I've been prescribed Effexor to add to the Serzone which isn't helping enough. I took one dose then began doing some web search and have read hundreds of horror stories about withdrawal. My depression has been very severe, but I'm not sure it's bad enough to risk the future withdrawal problems. I'd appreciate any advice from Effexor users who have tried to wean off of Effexor.
I had taken Effexor about 5 years ago. I was on it for close to a year. One day I just decided to stop taking it cause I didn't think I needed it anymore. For about 2 weeks after stopping the Effexor, the only withdrawal symptom I had was these strange dizzy flashes. They would last a fraction of a second, and they didn't harm me, they were more of a nuisance(sp?) than anything. Anytime I would be active it would happen. But that was the only side affect that I noticed.
In my opinion, the withdrawal syndrome associated with discontinuing Effexor (and Paxil) is not worth its therapeutic benefits. From what I've read, 40% of people who discontinue Effexor suffer the withdrawal syndrome, which starts when you begin weaning off the medication and can last anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months after your last dose. What really disturbs me, even more than the debilatating physical symptoms (nausea, vertigo, brain shocks, aching joints/muscles, etc.) is the depressive crash.
I think that Effexor should only be used as a second line of defence, when a large number of other drug therapies have been tried first and failed, and only if the person is suffering from severe depression.
FYI - it took me 5 weeks to wean off 300 mg/day of Effexor (the side-effects were too severe to do it any quicker and it was causing hypertension so I had to do it fast), and I was so sick (physically and emotionally) that I had to quit work and go on medical leave - the depressive crash was bizzare and intense - I was constantly weaping and even suicidal one day (and I've never gone there before).
Part of the problem is that very few doctors/psychiatrists are aware of the withdrawal syndrome, how debilatating it is or how long lasting, and don't understand (or believe) what their patients are going through and don't know how to treat it.
I feel that I must also mention that when I stopped taking the Effexor and really didn't have much of a problem with withdrawal, I believe mine was a rare case. Apparently the norm with stopping this medication is a horrible withdrawal. I guess I should have worded my first post differently!! Please be very careful if you're going to stop taking it. Get whatever info online that you can! Good Luck.
I withdrew from Paxil twice. It worked very well for me the first time, but I came off because of my fear of weight gain. If you wean off extremely gradually, it is not that bad. So if it takes 4 to 6 weeks to come off Effexor and the med has helped you, it is definitely worth it in my opinion. Some people never come off.[Just my humble opinion]
I had a great experience with the Serzone/Effexor combo for over a year and a half. It worked very well to treat my GAD and dysthymia with very minimal side effects. When I decided to go off, I tapered VERY slowly and had no withdrawal symptoms until I went off completely. The first two days were pretty bad, but by the end of a week, the withdrawal was pretty much gone. I definitely think for me the benefits were worth it though my experience may also not be the "norm". Everyone is different and you may be one of the lucky ones.