine those who have been on this for years and at higher dosages. God bless you and wishing a speedy recovery to you. I’m waiting for the day I feel like myself again, and know my husband is ready for that as well. DO NOT EVER take this med if you don’t feel you have to.

      1. I am on day 4 of no Effexor. I have been on 150mg for the last 5 years. I have attempted to stop it several times. Cold turkey and weaning off and cant seem to get through it. I have gained weight and I feel like it is actually making my depression worse. I am hoping this time I can just push through and get this out of my system forever! I feel like it has a hold on me and I hate it!

  87. Hi everyone, currently on day 10 without effexor. Just wanted to add a little bit of my experience for everyone who is freaking out and feeling hopeless. I cut down to 37.5mg/ day and stayed on that for a month and then went cold turkey. Head zaps day 2-4, along with fogginess and fatigue. Crazy nightmares. Day five hardly any head zapps. Day six slightly foggy but feeling pretty normal. By day eight I had forgotten that I was detoxing. I feel(hope) that I am pretty much over the worst of it. Remember that there was a reason you started on Effexor and that the withdrawal can make your initial symptoms worse. Good luck to everyone!

  88. I have been on effexor xr for years at 300 mg. The weight gain has been awful lately, always tired and no energy, and am now realizing that the other meds I am taking for cholesterol and tryglycerides are because of effexor. I want off of this now. Haven’t seem the psychiatrist who prescribed this in over a year, and I thought about going to my pcp (copay is cheaper) but he probably will tell me to see the psychiatrist to come off of it. I am getting all these withdrawal symptoms everyone describes and I am still on the full amount, anyone know why that is? I am tired of feeling the way I do.

  89. Christina

    I decided to get stop taking Effexor because my weight gain had me depressed. I have been weaning for 2 months under my doctor’s guidance…and let me say, it’s been 2 months of hell! Side effects? Yes, MANY. I’m experiencing mood swings, crying over EVERYTHING, little to no patience for anyone or anything (ironic since this is what I need from those close to me), crazy vertigo, fatigue, headaches, mental confusion (sometimes I don’t make sense when I talk), body pains, itching, general fogginess…and of course my depression and anxiety (the reason I was taking this crap in the first place) has returned…so yeah, just overall feel like I want to die.

    I am currently on day four of not taking any Effexor. I have read that this is one of the of the hardest drugs to come off of (including opioids). I can’t wait for this to be over. Thank you everyone for sharing and letting each other know we are not alone. I don’t think anyone can know what this feels like unless they’ve gone through it (seriously, I catch a lot of eye rolls when I try to explain what I am going through).

    I find the “We can do this” and “Good Luck” notes to each other are touching…damn, here comes the crying again.

    XOXOXO and much encouragement to everyone. Stay strong.

  90. Hi guys

    I have been reading posts about Venlafaxine for many months. December 2016 I decided that I no longer wanted to live my life on this drug. I had been on Venlafaxine for 10 years. I always felt foggy and numb with no drive to do anything. Everything was just too much effort. I read up on all the withdrawal symptoms and decided to taper off over a period of several months. Had head zaps and felt absolutely grotty. I honestly felt like dying some days, crying and feeling complete and utter hopelessness. But I fought my way through. By April 2017 I was finally off this rubbish. I now have a clear head and feel like I am myself for the first time in a decade. It is so worth it, take one day at a time. HOWEVER, it is now August 2017 and I have had 12 days of total insomnia, out of the blue! i CANNOT sleep! I have been swallowing sleeping tablets like sweets but nothing seems to work! I have never experienced anything like it before. Has anyone else had this symptom so many months after stopping Venlafaxine?

  91. hello
    I feel I must post this after reading some of the comments. Too many to read all of them ! I didn’t realize so many people are in the same boat as myself. I have been taking Effexor for nearly 25 years ! Every time I’ve tried to get off it something has happened to send me over the edge & I’ve had to start over again with the drug. My doctor gave me it in the first place as nothing else was working.
    If you’ve been on effexor for a long time then it will take a long time to come off the drug. You body becomes dependent and doesn’t manufacture whatever chemicals are needed by your brain. They don’t actually know for sure how this drug works !
    Anyway — to reduce the dose I grind up a 37.5mg tablet – the instant release type. This won’t work with Effexor XR. I grind it with a pill grinder which you can get in any pharmacy. Then I mix it with a little water & orange juice enough to make one cup. So one cup liquid equals one table. From here it is easy to cut down. I am cutting back really slowly- 1/16 tablet once a month. I am now down to 1 1/8 tablets daily. This reduction causes minimum upset. I may feel a bit of insomnia but it passes in a day or two. That’s all. If I’m not feeling good, with a cold/flu whatever then I don’t reduce that month. You’ve got to play it by ear as patience is definitely needed. I keep telling myself that I’ll eventually get there. Its no good coming off too quickly as your body will not be ready. It needs time to adjust to the lack of the drug.
    I also watch my diet and take supplements which helps me a lot. I’m vegan and eat as healthily as possible. I take chlorella or spirulina, plus a high dose of Krill oil – highly recommended for Omega 3s. Its good to detox yourself as you go along.
    I also practise yoga and exercise.
    I try to avoid emotional upsets as that is the worst thing to impeed your progress.
    I live in the Bermuda Islands where there isn’t a lot of help with this issue – my doctor thinks I need to take effexor for the rest of my life — NO way !
    Hope this helps. Good luck to everyone.

    1. Thank you for your post! I have been on Effexor XR 11 years. Am removing one pellet at a time every day For 3 weeks. Then will remove 2pellets per day , etc until I am completely off it. Will never go on antidepressants again.

    2. Hello Maria, thank you so much for everything you added, I have been on Effexor 150 mg for about three years, I am cutting my dose in half once every three weeks, I know it’s more than most people are doing but I have an unfair advantage that many people on this thread don’t have, many years ago I was an addict and I successfully detoxed myself at home with no one else’s help, this has given me valuable experience as to what lies ahead. My symptoms are pretty much a mirror image of everyone else’s, I had no idea there were such problems with this drug until I started doing some research, this is unbelievable. Western medicine truly has failed people. It’s all about big Pharma and kickbacks and other things, as I have recently learned actually healing an individual takes a backseat to making money.

  92. Caroline

    After reading this and all the comments, I’m concerned. I’ve been on Effexor 300mg for over 15 years. I’m a new mom, my son is 8mo. I’ve been dealing with PPD due to hormones imbalance. After fixing the hormones, my doctor suggested that maybe Effexor had the adverse effect on my health. Taking it too long could make me exhausted and sad. Truth be told, before the PPD I had been feeling great for 5+ years and him telling me that was the mental step I needed to make to try and reduce it. So he told me to cut by 75mg for a week and then another 75mg for another week. First week went great but this one not so much. I’ve been depressed, exhausted, irritable and having bigger nausea (hormones imbalance already gave me some) for a few days. I feel like crying and doing nothing. Has my doctor cut too quickly?

    I had withdrawal before of Paxil so this is nothing compared to that, but still not fun.

  93. Hi – Victoria here.
    First of all, I am a God loving Christian, 60 year old married woman with a supporting, loving, Christian husband of 34 years.
    My married, 29 year old son with two children was in a vehicle accident that left him to be a traumatic brain injury quadriplegic with the mental age of , after coma and vegetative state, around 4-5 years old. At 36 years old he went to be with the Lord. Thus, Effexor XR.
    I have been on Effexor XR for 11+ years and am in the process of detox and will absolutely never go back on an antidepressant again. Just like everyone that has posted before me – it is horrible coming off this Med.
    Psychiatrists are furious that the General Practioners who are prescribing this drug are not giving this drug to patients with the understanding that it is SHORT TERM only. Effexor is not a permanent solution for depression. It is, at best, temporary. The cause of the depression needs to be addressed and/or corrected and/or removed.
    My physical and mental symptoms are awful just like all of you posting and sharing your experiences:
    Headaches, weight gain, crying for no reason at all 4-5 hours at a time, insomnia or total exhaustion resulting in sleeping too long, diarrhea ( unexpected by the way – never know when that?s going to take place!) sadness then great happiness ( must be a surge of endorphins kicking in). And, with all the craziness I know this will not be forever.
    My dose is Effexor ER 37.5mg in the morning and 37.5mg around 8:30 pm; every day.
    For almost a week I have removed 9 pellets from the night dose. This is way too much to remove. So, after reading the above post I am going to remove 1 pellet every night for two weeks then 2 pellets for week three and four, etc. until I am completely off the night dose then I will begin the same routine on the morning dose.
    I will comment on this blog from time to time on this website about my progress- all of your posts have been a blessing to me – we are not alone. Being a Christian woman I believe God will get me through this and I am hoping to help others.
    Thank you for reading my story and all of you will be in my daily prayers 🙂

  94. I guess I’ll add my voice to the mix.

    I was on Effexor XR 300mg for about 6 years and over the last 2 years I’ve managed to ween down to 75mg and it hasnt been fun. It was great while I was on it and it was working, but I wanted a sex drive back…

    I can’t even imagine stopping the drug completely.

    Currently I’m suffering a lot of mood swings and some depression as well. But the mood swings are the worst of it. My anxiety/OCD are also compounding the issues, and my attention span and concentration has clearly taken a hit.

    I really hope I don’t have permanent side effects from this drug, but I’m beginning to think I will.

  95. Jennifer

    Fortunately I’ve only been on Effexor 75mg for six months, for treatment of menopausal symptons, I swore to myself that, if the benefits wore off and I needed to increase the dosage to get the same effect, I would stop. It’s taken me 3 weeks, alternating 75 and 37mg, and I’m now off it with minimal side effect, just some nausea and dizziness nothing else.
    Yes, Effexor, seems to be a ridiculously strong and addictive medication but what surprises me most is that the majority of you have been on this medication for soooo long.
    I think your GP’s should be held accountable, they know the downfall of being on it for too long and should be looking at alternative solutions for your underlying issues.

  96. Leslie from Canada

    Hello everyone;
    Thank you all for sharing your stories and experiences with this drug. I was originally put on Effexor to help with hormonal changes after a complete hysterectomy. That was 19 years ago. I HATE this drug and what it has done. I started at 150 and then that was raised to 225. I was taking 225 SR capsules for the past 15 years now and after struggling with the weight I had gained, and wondering what the hell was wrong with my memory I started doing the research. I was not surprised to learn that this drug is so bad for so many.
    I cut down from 225 to 150 by doing alternate days for 2 weeks and then just to the 150 SR daily. I had no problems tapering down, a little bit of diarrhea, but that was it. I stayed at this level for 3 months. I am now doing the alternate days of 150 & 75. This has given me a couple of migraines and a bit of loss of appetite. I have also noticed that I am having problems sleeping. (I do take a sleeping pill).
    The one thing that is great is that I am mentally so much clearer. My thoughts are focused, I can stay on subject without my mind wandering and actually complete tasks. I also find that my emotions seem much more *connected* and not in a bad way. It felt like before, that my feelings were “dulled down” and now it feels better.
    I have been on these horrible pills for a very long time, and I will take my time to get off them. Don’t give up, we can do this!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Gail Sims

      Leslie I had to let you you know how timely and edifying your post has been for me. I had scrolled throughand read most of year after year’s
      worth of comments relating strongly and getting more and more fearful/terrified and almost to the bottom of my screen when I read your letter of Jan 24 2018 just now, Something clicked..
      You have so perfectly described the syndrome that explains my artist’s/writer’s block of the past 20yrs. Maybe my creative inertia and inability to finish anything I start is down to the pills and not a tragic lack of talent on my part.
      Are you out of the effexor-quitting woods yet? It’s been coming up for 2yrs since you posted this and you had such a sensible cutting-down regime.
      I don’t know how it works here, will you get an email that I have commented?

  97. TX grandma

    The first clue I had of the serious problems on this drug was when my dermatologist asked what I was taking and when I told her, she said ?there?s a reason it?s called side-Effexor?. I?ve only taken it 3 or 4 months, weaned myself off when my dr put me on Wellbutrin because of my questions. I?ve been off for about a week, and the dizziness is getting worse. I?m going to the store for the vitamins and calcium, etc that i?ve Been seeing. I will not put another Venlaxafine in my mouth. I only hop this goes away fast, and I can quit the Wellbutrin and Klonopin as well-slowly…

  98. I can add.

    Been on it for only a year – miss one dose, hell. I got put on it for anxiety, which i never had, was in a abusive relationship, got the meds, got out of the relationship, anxiety followed.

    It’s the meds, its venlor – the worst poison docs can sell to us.

    I hope and pray for God to carry us through this drug addiction given to us by those who we paid to help us!

  99. I have been on effexor ex 225 mg. for 5 yrs. I went on disabilty 4 yrs ago. I recently went on health insurance that contacted me from Medicare. I move from one state to another. I was in Tennessee when I first enrolled in this insurance, Then After 3 months I moved back to my original state to help a friend with cancer. I contacted this company with all new information. They had no problem sending my meds to me new address. They helped me get Medicaid to help with plan B. All this to my new address. In the mean time I could not understand why no Doctor in Alabama would not accept my insurance. I just assumed this was state wide. Finally after 5 months of research to no available I found a young lady who informed me that I had Tennessee insurance. They did not change me to my new state. I had no idea about this. I am now completely out of my effexor 225 mg and they would not help me even though it was their fault. My friend who is also on medicare informed me of another insurance company who have arranged for my new insurance to go into effect of 4/1/2018. I hope that I can I can get a doctor to give me an appointment soon. I have been without this medication for approximately 4 wks and having terrible problems. Needless to sy I have already started a grievance against them. They have made my life a living hell. Thanks for letting be vent. People watch when you have an insurance company and move to another state and no doctor will accept your insurance. I would hate to have this happen to another individual!!!

  100. Close family came of Effexor and had STROKE like symptoms. Numbness, Dizziness, brain fog, slurred speech! She was checked for stroke and other issues. This stuff is EVIL i’m surprised she didn’t die.

    1. Becky Handley

      To all who have given their experiences, thank you. It has been encouraging to me. I was given Zoloft about 20 years ago for OCD and depression. I reached a plateau where I felt the drug was doing no good and was putting me in a fog with no energy to do anything or go anywhere. I was switched to escitalopram with the same results after taking it for a while. Then came Effexor, and reaching the same plateau, doing me no good, even putting me in the same fog, just existing not living. I started to wean off methodically and then became impatient and jumped off “cold turkey” into another world. I describe my results just about like most of the others’ experiences. However, after about 2-3 weeks my side effects have lessened in intensity except for depression. My personality is somewhat moment by moment. I feel like crying, then I ‘m peaceful, laughing, then back to sad, wanting to die, afraid I won’t and then afraid I will. Seems like according to the messages here of everyone, this may be a normal course for us. I plan to hang in. I want control of my life not drug controlled. Encouragement to all of you who are struggling to .quit, I see light at the end of the tunnel, albeit a long tunnel.
      . .

      1. Becky Handley

        An update to my previous message -my side effects are diminishing, but I am left without energy. I sleep very little at night, and when I get up, I feel as though I have been plowing up the lower forty acres. . I make myself put one foot after the other, wanting to do nothing. No energy to get ready to go anywhere, if I wanted to go. Any suggestions or experiences with this side effect?

  101. Anonymous

    Hi everyone so it’s been about 2 weeks since I last took any effexor after taking it for over three years. It’s been just over two weeks and it’s still miserable. I’ve tried everything to make it stop. The stupid thoughts in my head, the nightmares, the dizziness, insomnia etc… I’ve been dealing with them all. Not to mention the irrationally bouts of crying. After about a week of this I did some research about CBD eddiables and while I’m sure that many may not agree. I found using in serious moderation it has helped emensly. I’m still dealing with the withdrawals symptoms but not nearly as bad at least I don’t want to to vomit all the time and I can sleep most the time. Still working on being motivated and less depressed. The other thing that’s starting to help is yoga and meditation with out this I think I would of gone back to it by now. But the idea of just floating through my life and feeling nothing or feeling worse is more than I can bare. Good luck to all of you. This is the worse thong I’ve ever tried to kick. I pray everyday it will be better even a little in the morning.

    1. Michelle

      Oh my gosh! I JUST got my CBD oil in he mail today! I?m hoping it helps with these withdrawals! I was on he max dose for about two years. I felt like it was no longer working….like at all. I am not about to go back to my doctor, just to be out on another chemical. I?m done! I want a healthier, more natural way of feeling with my mental illness. So I quit the Effexor cold turkey, which was very dumb….but I?ve never claimed to be a genius!…LOL. I?m hoping the CBD oil helps. Especially with the electric jolts and vertigo. Those withdrawal symptoms are the absolute worst. I have also stated the Keto diet. Weight loss will be a bonus but this journey is all about health. So many testimonies from friends about how the CBD oils and the Keto diet have changed their lives. Physically and mentally! I want to beat my anxiety and depression with natural remedies, proper diet, and better sleeping habits. Now to just get past these hideous withdrawals! Glad I came across this forum! Until now, I have felt very alone in this battle. Good luck everyone! Remember, we are all stronger than we think we are! ??

  102. Jennifer Fishwick

    I have done a lot of research over the years wanting SO badly to get off of EFFOREX. I have been on 75 MG for over five years. While this drug did indeed help me with my depression at first, I began feeling numb to real feelings. I started just trying to skip a day and had horrible dizziness. When I went online and saw the withdraw symptoms I became so scared that I would put off trying. About a month ago I purchased CBD oil. This was just to get through my day at a horrible, stressful job. The CBD oil calmed me in a way like no other medication could. My entire body calmed down and I felt fluent in my thoughts.. I thought that if I took the CDB oil AND began to cut back on Effexor perhaps the withdraw would not be so bad. Last Thursday I started to every other day of the Effexor taking low dosed of the CBD oil in the morning and at night. There was one night I was up until 3:30 in the morning. feeling sick. Today is my third day WITHOUT Effexor. I woke up with a headache and took some Advil. I am drinking a lot of water during the day, sleeping as much as I can, eating a banana a day as well. I am not doing much but I can already feel more I than I have in years. I think this is a great forum for people trying to get off this drug. I think the FDA is cruel in putting this medication on the market without really telling the patient what could happen when you decide to go off of it. It should be a crime. I truly think the CBD oil is what is making the difference for me. I wish you ALL the best

  103. Hi everyone, I feel for all of you and thank you for sharing your stories. I’m a college professor, and I went through a difficult year due to tenure/promotion. Not a big deal, right? Yet my doctor went straight to pills. It really wasn’t something that required this POISON, but my doctor said it would help. Now I’ve been trying to quit this and it’s a living hell. I wish I had seen all of your comments before I started the POISON. I would not have put this in my body.

    I was only on 75mg, once a day for the past eight months. So I can’t imagine what some of you all are going through. I tried to taper off and take my last 30-day supply once every three days. 90 days later was last Thursday. It’s been one week and my brain zaps are still all throughout the day. I vomit once a day. My BP is up a bit. At least the burst of crying has stopped. I can’t wait for the day that this all gets better.

    Oh, and I have a new doctor who can’t believe my previous doctor prescribed this drug for my mild anxiety issues.

    Thank you all for sharing your stories. My husband read your stories on this site and showed it to me. Your stories validate that I am going through something very difficult.

  104. I have been on Effexor for 5 years. Yes you start feeling the side effects the first day you miss a dose. My 14 year old son was diagnosed with cancer in June 2018. We have to go to Denver every 3 weeks for a week for his chemo. Last week, I forgot to bring the Effexor. I wasn’t TOO bad until about the 5th day. Then I started feeling crappy…just got worse from there. Had hallucinations one night…felt like I couldn’t breathe, woke up saying “quit trying to kill me! You should t even BE here!” Yeah have no idea who I was talking to. Had my oldest son turn my light on so “they” wouldn’t kill me. Was crying over everything. Was feeling paranoid. It was a nice day out & out of nowhere “it’s a beautiful day out….why don’t you kill yourself?” Went thru my mind!???? I started taking it again last night. I’m just not willing to go thru the horrible side effects. I read that they have REHAB places for this! Also if you stop cold turkey, it could cause death! I mean WTF?! So even though I wish all of you the best, I’m staying on it.

  105. Paul P. Barnes

    So I went on this drug in early October to combat my anticipated (SAD) Seasonal Affect Disorder, and low and behold my father died (Nov. 5th) while I was taking this medication! I took all of it in stride, and this medication turned out to be a blessing; like a shield protecting me from the dark depression knocking at my door wanting to get in. As the holidays approached I found that I was running low on this medication, and I did not have a refill, and I was too busy to get one,….so I just went off it, not knowing what to expect. My cure from the grasp of being addicted to this drug was flying to Jamaica and actually experiencing the light and happiness of not being home where it is dull and gray all the time. The only side effects (and I am now on day 4) I have felt is dizziness and a little bit of nausea. I think being on the lowest dosage has helped me, but I also believe it was my circumstance. I could be fooling myself (I am only on day 4 after all).

  106. Victoria

    I have been weaning off this hateful medication now for a year coming off very slowly. I’ve been at 37.5mg now for about 3 months and Now at every other day but the withdrawals are killing me.
    What can I change to make this better for me.
    My dog passed away in November 26th,2018 and it felt great to be able to actually cry and mourn his passing. I wasn’t dead inside.
    This Medication tho it worked well for me the past 15+ years I would never recommend anyone going on it.
    I just want to get thru this last part and start living again.
    Any suggestions would be amazingly helpful.

  107. Gail Sims

    Greetings all fellow seekers. I’m posting here in the hope of keeping this thread alive because I have found it so incredibly useful.
    My story is the same as many above. I’m 62yo and have been prescribed venlafaxine 300mg for major clinical depression (the cyclical variation) for the past 20yrs with a few breaks – the longest being 10months till depression came back.
    I want off. I want out. Is it too late to sacrifice all the years it will take till I don’t feel so lousy.

  108. Kimberley MacDonald

    I have been successful in weaning myself off Venaflaxin (Effexor).. I was taking 75mg, then dropped it to 37.5 (1/2), then a couple weeks later to 18mg (1/2 of that). The only symptoms I have are the weird brain buzzes. Really hard to describe. Only happen every so often throughtout the day. I try to eat healthy, exercise almost everyday, and meditiate. Ths has really helped my depression. My plan is to keep weaning from there and be completely off in 3 months. Wish me luck!!

    1. Thank you Kimberley! This is very comforting to know, as I was prescribed 75 mgs of Effexor a year and a half ago, and am on a plan to wean off of it just like this ( 1/2ing the dose every two weeks paired with meditation, healthy eating, and exercise.) The weird brain buzzes are the only thing that I have in regards to symptoms when it comes to weaning off..

      That being said, it may be easier for those who have been prescribed a smaller dose to wean off of their medication. And it also may be easier for those who take good care of themselves within the process.

      As far as I know, it doesn’t seem like a good idea for anyone to come off of Effexor cold turkey. Only having skipped doses in the past has lead me to lots of dizziness, brain “swishes”, or buzzes, and can have me feel like crying for no reason at all.

      WEAN OFF, please everyone. Especially those taking higher doses. The balance of your brain is at stake. lol And take care of your body. Let food be thy medicine. Also, come off of your medication when you’re in a good environment and place in your life to do so. Don’t force it.

  109. well this list of harrowing stores is quite the eye opener eh all the pain and destruction the drug has caused i was put on venlafaxine about seven months ago and from the get go i started to feel ill nothing specific just bllody ill git problems headaches weekness generalised realty felt sick like i was dieing or something so went to see my gp and the testing started scan after scan blood tests more scans invesive prosedures if you know what i mean it never ended instinctively i knew it was the effexor but still kept taking it any way all of a sudden i decide im going to come of this shit well three days later im in hospital thinking im gonna die o my god so bloody sick after all the tests i happen to mention i had stoped taking the effexor three days earlier well thats when the doctor told me you cant do that its dangerouse O realy no one told me that little nugget anyway after being told i shoulnt stop taking it i started to taper emediatly 150 to 75 to 37.5 and then with great apprehention the final move of none man it has been brutal its been about 6 or 7 weeks of body pain brain zaps and emotional anguish as i wright this im having problems it comes and goes but i am not going back on this drug i am beating this drug and i will not allow this drug to kill me i have taken the time to tell my storey to encourage you the person reading this right now to persist throgh this hard time you will feel better and as every day passes you have taken control of your life and not put it in the hands of another proving your strenth get of this drug stay of this drug i wish you luck

  110. I am on Venlafaxine 75mg the last 2.5 years.

    Before that, I was on escitalopram (lexapro) for about 9 months. I came off that gradually because of side effects I was experiencing. Apart from the side effects, I really liked lexapro and it helped me a lot at the time.

    Venlafaxine is insidious and very harmful. I have had increasing occurrences of suicidality, particularly in the past 2 months.

    About a year into being on it at 75mg, I asked to change drugs. The psych wouldn’t let me and my GP just deferred to them even though my GP was the one who put me on it in the first place. Somehow, when I asked them at that point to change the drug, they instead INCREASED my dosage!!! I don’t know how that logic worked. Anyway, given the decrepit state I was in at the time psychologically and emotionally, I didn’t fight it, I just let them up the dose. I was too vulnerable and weak to advocate better for myself. Also, the way the system is set up here, it seems to be designed to be practically impervious to patient advocacy.
    Within a day or two of starting on the higher 125mg dose, I woke up one morning to my eyes being full of floaters. There was no reason for them. I hadn’t banged my head or had anything unusual happen to my eyes. I concluded it was because of the increase in venlafaxine. I took myself back down to the original 75mg dose and the floaters cleared up quickly. I have never had them since and never before that, not beyond a very faint hint of them when staring at a blue sky for a while. Nothing like the severity of that couple of days. It was very scary. I value my eyesight.
    When I told one of the psych team doctors this, he said that wouldn’t be caused by the drug. I didn’t believe him. He was still in training and not the brightest button, given some of the other things he said as well as his general demeanour.
    Then I found this online the other day: “Venlafaxine can increase eye pressure, so those with glaucoma may require more frequent eye checks.”

    The increased frequency recently of suicidal episodes is very alarming. I’ve noticed since a few months into being on this drug that it seems to keep me ‘steady’ and ‘normal’ in affect/mood for stretches of time, only for random episodes of anguish and terrible emotional pain to crash over me out of the blue. I’ve always been wary of it because of this and that’s why I wanted to come off it since a year and a half ago. But like I said, the doctors won’t let me. One or two of the team said when I brought it back to them again and again that I wanted to come off it, that they wouldn’t take me off it until I was stable for 6 months. That’s a fu**ing impossibility seeing as the thing itself is causing me instability and crises.

    The bouts of anguish have increasingly involved more and more intense suicidal ideation. What seems to happen is I get the anguish and distress and emotional & psychological pain intensely and then to deal with that, my brain goes towards suicide and sort of switches some things off. Then I find myself in this very closely guarded space where I’m planning in a rational, cold, detached way how best to kill myself. I know I don’t want to have a half-assed attempt where I wind up physically disabled or brain damaged or something. That would completely ruin it. So I find myself thinking through different methods, what’s to hand, where to go to do it, and so on. The thing that always held me back in the past when I’ve been suicidal was fear. The most recent episodes, I’ve been mustering up more and more courage and conviction to act on it. I’m pretty sure that in a month or two it’s likely that unless things are going down a different road (i.e. I’m coming off this horrible lethal drug), I will act on it and I will succeed in the attempt because I’m so calculating and callous about it these days when I get into that zone.

    When I’m out of the ‘zone’ or the episodes, I feel totally different. I know this is going down the wrong direction and yet I’m obviously overpowered by what’s happening to me on a chemical level. So what am I supposed to do? The only thing I can do is come the hell off this venlatoxin. Thank f*ck I found this page today because I need to do this extremely carefully and this is giving me some really good support to figure it out.

    I don’t know how the hell I’m going to get through the withdrawals. I’m extremely sensitive to drugs in general. Lustral created a voice inside my head the one time I took it and the voice told me to kill myself. Thankfully, I had enough wits about me to just sit through it and not obey. I don’t know how the industry gets away with poisoning so many of us with these things. There are a few reasons suicides are increasing so much. These ‘medications’ are one of the main ones.

    Another interesting tidbit I came across the other day when I started becoming convinced the drug is why I’m more suicidal than ever: “A study conducted in Finland followed more than 15,000 patients for 3.4 years. Venlafaxine increased suicide risk by 60% (statistically significant), as compared to no treatment. At the same time, fluoxetine (Prozac) halved the suicide risk.” I’m not advocating Prozac. I’ve never been on it and to be honest, I’d rather steer clear of that too. Side effects and so on. But maybe Prozac is something that could take the edge off when I’m weaning of Venlatoxin?? Anyone with experience of this type of approach? Using a new drug to help with the tapering from venla and then coming off the new drug too?

    I don’t know how to convince my doctor of any of this. She’s completely ignorant to the dangers of this drug, otherwise she wouldn’t have put me on it. She knew I’ve had a history of being suicidal since I was a child – why would she prescribe a suicide-inducing drug then?? But she really doesn’t want me to come off it because she thinks it’s safer to stay on it! She’s not a liar but she’s naive/ignorant/undereducated about this drug.

    I’m now looking for a private psychiatrist that will know how to help me. I really don’t want to kill myself. I mean, I do when I’m experiencing horrendous pain but generally I don’t. I want the pain to stop, that’s all.

    Thanks for this page. It’s been so helpful, and also particularly to read other people’s direct experiences of coming off venlafaxine. I think I’m going to have to do the thing where you count the granules inside the capsules and reduce them by one per month or something. At this point, even that would feel like progress. It would be at least going in the right direction. Maybe pairing that with a light dose of prozac if withdrawals start in.

    Does anyone know if there’s something that helps with the physical sensation symptoms like brain zaps and that sort of thing?
    I’m already on zinc, magnesium, vit D, chromium (helps with food cravings), high doses of vit C and I’m on some other supplements too. I sometimes take GABA with the magnesium to help me sleep. I was on phenergan (anti=histamine) to help with sleep but I realised it was increasing my frequency of sleep apnoea, which is definitely not good or safe so I’ve stopped that more or less (I still take it on occasions where I’m really struggling with sleep).

  111. I’ve been on Effexor XR for close to 20 years. I don’t eat much but I have gained over 70 lbs while being on this. There are people I love dearly but am nearly completely emotionless. I went to a new PC due to a change in insurance. He spoke to me extensively about all my medications as well as my desire to quit smoking. He has prescribed me Wellbuten but advised strongly that I wean myself off of the Effexor. Originally I was prescribed 150mg a day for a while and to then up to 300mg per day. Several days ago I reduced to 150 a day. I’ve had no real withdrawal symptoms, fortunately. However, my energy level has increased. I intend to speak with my psychiatrist about this but since he is not in my current health plan it is a bit expensive. I still intend on weaning off the Effexor. I plan on waiting a couple of weeks before reducing my dosage more. My hopes for these changes is weight loss and smoking cessation. I wish you all the best.

  112. Hello to all.This is my horror story getting off this poison.I started taking 75 mg.around 5 years ago,after my mom died.I gained weight over the past few years,so in May,2021,I told my doctor I didn’t want it anymore(since I really don’t feel depressed).So….starting the end of May,I was given 37.5 take for 2 weeks.After that time,I took 37.5mg.every other day for 2 weeks.I have been off the drug now for 10 days.My doc gave me A off an,for nausea,and I took Benadryl for brain zaps.Its a day to day challenge.I had breast cancer 9 years ago and I’d have to say,that this is worse than chemo.( my opinion). I am starting to feel better,not much brain zaps.Just tired and nausea .I have been blessed to have been able to retire in April ,I’m not sure I could have done this if I worked.Meditation music seems to help me…Your brain is trying to repairs itself ,from the damage this devil drug caused.PLEASE believe me……don’t give up,remember that every minute,hour,and day you survive thru this,is that much closer to the finish.I will be praying for you all.

    1. Corrections..Dr gave me meds for nausea..and your brain is trying to rewire itself

  113. I’m 18 and just started Effexor 13 days ago. I want off of this awful drug! How should I taper off of it? Will i feel withdrawal symptoms since i haven’t been on it very long?

    1. You shouldn’t have much difficulty as you’ve not been on it long. Maybe cut down over a couple of weeks.

  114. Lots of scary stories on here which take me back to darker days, so here is some hope for you all. I was placed on Effexor (never really worked) when I was 21, 150mg for about 6 years, 75 for around 2. Strangely the step between the two was easy ( I was in a relatively good place and physically very fit). Cutting down from 75mg however was brutal, couldn’t even handle removing 5 beads at a time. Had some of the darkest moments of my life in that process (that’s saying something). I was fortunate to find a gp who had some idea how to help though, she prescribed me Prozac and it literally got me off the Effexor in two weeks. I couldn’t believe it. I took Prozac and then citalopram for a couple of years but depression kept coming back. Long story short, I came off that as well (long taper), got really really poorly but sat it out and went to work on myself with therapy, alternative therapies, acceptance and understanding of the emotions that were now surfacing that needed dealing with but were just suppressed by meds. Ten years later, no drugs, still working on it but getting close and by far the most stable I have ever been. So, my advice is this: do not cold Turkey on this if at all possible, it is dangerous. I’m in the uk so it’s easier for us to have access to free drugs I know. If you can, look at substituting with another, less troublesome SSRI such as Prozac. This stuff is much, much easier to quit. If you must taper (explore the previous option first, the difference is insane) then taper very, very slowly, because the more you get it wrong, the more you will exhaust yourself, and the more you exhaust yourself, the worse it will be. Really important that one. And finally, if you have not addressed the reasons for your trouble in the first place then you need to accept that it may return, and you may need to accept and work with whatever arises once off the meds. If you’re in a bad spell don’t even consider coming off, unless absolutely no other option. The more stable and fit you are, the better chance you stand. It is a huge toll on your body to taper, so be prepared. If at all possible, go down the Prozac etc. route. There is light – I would never have believed it – but I had to hit rock bottom first. Good luck.

  115. I’ve been taking Effexor for almost 15 years. Tapered down from 300 to 150 to 75 then to 37.5 over the course of a year. Stopped taking it all together 5 days ago. Worst withdrawal symptom is the zapping/tingling feeling, I’ve also had a lot of trouble organizing my thoughts and some confused speech. The one thing I’ve found that has helped the zapping symptom is CBD. If you have access to it, it’s definitely helped me.

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