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Old 11-26-2008, 09:22 AM   #1
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Question 5-HTP supplement for Effexor withdrawal?

I would like to know if someone has any experience with using 5-HTP supplement for reducing painfull effexor withrawal sympthoms.

I am currently tapering off effexor xr 150 mg (took it for 1 month but was prevoisly on Effexor xr 75mg for about 4 1/2 years).

It is my second week of decreasing dosage and I am currently taking daily 37.5 mg of the non xr formula. However I start to feel the withrawal symptoms more and more pronounced every day.

I did already tried to come off effexor some month ago and side effects where so intense that I had to go back taking it (with decreased efficency!...).

I am actually switching to Reboxetine (a NARI) and it is working well. So I am not too concerned about the depression rebound I experienced last time. However I start to feel the nausea and dizziness (like sea sickness) that lasts forever when coming off effexor.

I am taking vitamin C (500mg daily) and I wonder if 5-HTP could be effective also.

Any other advise on how to reduce the debilitating effexor withdrawal side effects is greatly appreciated.

Many thanks.

 
Old 11-26-2008, 12:49 PM   #2
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Re: 5-HTP supplement for Effexor withdrawal?

That is extremely unusual to encounter withdrawl symptoms from Effexor.
Effexor is NOT a nartcotic, it's a SNRI. Hence, you shouldn't be getting withdrawl from it.

Define withdrawl for yourself; are you getting depressed again? Is anxiety back? are you nervous?

Also keep in mind you were on a low dosage of Effexor. Only 75mg followed by 150mg is near the bottom of the acceptabe dosage since Effexor is not a very powerful drug it can be boosted to much higher levels.

May I ask why your coming off Effexor? Upping the dosage to 150mg from 75mg just to come off the drug seems pretty unusual. Being on the drug for as long as you have it sounds like a chemical imbalance thats causing the depression; in which case youll want to stay with Effexor since it's worked for you in the past.

 
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Old 11-26-2008, 06:31 PM   #3
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Re: 5-HTP supplement for Effexor withdrawal?

Headaches, dizziness and such are very common when coming off ADs and that is why they want you to taper and not go cold turkey. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how to combat some of the issues. When I came off ADs I had to put up with withdrawal for a few weeks, then it lessened and I was fine. Good luck!

mustangcat;withdrawal is very common from these drugs (effexor is one of the more intense one from what I"ve read)

 
Old 11-26-2008, 07:31 PM   #4
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Re: 5-HTP supplement for Effexor withdrawal?

Effexor is NOT an SNRI, Effexor is an SSRI. Effexor CAN cause withdrawl. IMO, it doesn't need to be nacotics to cause withdrawl. Weaning off Effexor can cause it's own set of issues.

I totally agree with gbatweb about the withdrawl, I had major withdrawl TRYING to come off it. The oppretive word there WAS "trying". In my case I wasn't ready, though in MY MIND I was. To this day I am still on Effexor, though I am currently undergoing another wean as we speak. Now whether it be side effects/symptoms of withdrawl, or side effects/symptoms of anxiety/depression it doesn't really matter, what matters is you need to figure out which is your cause then go from there.

I also believe it depends who's caring for you while on prescribed meds. From my own expirience a GP doesn't know near what a psychiatrist does. ( I too had w/d from coming down from low dose with GP, though psychiatrist had me all the way up to 225 and has brought me back down to currently 150 where now I am just starting to feel the brain zaps, nausea, and dizziness.)

Special care is what is needed here as this is their area of expertise and they get into far more detail about what is actually going on. In turn you begin to understand, become more connected with your body, and realize what it takes to make a mind make a body function properly.

With that said I do agree with mustangcat in respects to not being ready to come off it. Though I don't know you , I suspect too you are probably NOT ready, as I myself have been down that road many a time.

I'd be real real careful with the 5-HPT and AD's at the same time. Check with doc to see if the 2 can be mixed. I have used 5-HPT before but not at the same time as Effexor.

Lastly, think of Effexor as a hormone to suppliment your Seritonin levels, not as a DRUG. The word sounds so harsh.

my 2cents,
tup

 
Old 11-26-2008, 07:54 PM   #5
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mustangcat HB User
Re: 5-HTP supplement for Effexor withdrawal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by imtuppence View Post
Effexor is NOT an SNRI, Effexor is an SSRI. Effexor CAN cause withdrawl. IMO, it doesn't need to be nacotics to cause withdrawl. Weaning off Effexor can cause it's own set of issues.

I totally agree with gbatweb about the withdrawl, I had major withdrawl TRYING to come off it. The oppretive word there WAS "trying". In my case I wasn't ready, though in MY MIND I was. To this day I am still on Effexor, though I am currently undergoing another wean as we speak. Now whether it be side effects/symptoms of withdrawl, or side effects/symptoms of anxiety/depression it doesn't really matter, what matters is you need to figure out which is your cause then go from there.

I also believe it depends who's caring for you while on prescribed meds. From my own expirience a GP doesn't know near what a psychiatrist does. ( I too had w/d from coming down from low dose with GP, though psychiatrist had me all the way up to 225 and has brought me back down to currently 150 where now I am just starting to feel the brain zaps, nausea, and dizziness.)

Special care is what is needed here as this is their area of expertise and they get into far more detail about what is actually going on. In turn you begin to understand, become more connected with your body, and realize what it takes to make a mind make a body function properly.

With that said I do agree with mustangcat in respects to not being ready to come off it. Though I don't know you , I suspect too you are probably NOT ready, as I myself have been down that road many a time.

I'd be real real careful with the 5-HPT and AD's at the same time. Check with doc to see if the 2 can be mixed. I have used 5-HPT before but not at the same time as Effexor.

Lastly, think of Effexor as a hormone to suppliment your Seritonin levels, not as a DRUG. The word sounds so harsh.

my 2cents,
tup
Tup you seem to have your facts mixed up.

Effexor IS an SNRI or SSNRI.

Withdrawl and 'Coming Off' a drug are two completely different things; withdrawl being an extreme.

Last edited by mustangcat; 11-26-2008 at 07:56 PM. Reason: revision

 
Old 11-27-2008, 12:51 AM   #6
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Wink Re: 5-HTP supplement for Effexor withdrawal?

In reply to ‘mustangcat’ I recognize I should have been more specific and state ‘discontinuation syndrome’ instead of withdrawal ;-)

As story goes I feel to share a little more on my medication background.
I suffered from undiagnosed depression since my adolescence (I am 48 now) and when I started consulting a psychiatrist in the early 80’s, He never wanted to hear about AD medication (ok, the SSRI where not around…) So I learned to cope with my condition the ‘hard way’ for another ten years… In the 90’s, with the beginning of internet, I discovered that some new medications where around (‘listening to prozac’ era). So I went to my GP and had a nice ‘green and white’ little pill prescription.
The results where amazing. My life totally changed in matter of month (that’s why I will never say anything bad about this type of medication, even if their success seems to be crippled by many overstated claims and under estimated long term usage issues!) .
After one year of ‘Prozac’ I wanted to stop to see what would happen. Everything went fine for about a year, but eventually the depression subtly started again. The Prozc has never worked again for me. My new psychiatrist wanted to try some other SSRI types but without much success either. After some personal investigation, I suggested Effexor (SNRI). This showed to be my new ‘miracle drug’ and worked perfectly. I have been on it (with a couple of years off) for many years now. However I always felt this medication was pretty strong for me and wanted to stay at minimum dosage (75mg).
Over time I started to feel it was affecting my cognition (ability to concentrate) and ‘numbness’ my emotions (aside from total loss of libido). I was ‘fed-up’ with this medication and wanted to stop. I did try to stop it by myself (I had no more psy. at the time) a couple of times. The first time I did it ‘cold turkey’ which was pretty successful (somewhat very disturbing) for about a month but it was interfering too much with my work to continue. A second time I tried to wean off gently for over a month (without major side effects) however when I stopped completely the side effects (nausea, dizziness, and strange feelings in the brain when moving) where so bad and started to feel very depressed so I had to resume taking effexor within a week. However the 75mg dose did not kicked in well, and I ‘survived’ in apathy land for some month.
Since then I went to consult a new psychiatrist (with experience in psychopharmacology)
My sole intention was to find another med or combo that would work for me.
But, in my experience, psychiatrists are very conservative people and all he could propose was to up my effexor dosage or switch me to cymbalta and eventually add some Remeron if needed (yurk!). However he mentioned the new class of meds called NARI’s. I did some research and it looked that this class could be more effective for ‘my type’ of depression. He agreed to start me on Reboxetine and I have to say that I am more than pleased with the effects.
So this is where I stand now.

To go back to the original subject, I think that effexor ‘discontinuation’ symptoms result from a depletion of serotonin that takes long time to overcome.
I am well aware of the ‘serotonin syndrome’ risks involved when combining ‘serotoninergic’ substances. however , has I mentioned, I am taking now 37.5 mg effexor (not XR) in the morning and I plan to take 50mg 5-HTP in the evening.
The reason I am asking in this forum instead of asking before to my psychiatrist is because I am sure of the formal ‘non advisable’ (and not useful) answer I will get from him….

Thank you for these forums and all of your input as I believe that sharing experiences with the people TAKING medications is as important as listening to who PRESCRIBE them.

 
Old 11-27-2008, 10:16 AM   #7
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Re: 5-HTP supplement for Effexor withdrawal?

Mustangcat

I stand corrected, sorry if I confusd anyone.

 
Old 12-01-2008, 12:33 AM   #8
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gebatweb HB User
Re: 5-HTP supplement for Effexor withdrawal?

Update on 5-HTP to counter Effexor withdrawal.

At day 5 of switching from Effexor to 5-HTP (2x 50mg) day. For me, this works great!

I first waited until I felt marked withdrawal side effects (shivers, dizziness and nausea) before taking 50mg 5-hTP. The withdrawal side effects diminished after ½ hour to totally disappear within 2 hours. 5-htp makes me drowsy and induced night long dreaming (that’s not an unbearable side effect!)

I feel very relaxed (physically and mentally). I am very pleased to notice that, after 4 days, occurrence of withdrawal symptoms from effexor reduced in frequency and intensity.

I do not advocate the use of 5-htp without medical supervision (and definitely not higher doses than recommended). But for me this seems to work.

All the best

 
Old 12-01-2008, 01:55 AM   #9
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Re: 5-HTP supplement for Effexor withdrawal?

This is why I have always said NO to Effexor or Paxil, the 2 most difficult meds of these kinds to taper off from.
Good luck, I know its hard!

Last edited by Mamasan2007; 12-01-2008 at 01:55 AM.

 
Old 11-28-2009, 09:54 PM   #10
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Re: 5-HTP supplement for Effexor withdrawal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mustangcat View Post
Tup you seem to have your facts mixed up.

Effexor IS an SNRI or SSNRI.

Withdrawl and 'Coming Off' a drug are two completely different things; withdrawl being an extreme.
I think you are talking semantics here. The Internet is crawling with accounts of "brain shakes" a slang for a weird kind of dizziness where eye movement or movement of the head causes dizziness and a difficult to describe spaciness. Headaches and a number of other withdrawal symptoms are also reported in large numbers.

I just found this forum looking for help with the withdrawal/coming down (whatever) of Cymbalta. I lost my health insurance in September and can no longer afford to take it. I have been taking 90 mg Cymbalta, 3 years and 150 mg for several years before that and Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro and a few others before that. Since 1988 I have been on one anti-depressant or another with the exception of a little less than 1 year in 1998 when depression rushed in quickly. I have never had side effects from any medicine except with Effexor and Cybalta. In fact, other than my experiences with Effexor or Cymbalta I thought I had the metabolism of a rhino.

In the years I took Effexor and Cymbalta I had a significant reduction in libido, and would experience these "brain shakes" if I took my dose even a few hours late. A couple of times I didn't get my prescription filled for a day or two and the brain shakes were so severe that I couldn't drive or focus on doing much of anything.

Now that I have to wean myself off without the assistance of a doctor the brain shakes and nausea are through the roof. I tapered off to 60 mg for 20 months then 30 mg for another month in a half. I ran out of the 30 mg about a month ago. I see no reduction in of the constant "brain shakes" and I feel stoned and dizzy constantly. I am unable to focus on anything at all. I am hoping there is some kind of supplement that can help me because seeing a doctor is not a financial option. I have read bits and pieces about 5-HTP, but there are no helpful, credible studies out there so I am looking for as much info as possible.

I don't care whether you call my "brain shakes" and nausea withdrawal or "coming off" symptoms (logically aren't they the same thing?), I just need some help.

Any info, even case examples of 5-HTP or other supplements easing my symptoms would be much appreciated.

 
Old 11-28-2009, 10:11 PM   #11
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Re: 5-HTP supplement for Effexor withdrawal?

Wow, your experiences are similar to mine, i.e. Prozac being the real deal when it first came out and your subsequent experience with Effexor. For me, Prozac worked for many years, but it just stopped working over time and bumping up the dose was useless. After trying many of them SSRI just didn't work for me. I was in a deep, long term depression and I have an anxiety disorder which was out of control.

Effexor worked well, but absolutely eliminated my libido and eventually, after surpassing the 150 mg dose I started having blood pressure problems so my general practitioner suggested Cymbalta. My apathetic psychiatrist said it was worth a try. I had a massive return of my libido while I was switching over, but unfortunately that was short lived. Cymbalta seems to have the same effect there, but hey, who needs a sex life? The blood pressure problems were completely eliminated and at first the "brain shakes" (yes, I know it is a colloquialism - but accurately descriptive) didn't occur if I was late taking my dose. That changed as well and after several months of weaning off of Cymbalta (I finally ran out a month ago) my symptoms from discontinuing Cymbalta are chart topping.

I feel stoned constantly (and it isn't even a fun kind of stoned). Aside from the "brain shakes" I have some nausea, my face, lips and tongue are numb (sometimes more intensely than others), the muscles in my face feel weak and I have occasional problems gripping and holding with my hands. After a month of being off of Cymbalta completely there is no sign that my symptoms are decreasing.

I don't have health insurance or money to visit a doctor. My husband's unemployment income is all we have and it is too much to qualify for Medicaid. It looks like it will be a few months before my husband can actually start a job so I need whatever suggestions for help I can get. I would appreciate it if you would update this thread as to your experience with 5-HTP if you get a chance.

And GetAWeb, how are you doing now?

 
Old 11-28-2009, 10:15 PM   #12
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Re: 5-HTP supplement for Effexor withdrawal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mamasan2007 View Post
This is why I have always said NO to Effexor or Paxil, the 2 most difficult meds of these kinds to taper off from.
Good luck, I know its hard!
These drugs are far too frequently prescribed, but when nothing else truly works they are worth a try. They both eliminated my suicidal ideations like a flipped switch. I do take issue with my former psychiatrist who put me on Effexor for the first time without really going through the drawbacks. He read me the standard instances of side effects published by the pharmaceutical company and never once mentioned difficulties when getting off of it. I guess he assumed I would stay on it forever.

 
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