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Old 08-18-2008, 08:38 AM   #1
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Question Brain ZAPS and wihdrawal from Effexor XR...help please?

Hi all,

I am just astounded and amazed at the willingness of MDs to hand out anti depressants. Not only to hand out but to "force" anti depressants on a patient as an answer....a cure all....for every affliction. Yes, I agree, some people benefit greatly but there are problems that are harder to find and DO NOT require ADs.

I felt awful (tired, very bad hip pain, mood swings, the point of the post is not trying to get a diagnosis just wanted to clarify). I was put on Zoloft (Sertraline) and the dosage slowly titrated up and it didn't help. I tried to explain to the doctor that I don't think I am "depressed" and that is causing problems, it is more that since the problem is not being found (or looked for), I am becoming depressed at the outcome. Does that make sense?

I was told maybe it was not the right antidepressant for me. I was switched to Effexor XR and slowly increased on it as well (37.5, 75, 150). With each increase, I felt no different. All antidepressants and dosages total a little under 2 years.

My calcium level is high and has been for multiple blood draws. I have been told by 3 different doctors that it MAY be hyperparathyroidism (which would be appropriate for ALL of my symptoms) but then I have been told it is not possible by three others because of the normal to inappropriately normal PTH.

I have Hypothyroidism as well and my dosages of Synthroid and Cytomel are finally correct. My Endo, who does not agree with the hyperparathyroidism thought, made a passing statement at my last visit. He did not prescribe the Effexor XR but works in close association with my GP who did. He said that if the Effexor XR is not helping, maybe it is time to stop. SO I DID!!! I know it cannot be abruptly stopped. I had still one of the sample packets from when I was titrating up. So I took 75mg for a week and then 37.5mg for a week. As I was coming down in dose, I felt like a blanket was being lifted off of me.

NO, I DID NOT TELL MY GP THAT I AM COMING OFF OF THIS HORRIBLE DRUG! I DID NOT JUST STOP! I TITRATED DOWN! I TRULY DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THEY REALLY ''CARE'' ANYWAY!

It has now been 4 days with no Effexor XR. The first day with nothing (Friday), I got weird feelings in my eyes. The 2nd day (Saturday), it started to hurt when I move my eyeballs. I can move my head and keep my eyes still to look to the side but if I keep my head still and move my eyes only it really hurts and I started to get the sensory disturbances (brain zaps) when my eyes move. It helps to close my eyes but I can't function with closed eyes! Yesterday, the eye problem still existed but felt a little worse. It also felt and sounded like someone was opening a shaken soda can in my head (sorry, I can't think of another way to describe it) and last night, twice, it felt like the jolt was going all the way through my neck to my heart.

This morning, I am back to the eye issues. I am not sure of the others as I haven't really started my day.

I am so sorry this is SO long and rambling but I wanted to be as clear as possible. I have three questions that I am really hoping people will respond to.
1) Why are doctors so quick to think ADs will solve the problem and so quick to hand them out?

2)Is it easier to hand out an antidepressant and hope the patient will back off than really order the tests necessary to diagnose a problem? Why is trying to get a blood test harder than pulling teeth? I want the calcium issue solved not an increase in ADs!

3) How long will these sensory disturbances last? Will they get any worse?

Thank you for reading! I would truly appreciate any input!
Hoppy

 
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Old 08-25-2008, 07:41 PM   #2
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Re: Brain ZAPS and wihdrawal from Effexor XR...help please?

Wow! I can't believe I didn't even get one response! Things are easing...my doctor has been informed and she is no help either. Good luck to everyone else who tries to get off of these HORRIBLE pills! I felt like those in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest being forced to take pills even though I KNEW the issue at hand was NOT depression and the world has become a better place since stopping. I am a firm believer in the fact that we know our bodies best!

Last edited by hopalong_too; 08-25-2008 at 07:44 PM.

 
Old 08-25-2008, 11:15 PM   #3
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Re: Brain ZAPS and wihdrawal from Effexor XR...help please?

The severity of the withdrawal process is going to differ from person to person due to a number of different reasons (a) Their bodies chemistry (b) how long they were on the med (c) at what dose they were taking the med (d) the type of withdrawal procedure that they used - the slower is the better and a two month plus break down schedule is not unheard of. Of course the other side of this is that these meds work for a lot of people and the discontinuation syndrome is now part of the literature that goes along with this drugs and those that are similar by nature.
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Old 08-26-2008, 02:56 AM   #4
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Re: Brain ZAPS and wihdrawal from Effexor XR...help please?

This is my third day without effexor XR. I was on 300mg and I used effexor for 6 years. It took me about 2 months to slowly lower the dose and I took cymbalta while lowering it. I understand the pressure behind the eyes and I explained my head feeling like a bobble head at times. The headaches are terrible. I agree that this medicine is terrible- it would help me for awhile and then stop, so I would increase it and it would help for awhile and then stop. I guess the pdoc finally decided it was time to try something new at my request. I feel so much better without it. As far as prescribing meds instead of doing tests- I have never had my thyroid tested, beleive it or not. I have been to my regular doctor and the pdoc for years and it was never even suggested. Hang in there and be glad that you are off of effexor. Have a good day.

Last edited by sped57; 08-26-2008 at 02:57 AM.

 
Old 08-26-2008, 03:24 PM   #5
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Re: Brain ZAPS and wihdrawal from Effexor XR...help please?

I was hospitalized while withdrawing from Effexor XR. I had a SEVERE headache for 5 days and finally I went to the ER and after doing a brain scan they thought I had had a stroke. They did an MRI the next day and discovered I had not had a stroke. They then realized it was the withdrawal from the Effexor. I will never take that poison again.

 
Old 08-27-2008, 05:26 PM   #6
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Re: Brain ZAPS and wihdrawal from Effexor XR...help please?

This sound so much like my symptoms when I went off Paxil. I had to stay home and do nothing but wait it out. It was rough. Could not believe the random electric jabs. I will never try anything like that again.

 
Old 08-28-2008, 02:06 AM   #7
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Re: Brain ZAPS and wihdrawal from Effexor XR...help please?

Thank you all so much! It really helps to know that I am not the only one and someone understands.

I still have the hip pain that started all of this. Was the AD supposed to get rid of the hip pain (I think not!) or just put me into a state where I would stop complaining. I actually told the doctor at one time that I believed I was depressed!! (Actually depressed that I wasn't being heard!). My body still has some definite issues but....WOW!....I truly feel the happiness returning!

The brain zaps have decreased to maybe 3-5 per day. I seem to get more when I move my head fast. The drops are helping with my eyes. They are from the optometrist...not the GP. I had a test for dry eye and he said it was positive. I'll find out more next week when I return.

Here is the best part....I didn't realize that I had stopped listening to music! At the gym today, (I have been going for just over 2 months), I had a great time on the treadmill, listening to music and I actually caught myself smiling a few times during the day today!!

Thanks again everyone,
Hoppy

 
Old 09-06-2008, 04:46 PM   #8
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Re: Brain ZAPS and wihdrawal from Effexor XR...help please?

I had a horrible time coming off Effexor. I was unable to work. People should research the clinical trials before jumping on meds.

 
Old 09-07-2008, 04:53 PM   #9
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Re: Brain ZAPS and wihdrawal from Effexor XR...help please?

I am so sorry to hear of all your troubles getting off of this, what I now believe is a horrible medicine. I took Lexapro before Effexor and did very wel with it. I also did Paxil some years back and had the worst time getting off of that. I am right now coming off of Effexor but climbing onto Cymbalta at the same time so I think that helps.

My GP said Effexor is one of the worst to try to get off of in terms of your withdrawl symptoms. Hang in there, I think it takes a good 1-2 months before it is out of your system. I hate it. I am not positive yet because I just stopped taking it altogether and am only on Cymbalta now but I think it caused me more problems than it helped. I think it actually made me more depressed, horribly anxious, apathetic, I have a nervous skin condition that I am hoping will now clear up. I told them, different doctors even that I think it makes me more nervous. They would just brush me off saying that only happens when you first start taking it???? How would they know, they are not me, they are not you! Every person is different in their chemistry and make up so each drug is going to affect people differently. They don't seem to get that through their very thick heads. I am complaining to the company if I see a dramatic difference. I had suicidal thoughts almost daily!!! That's not me! I think it is an anti depressant that should be not prescribed. I felt like I was losing my mind, not getting better.

I hope things start feeling normal for you again. I agree they just force these pills down our throat and yes I believe they can be of some help, but some of them are dangerous if you ask me. Plus, it isn't like they can do a blood work up and say oh here are your chemical levels this would be the best course of treatment for you. It is hit or miss and we are the hamsters.

Best of luck and I will let you know if I get better results without the medicine. I think it is looking good so far.

 
Old 03-12-2009, 10:50 AM   #10
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Re: Brain ZAPS and wihdrawal from Effexor XR...help please?

I've been on Effexor for 4 years, gradually upping the dosage to 300mg. My doctor never actually asked me why I needed it. I simply told him 6 years ago that I was depressed. We started off with Prozac, maxed out the dosage there, moved on to something else and maxed out that dosage and eventually got to Effexor and kept increasing the dosage until I got to 300mg.

Without going into the whole story, let's just say I figured out the cause of my depression and I addressed it. So, I decided to get off the Effexor.

I read a lot about the terrible things that people have experienced and I've taken it all seriously. I decided to back off of the dosage by 75mg increments and drop the levels every week. Surprisingly I did not have bad reactions.

Four days ago I stopped taking it. Yesterday I experienced an entire day of the brain zaps (to me it sounds like a slinky in my head). Mostly I'm dizzy but not much else. The brain zaps have lead me to believe that I shouldn't drive, but aside from that they are annoying at worst.

I really am experiencing the best case scenerio for getting off the drug, but I can't tell you what it is that I'm doing differently, if anything. I'm getting off of it faster than recommended I think, and I don't take other prescriptions aside from my allergy medication. I'm just lucky.

If anything is different, perhaps I'm still very happy that I was able to confront my depression problem and work around it finally after all these years. Maybe there is a euphoria in that somewhere that is preventing me from having worse reactions.

The effexor worked for me for a while, but I'm glad to be getting off of it.

 
Old 03-12-2009, 01:40 PM   #11
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Re: Brain ZAPS and wihdrawal from Effexor XR...help please?

Hi there,

Sounds to me like you have been making the classic mistakes every step of the way. No offence intended at all. But what you describe is you deciding things about meds when you know nothing at all.

You say your doc never asked you why you needed Effexor but you actually did. The same line basically you say you told him you had depression. That's telling him why you needed it is it not?

You then stay on FX for 4 years so it must have been helpful although increases were necessary. But then you somehow solved the depression. Could you tell us how? I'd like to know as any cure is worth telling the world about.

Next you decide to come off FX apparently with no advice from your doc. Why? Do you have more qualifications than him/her on psychiatric illnesses and meds? No? Then why on earth would you presume to come off without saying anything? You must have told that doc and just haven't mentioned it here.

Absolutely you should not drive until those feelings have cleared totally.

Then you go on to say it "worked for a while". You were on it for 4 years mate. That's longer than a while so if it wasn't working why did you take it?

I do not get the reason for your post. Are you trying to say you are better than others at coming off FX or something equally silly? What is your point please?

Many people do have a dreadful time coming off FX and you are extremely lucky it's been reasonably easy for you. Do not deride others who have felt the pain of coming off this drug. That's a very silly approach.

I've been on FX 3 times including currently, over 10 years but I always change it when it runs out of puff.

The first time I came off was a horror show and took about 3 months. The visual/dizzy disruption prevented me from driving for that time. When I did try I found I could not look either side as there was a spacial distortion. A bit like seeing things in a strobe light, lots of quick images but no actual motion. There were other things too but that was terrible.

The second time? Not a thing at all. My body is probably just used to all this now. Next time? WHo knows but whatever else I do I will be doing it with docs full supervision and advice. He's the expert and that's what I pay him for, his expertise.

As far as treating depression it has been easily the best med for me over a 10 year period, usually with lithium backup. It is an older drug nowadays but having tried lots of newer ones and got little I return to what works for me.

Coming off? I'll worry about that when it happens and not before. Never let that issue stop you taking a med that will stop the depths of depression. It's been worth it to me.

 
Old 03-12-2009, 06:33 PM   #12
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Re: Brain ZAPS and wihdrawal from Effexor XR...help please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gadzoocs View Post

If anything is different, perhaps I'm still very happy that I was able to confront my depression problem and work around it finally after all these years. Maybe there is a euphoria in that somewhere that is preventing me from having worse reactions.
Congratulations.

 
Old 03-13-2009, 06:52 AM   #13
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Re: Brain ZAPS and wihdrawal from Effexor XR...help please?

Hi Been, I'm not much for defending myself to combative types. I do want to say that the reason for the post wasn't to belittle anyone. I was sharing a different experience with my withdrawels than what I've read here. Simply put.

 
Old 03-13-2009, 06:03 PM   #14
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Re: Brain ZAPS and wihdrawal from Effexor XR...help please?

You could be lucky and you may not be out of the woods yet. Having said that, your positive attitude is remarkable. Expecting to do well is certainly a plus.

 
Old 03-14-2009, 12:50 AM   #15
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Re: Brain ZAPS and wihdrawal from Effexor XR...help please?

Hi Gad,

Sorry you see things that way mate. All I was doing was reflecting back at you what you had written. Your own words contradict yourself a lot and the intent was for you to look at what you are writing and thinking. Not feel attacked as there's nothing in doing that for me. Why would I bother? And what for? Silly. It's honesty that may be difficult to hear, not combat.

You don't need to defend yourself against anyone here, rather you need to start listening to yourself and seeing the conflict in your thoughts.

Sample? You said you didn't tell the doc the reason for needing FX yet immediately stated you told him you had depression. Can you not see the attempt by yourself to raise your opinion above that of the doc?

You do so consistently throughout your post and show contempt for docs who have studied and worked with these drugs for years usually. Why would you be able to deal with them better than an expert, a specialist?

Forget about me, look at yourself. If you can't do that then nothing is going to change is it?

The coming off FX you describe is not unusual at all. It's quite normal really. The reality is those of us who had a hard time will write about it and those that didn't won't. So many think we all have a hard time. Not so. My message is simple and clear. A doc prescribes something for you and it's up to you and the doc to work together, not compete. If you want to do that then just don't go at all.

The combat you feel is in you, not me at all. I'm trying to help.

 
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