Psycho-Babble Medication Thread 1016

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Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news

Posted by remar on January 23, 2005, at 22:14:46

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news, posted by dancingstar on January 23, 2005, at 18:42:59

dancingstar, thank you so much for repyling to my post. i would never have believed either that it would take so long to get over the withdrawal symptoms. i am working with a different dr. now because the one i was with did not warn me of the withdrawal. the new dr. is great and he understands that i don't need an antidepressant, i have anxiety disorder and i refuse now to take another antidepressant. i'm taking a low dose of xanax which really helps. i would love to try the benadryl but i don't think i can take it with the xanax.i really hope that all of you who are going through this feel much better soon. take care. remar

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news

Posted by worm on January 24, 2005, at 11:57:16

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news, posted by remar on January 23, 2005, at 22:14:46

Jenna:

I don't really remember how long it took, probably about 4-6 weeks, but I started taking some leftover Prozac, and that helped.

I had been initially on Prozac (supposedly for PMS, so the medical doctor could prescibe it for me). Then I told her I felt it wasn't working any more, so she changed me to Effexor. Probably a big mistake in hindsight, since nobody even knew if I was clinically depressed, and maybe the issues causing it were gone (my mother passing away, the break-up of a relationship). I started on Effexor 75, and then, again, I told her that I felt "flat" (now knowing that's what it does to you) and she upped the dose to 150. Then I noticed that if I forgot to take a dose, which I did almost every weekend because my schedule was off, (plus not knowing that the medication itself made me forgetful) I would get the zaps, nausea, dizziness, muscle weakness, and then eventutually, incapacitating depression and suicidal thoughts. I knew I needed to get off the Effexor, but how to do it without going through the withdrawal? I knew that my doctor had phased in the higher dosage, so I figured I'd better phase out slowly.

Then I found this board, and the hints helped me a lot. Just knowing the cause of the brain zaps - which were followed immediately by blinding rage - (I thought I could have killed someone if they were within reach)that passed through my brain like white heat! Really hard to explain. I took the Prozac, first daily, and then after a week or so, just one every few days, then none at all. It helped me a lot, but as you know from this board, everyone is different.

Now I am drug-free, and enjoying it - I have lost 20 pounds, and am exercising regularly. Ieven Christmas didn't get me down this year, I usually get post-holiday blues, This year I just put my decorations away and said "Ok, let's look ahead to the next thing life is going to throw at me" Just a huge turnaround, since I was ready to kill myself last year on New Year's Eve because I felt everyone, including my boyfriend, was out having fun and I was sitting at home - Seriously! I was in bad shape!!

Ok, probably too much information, but that's it for me. Hope it helps some.

Worm

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news

Posted by caleb96 on January 24, 2005, at 17:36:58

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news, posted by Jenna Starrett on January 22, 2005, at 11:02:16

> > > I don't know if Effexor has a shorter half life than the SSRIs, or really what the withdrawal side effects might be for those,
> > > but Victor brought up a good point. Whenever I have missed more than 2-3 doses of my Effexor, whether the regular sort or the XR, the withdrawal is terrible.
> >
> > *Part of the problem is that therapeutically, according to the last counselor I saw, Effexor is about SIX major drugs combined into one. Hence the withdrawals are MAJOR and ugly.*
> > >
> > > In my experience, I have had a kind of numbness in my extremeties (this is such a wierd sensation, I don't even know if numbness is good description!), nausea, headache, extreme tearfulness, can't focus or make decisions, anorexia, and hot and cold chills just to name a few.
> >
> > *Sounds JUST like what my mother went through (did you fall down & throw up or have clinical migraines?) AND what my partner is still dealing with (he stutters, now, too), although the numb/strange feeling in his fingers stopped about two weeks or so after he was totally weaned. He still has decision-making issues, and increased social anxiety :( *
> > >
> > > One question for the docs here. I hate this about myself, but why do I forget whether I took my medicine or not a lot of the time? I feel like an old lady having to put my pills in a little day-of-the week pill box. ~laughing~
> >
> > *I'm only taking one med daily at this time, and believe me, if it's more than one I can't remember either. I think short-term memory fog is a side effect of being human!
> >
> > snakeadelic
>
>
> Hi! I was on 300mg of Effexor XR at one point and I truely believe now that I'm off it, that it was really adding to my depression. I had some of the same symptoms you did... I even had to tell my boss that I was having memory problems. I would forget if I took my medicine, made phone calls EVERYTHING! I thought it was my depression but it was clearly the Effexor. I had sexual side effects and just felt crappy (crying, depressed)all the time on this med. My doc decided to add 150mg of Wellbutrin XL to the Effexor to help with the sexual side effects. Finally I got so fed up with the memory problems, I asked him if I could get off the Effexor. I first went down to 150mg and after about 2-3 days I started to get major side effects (cold sweats, crying over everything, severe headache, nausea, aggitation, and major "volts" in my body)I ended up in the hospital because I thought I was going to die. They took me off Effexor all together in the hospital, and left me on the 150 Wellbutrin. Thankfully I found this website and saw that taking Claratin D may help with the side effects. I immediately went out and got some and it helped me AMAZING! as long as I took it like the directions said. The Claratin D does not effect my sleep or make me feel jittery at all...just normal. Also, at first I thought that I was feeling bad because of the Wellbutrin (when they first lowered my Effexor), but it turns out I am off Effexor now and on 300mg of Wellbutrin, and feel great (I haven't noticed ANY side effects). Plus I take 100mg of Trazedone to sleep (works great! no hangover). I have been taking sublingual B complex vitamins for a while, as well as capsules of Flax oil (Omega 3) but I'm not sure if this is helping because I've been taking them for a long time. The Wellbutrin has worked very well for me! I feel real again. I hope this helps, but as you know everyone is different. Take care, Jenna
>
>
>

Effexor has a very short half-life (<12 hours) relative to other SSRIs (e.g., Prozac clears your system over several days, the others fall somewhere in between). As I understand it, Effexor was developed to treat pain, and it is a good pain modulator for cetain conditions. Its biochemical structure is very close to an opioid. It's a very good antidepressant for most people--especially people who either don't respond to or have lost depression control with the other SSRIs. Effexor is an SNRI or "serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor," so it actually has action on two receptor systems. I like the energizing effect of Wellbutrin, too. Wellbutrin works on dopamine receptors (at least that's the hypothesis) and tends to be very energizing. It doesn't have the sexual problems of Effexor, Prozac, Zoloft and other serotonin boosting drugs. The problem is, it doesn't work on depression for everyone. Not everyone has problems with Effexor withdrawal--although that's not meant to trivialize anyone's suffering. I took 300 mg Effexor per day for nearly 4 years, then tapered off in about a month with no problems. I have no idea what taking Claritin is supposed to do--I know some people use Benadryl (diphenhydramine) to come down off benzodiazepines because it's so sedating. It takes the edge off the Xanax heebie-geebies. Like you said, everyone's different. I took Trazodone once and it put me in the hospital because I had such a violent reaction to it. Others take it with no problem. Go figure.

Caleb

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news worm

Posted by Fathe on January 24, 2005, at 21:28:16

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news, posted by worm on January 24, 2005, at 11:57:16

<Then I found this board, and the hints helped me <a lot. Just knowing the cause of the brain zaps -<which were followed immediately by blinding <rage - (I thought I could have killed someone if <they were within reach)that passed through my <brain like white heat! Really hard to explain


Hi Worm

This is the one withdrawal symptom which really frightens me sometimes. I have all the others too but they are not as upsetting as the blinding anger I can burst into. Last year, when I attempted to stop effexor then, it was the rage that made me think I was having some kind of breakdown and needed to go back on it. So I did.

This year, after telling myself I wanted to stop but more importantly, finding this site, I realized I could do it and realized the rage is part of the withdrawal. I am managing the physical symptoms but the unpredictale rage is so unlike me.

Does anyone know why this occurs? How long does this last?

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news

Posted by kathyba on January 25, 2005, at 17:36:47

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news worm, posted by Fathe on January 24, 2005, at 21:28:16

I faxed my doctor a memo telling him what I was going through (although I took 37.5mg of Effexor with my wellbutrin on Sat and Sun). He said that he hadn't had any problem with patients having bad withdrawal symptoms (what do have patients have that I don't to handle this) but that he was sorry. He read some of the articles I faxed him (the FDA notice about Effexor from 2000) and he said he would let me have the 25mg of Effexor tablets so I can wean off more slowly.

So I am now going to take my 150mg Wellbutrin with 12.5mg of Effexor in the am and 12.5 in the pm. I'll try that for a week and then maybe try to cut out another 1/4 of a pill. We'll see. -Kathy

 

Thank you

Posted by accent on January 25, 2005, at 19:20:20

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news, posted by dancingstar on January 21, 2005, at 17:28:00

Hello, thanks for the encouragement. Right now I have decided to stay on the medication and try to get off of it during the summer. I teach and so the withdrawls are too much to take while trying to continue teaching. I become worse than the middle-schoolers I teach. Unable to focus and such. Anyhow I'll keep reading and keep on posting till then. By the way I found a site where a class action suit is being brought up against the Wythe company. If your interested here it is...and thank you for the last paragraph bebe. I am now in "action" mode. Others need to be educated. I think this site helps and I hope that you all continue to "fight" back! <withdrawl and all> accent

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news

Posted by sp on January 25, 2005, at 21:23:41

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news, posted by kathyba on January 25, 2005, at 17:36:47

> I faxed my doctor a memo telling him what I was going through (although I took 37.5mg of Effexor with my wellbutrin on Sat and Sun). He said that he hadn't had any problem with patients having bad withdrawal symptoms (what do have patients have that I don't to handle this) but that he was sorry. He read some of the articles I faxed him (the FDA notice about Effexor from 2000) and he said he would let me have the 25mg of Effexor tablets so I can wean off more slowly.
>
> So I am now going to take my 150mg Wellbutrin with 12.5mg of Effexor in the am and 12.5 in the pm. I'll try that for a week and then maybe try to cut out another 1/4 of a pill. We'll see. -Kathy

Hi Kathy- perhaps other Dr.s would be informed if they read some of our postings as well. I don't know if anyone would object though. This is anonymous, right? Anyone know more about this? S

 

Re: Thank you

Posted by sp on January 25, 2005, at 21:25:59

In reply to Thank you, posted by accent on January 25, 2005, at 19:20:20

> Hello, thanks for the encouragement. Right now I have decided to stay on the medication and try to get off of it during the summer. I teach and so the withdrawls are too much to take while trying to continue teaching. I become worse than the middle-schoolers I teach. Unable to focus and such. Anyhow I'll keep reading and keep on posting till then. By the way I found a site where a class action suit is being brought up against the Wythe company. If your interested here it is...and thank you for the last paragraph bebe. I am now in "action" mode. Others need to be educated. I think this site helps and I hope that you all continue to "fight" back! <withdrawl and all> accent

Hi accent- Thanks for the info- I'm not computer savvy- what is the site? S

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news

Posted by Kathyba on January 26, 2005, at 5:21:12

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news, posted by sp on January 25, 2005, at 21:23:41


> Hi Kathy- perhaps other Dr.s would be informed if they read some of our postings as well. I don't know if anyone would object though. This is anonymous, right? Anyone know more about this? S

I agree. I didn't give him our posts because the last time I did that, they didn't see them as "authoritative". Pissed me off but they want to read stuff from studies. He told me that it is only a small percentage that have problems and the ones that DON'T have problems don't post on the internet. grrrrrr.

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news Kathyba

Posted by dancingstar on January 26, 2005, at 11:19:05

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news, posted by Kathyba on January 26, 2005, at 5:21:12

Why don't you print one of the links that I posted where the pdocs are talking to each other?
Maybe that would have more have more influence.

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news spiciestcrashbean

Posted by whosthat on January 27, 2005, at 1:16:17

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news oeps7, posted by spiciestcrashbean on September 8, 2003, at 18:40:40

hang in there! i had been on effexor xr 300mg for the past three years and am now completely off. the taper was the worst experience of my life, but it's over now and things are looking up. you can do this!

> please could someone tell me this?I take effexor for my panic attacks. I have been taking it for 2 years. I tried to get off of it once but I just couldn't do it. I ended up in the emergency room because I couldn't stand up and would get a really bad head rush with every 2 steps that I would take. Then my panic attacks started to come back. please do they ever stop?
> spiciestcrashbean

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news

Posted by gadman on January 27, 2005, at 18:58:39

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news, posted by TrinityX1 on October 30, 2004, at 19:26:06

For those on Effexor reading this thread, I need to interject and say that I was on Effexor for 3 years and the medicine did good by me....

It releaved my anxiety and helped with my depression. I have recently switched to Cymbalta and the transition was not bad at all... The only withdrawal symptom I had from Effexor was depression. And to be honest I can't say that this is exactly withdrawal, because it wasn't any worse than when before I started Effexor.

Gadman

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news gadman

Posted by Fathe on January 29, 2005, at 10:55:58

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news, posted by gadman on January 27, 2005, at 18:58:39

> For those on Effexor reading this thread, I need to interject and say that I was on Effexor for 3 years and the medicine did good by me....
>
> It releaved my anxiety and helped with my depression. I have recently switched to Cymbalta and the transition was not bad at all... The only withdrawal symptom I had from Effexor was depression. And to be honest I can't say that this is exactly withdrawal, because it wasn't any worse than when before I started Effexor.
>
> Gadman

You are quite lucky to have had virtually little negative side effects from stopping Effexor. I am sure Effexor can be stopped relatively easily for many people and therefore they are not familiar with the experiences many of us DO have.

Effexor also worked wonders for me as well when I was on it. But my therapy was never considered a long term event and I knew I evenutally would be of the position that I would be stopping it. And that is where the real issue here for most of us is....not what it can and does do for users while they are on it, but when they want to stop taking it, for what ever reason, the withdrawal effects can be anywhere from mildly distracting to downright disruptive.

If everyone here posted different side effects that did not match someone else's, I would have to almost say that we are all a bunch of hypochondriacs. But the fact that almost each and every one of the effects posted was identical to others being reported, I would have to say that that fact is now important enough to make it well conveyed in Effexor's literature. The potential withdrawal effects must be conveyed to every patient being prescribed the drug for the first time so they can make an informed choice.

My withdrawal this time around was tolerable but only because of the helpful hints and support others here have posted. I am 4 weeks now without Effexor and I feel pretty darn good finally. Minor symptoms still remain but I have finally been able to stop the dramamine and the Benadryl regimens I adhered to the past few weeks. To say I feel I have a sense of victory and accomplishment is an understatement because last year, when I tried to stop, the symptoms were so disruptive that I convinced myself I will take Effexor for the rest of my life to avoid the withdrawal. Terrible reason to continue a drug.

So again, I do not think many here would say that the period they are on Effexor was Hell on Earth; a few have but mostly Effexor can be taken without incident or after a few days of the body getting used to it. The withdrawal, on the other hand, is a whole separate "animal" and that is why we are trying to get the word out to Wyeth and doctors.

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news Fathe

Posted by gadman on January 29, 2005, at 11:36:44

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news gadman, posted by Fathe on January 29, 2005, at 10:55:58

Thanks Fathe... This is day 8 of completely being off of Effexor. I continue to suffer depression....

My question is... How do you know if it is an Effexor withdrawal (the depression) or just a symptom of my original problems (Anxiety with depression)

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news gadman

Posted by Fathe on January 29, 2005, at 12:13:34

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news Fathe, posted by gadman on January 29, 2005, at 11:36:44

> Thanks Fathe... This is day 8 of completely being off of Effexor. I continue to suffer depression....
>
> My question is... How do you know if it is an Effexor withdrawal (the depression) or just a symptom of my original problems (Anxiety with depression)
>
>

Hi Gadman
Unfortunately (or fortunately !) anxiety and depression were not part of my withdrawal symptoms. The only "emotional" type symptom I experienced was a marked reduction in my tolerance level of situations which most times I have no control over...but even those are leveling off now. My symptoms were physical (the "volts", nausea, sweating, eye movement sensations, fatigue, leg heaviness and nightmares). It could be that your new drug is not the right medication for your type of anxiety and depression and possibly Effexor IS the better choice for you. Each person's body is different. But that is the point this forum is not trying to make; that Effexor is a bad drug while you take it and should be taken off the market. It is really a wonder drug, for many and me included. We just want to make sure that those who follow in our footsteps who are prescribed Effexor, know that the possibility of severe withdrawl symptoms can occur once you try to taper down your dose. With so many other SSRI's out there, why not have the information available so you can make an informed choice to pick Effexor?

Maybe others here on this site can tell you that if they had the anxiety and/or depression as part of their withdrawal, they can help you by posting how they dealt with it and how long it lasts.

Just hang in there though. Whether you love Effexor of hate it, I have found that everyone here is very supportive and typically can relate to one thing or another of what you are experiencing. For me, that was golden.

We are all thinking of you...keep us posted of how you are doing.

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news Fathe

Posted by gadman on January 29, 2005, at 15:57:19

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news gadman, posted by Fathe on January 29, 2005, at 12:13:34

Thanks again Fathe... Your words are encouraging. The new Med I am on is Cymbalta and I am not sure what to do... I hate to go back to Effexor, especially after reading all of the horror stories.

I have only been off the Effexor for 8 days and on the Cymbalta for nearly 3 weeks. I am still trying to adjust my Cymbalta dose and get back to the way I was before I went off the Effexor (I hope that comes soon)

Gadman

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news gadman

Posted by roobie on January 29, 2005, at 17:38:14

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news Fathe, posted by gadman on January 29, 2005, at 15:57:19

Hi, Gadman. I wondered the same thing too when I thought 'hey, maybe I don't need this anymore'... and I am sorta mixed about what I want to do.

When I tried to quit, I had the side affects, but infrequent as I could still function just fine, but knew the 'dizzies' were there. It was the uncontrollable hostility, which I think was brought on by the anxiety which is why I started taking these things in the first place (Paxil first).

I do feel that the Effexor is 'good' for me, but am totally greatful that folks on this site confirmed the side-effects, as well as the 'danger' of coming off that the drug companies and docs don't really acknowledge. I would have REALLY thought I had some unexplainable issues.

I would consider something else and may even ask about that Cymbalta(?) you mentioned.

roobie

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news gadman

Posted by Fathe on January 29, 2005, at 17:38:46

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news Fathe, posted by gadman on January 29, 2005, at 15:57:19

Gadman, I would definitely speak to your health care professonal who prescribed the new drug. I am sure there was a good reason to be taken off Effexor and put on this new medicine but it could be that Effexor is more effective for you. That would be something you and your doctor should weigh in on.

I do know, however, that if you need a sounding board while on Effexor or if you continue to stay off and feel you need support for that as well, this forum is the place for it. I would not have been able to face my witrhdrawal without "picking the brains" of others here.

You will find comfort in that others here have been through the same thing as you are experiencing.

Take care and keep us posted of your progress.

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news roobie

Posted by gadman on January 29, 2005, at 17:54:03

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news gadman, posted by roobie on January 29, 2005, at 17:38:14

Roobie... Effexor and I had a good relationship over that last 3 years but the Doc thought I might do better on Cymbalta.

It was a rocky start with Effexor if I remember it right, and it took several months (probably 6 or so) before I felt good again. I was going through what I could only describe as a break down and Effexor coupled with Xanax at night go me through it.

Now it is 3 years later and although Effexor is still working, my BP is up and I have gained alot of weight. (And I was also feeling sluggish)

So Enters Cymbalta... And here I am... The verdict is still out.

Gadman

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news Fathe

Posted by gadman on January 29, 2005, at 17:56:23

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news gadman, posted by Fathe on January 29, 2005, at 17:38:46

Thanks once again...

I will continue monitoring my progress over the next couple of weeks... I at least want to give the Cymbalta a full fighting chance to kick in.

Gadman

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news

Posted by roobie on January 29, 2005, at 17:59:18

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news Fathe, posted by gadman on January 29, 2005, at 17:56:23

I stopped the Paxil and started Effexor in a hopes to LOSE the weight I gained on Paxil. I acutally felt MORE energy on Effexor.

Not sure what CYMBALTA is... (SSRI...?) but good luck and keep us posted; I'm very curious to hear how it all goes.

roobie

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news roobie

Posted by gadman on January 29, 2005, at 20:33:16

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news, posted by roobie on January 29, 2005, at 17:59:18

Roobie,

Cymbalta is an SSNRI just like Effexor. They both inhibit reuptake of Serotonin and Nor-Epinehrine. My research tells me that Cymbalta works on Nor-Epinehrine at lower dosages than Effexor, which makes sense for me since I was only on a 75 mg dose of Effexor.

Cymbalta was suppose to be everything Effexor is but without the side-effects. I know some on the forum have found this to be true while others did not have luck with Cymbalta.

Right now I am still in the trial stage. I do know if it can produce the same results without the dangerous withdrawal effects I will be happy.

I also know I went this far with it, so I am going to stick it out a bit longer...

Gadman

 

Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news gadman

Posted by Fathe on January 29, 2005, at 22:58:32

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news roobie, posted by gadman on January 29, 2005, at 20:33:16

Gadman,

I think you have a good plan. Good luck.

 

Re: another thread to help withdraw

Posted by not2late4u on January 30, 2005, at 14:34:27

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news gadman, posted by Fathe on January 29, 2005, at 22:58:32

feel free to visit my thread. "renee tapering off effexor".

 

Re: another thread to help withdraw not2late4u

Posted by gadman on January 31, 2005, at 9:50:58

In reply to Re: another thread to help withdraw, posted by not2late4u on January 30, 2005, at 14:34:27

Thanks Renee for the post... I read thru your thread and still have to ask the same question I have had all along... How can you differentiate between Effexor withdrawal and Re-appearing symptoms of why you were taking Effexor in the first place? (Besides the Brain Zaps and nausea)

Your explanation of what put you on Effexor (Extreme Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Etc... ) could be me... It is exactly the reason I started Effexor to begin with.

gadman


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