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Old 07-11-2002, 12:55 PM   #1
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mjfabbro HB User
Long-term use and Effexor-XR

Hello,
I have been on Effexor-XR (150mg/BID; total of 300mg daily) since 1998. It was the only medicine that was, and still is, effective for my depression (Major Depression, chronic). I am interested in finding research and/or experiences of long-term usage and side-effects (consequences). For example, my therapist told me there is a connection between long-term use of SSRI's/Effexor and memory/cognitive loss. I am only 31 but I definetly have noticed a slow change in my ability to remember names, titles, schedules, etc. This loss of ability happened very slowly that I only recently noticed/recognized this change.
What else should I expect from long-term use of Effexor-XR? Any research out there to address long-term usage?
Thank you.

 
Old 07-12-2002, 03:18 PM   #2
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Gail HB User
Re: Long-term use and Effexor-XR

I too have been on Effexor XR since 1998 and take 375mg. I have often wondered the same thing because I have noticed changes in my memory and in my ability to learn in general. I sometimes think about taking some graduated level classes but then get frightened because of how my brain seems to work now. Let me know of anything you find on the web that gives info on this. I'd appreciate it.
Gail

 
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Old 07-15-2002, 02:55 PM   #3
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nlathers HB User
Re: Long-term use and Effexor-XR

Hi,
I have been on Effexor since 1997, currently 375 mg of XR and have suffered a SLIGHT diminishing of mental capacity/memory. I am 45 y.o. so some or all may be due to advancing age/other meds(Lamictal, Remeron, Seroquel, Risperdal, Trazodone, etc...). I have taken college courses and done well. Also I am a Software Developer and have picked up new programming languages
on my own with no problem, and I don't feel I have trouble concentrating while programming; perhaps some while reading but that was already true - that seems to be due to the depression.
To be quite honest, it may well be that if one of the symptoms of your depression is inability to concentrate, which is not an uncommon symptom, you may be better off taking the effexor after all. the reason I say this is because it seems that on days when I have forgotten to take my effexor in the morning, I have trouble concentrating later in the afternoon.
Final note: I don't think effexor is an ssri.
Good luck!
--N.L.

 
Old 07-16-2002, 03:43 PM   #4
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mjfabbro HB User
Re: Long-term use and Effexor-XR

Thanks for the responses!
Effexor-XR is a SNRI, inhibits the reuptake of serotonin, norepinphrine and also dopamine. SSRI's inhibits the reuptake of serotonin and dopamine. In both classes of drugs, dopamine may be affected, yet that is not the primary objective. In SSRI's, it is the serotonin, and in SNRI's it is serotinin and norepinphrine. These drugs (SSRI/SNRI) affect everyone differently as in any medication.

I am still searching for published medical/mental health journals in regards to the question of long-term effects of Effexor usage. This question also pertains to SSRI's. I personally am interested in the above, yet as a mental health therapist I would like to pass any information on to my clients if appropriate. Not only am I a therapist, I also see one myself. This has, I believe, allowed me to become a better therapist to others.

I understand that depression can decrease the ability to concentrate, as well as other cognitive and physical abilities. However, I personally found that I have a diminished capacity to retain simple short-term memories. Don't get me wrong, I can function and learn new tasks, yet it is something that I have noticed and don't think it has anything to do with my aging. My gut instinct tells me that there might be a legitimate connection between this and long-term usage of Effexor-XR. I believe my gut instincts are usually correct. In addition, I don't believe this symptom is connection to depression since I am not actively depressed. When I was extremely depressed my cognitive inability was awful, causing me to have severe difficulty completing graduate school. Yet the memory "thing" I am noticing now is something different. It is subtler and it is more "absentmindedness" than the haze and confusion of active depression. Well, that may only go for me ..... how I experience this whole journey.

Since SSRI's have been out on the market since the 1980's, and SNRI's later, I would have thought there would be research on their long-terms affects, and not just on depression. Maybe the pharmaceutical companies don't want to go there, and our doctors rely mostly on those companies for their prescribing information, etc.
Sorry I rambled on and on!!
I look forward to more responses and any information others may forward. Thank you.

[ ~~ mjfabbro, please ensure that you are familiar with and abide by the HealthBaords guidelines. It is not permissable to post details of commercial websites. ~~ Thanks, Minerva ]
<p>[This message has been edited by minerva (edited 07-16-2002).]

 
Old 07-16-2002, 04:00 PM   #5
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effexorjunkie HB User
Re: Long-term use and Effexor-XR

Notice my board name. I was on 300 mg for 2 years.
I recently detoxed. It took a very long time and was incredibly uncomfortable. However, I will say again, this was not a drug I should have been on. For me it was dangerous. There are others out there who have to depend on this drug as a final option, and if it works then the benefits out weigh the risks.
My theme song while on the drug was Pink Floyds' "Comfortably Numb"!
It simply depends on what works, why it works and THAT it works when prescribed by a knowledgeable physician.
Some of these drugs are incredibly addictive.
On the upside......my memory is very much improved, took awhile but I am thinking much clearer.
I still get electrical shocks and have some neuropathy but I can manage it.
It is so very hard to answer questions like this as we all have different issues, chemical make ups and metabolisms.

------------------
If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything.....

Everybody wants to be somebody in the world but remember, to somebody you ARE the world.

 
Old 07-16-2002, 10:24 PM   #6
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witherss HB User
Re: Long-term use and Effexor-XR

I have been taking Effexor XR for almost a year now. I started at 75 mg but needed an increase to 150 mg. That worked for about 6 months and now I am at 225 mgs. I am also taking Wellbutrin and Ritalin (no, I am not ADHD - Ritalin can (and does in my case) increase the effect of anti-depressants).

When depressed, I have a great deal of difficulty concentrating and focusing to the point that I feel paralyzed and just look at the things that need to be done, knowing I know how to do them but just being unable to do them at this time. I also have the problem with short term memory when depressed. That subsided after I had been on Effexor for a while, but sometimes it creeps back up . . .but maybe that is "normal" because everybody forgets things from time to time.

 
Old 07-18-2002, 09:57 PM   #7
 
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dhester59 HB User
Re: Long-term use and Effexor-XR

hi. I stopped my effexor 4 days ago. why in the hell is there such a medicine out there without any warning on it? this little paragraph has taken me 15 minutes to type. I just can't function. 300mg a day of the medicine from hell and I have flu like symptoms only magnified 100x help. for 2 years i was on it and then my insurance ran out and the cost of the drug is $281.00 for 1 mo. which is worse, the $ or my life?

[ ~~ dhester59, discussion of suicidal feelings is beyond the scope of this Board. If you are feeling suicidal, please click on the "If you are feeling suicidal click here" link on the Depression Board topics page and seek professional help.~~ Wishing You Health and Happiness, Minerva ]<p>[This message has been edited by minerva (edited 07-19-2002).]

 
Old 07-18-2002, 10:15 PM   #8
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ffsmith HB User
Re: Long-term use and Effexor-XR

dhester59

I feel what you are saying. I was on for a 2 months and went of for 2 days and got sick. My 150 mg is $82 and that is to much for me.

My doctor says that it is a lot better that street drugs because the lows will not get lower.

That may be true but I can not justify the medication.

I am so scared of what you describe that I feel worse a lot of the time


Tomorrow will be better?

 
Old 07-21-2002, 12:50 PM   #9
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Gail HB User
Re: Long-term use and Effexor-XR

hester,
Can you get samples from you doctor? I often got those when I couldn't afford the prescriptions. I am now on medicaid and only pay $3 for every prescription. There is no way I could afford all my meds if I had to pay for them myself.
Check with you doc for samples or for assistances from the drug manufacturer.
Gail

 
Old 07-21-2002, 06:48 PM   #10
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effexorjunkie HB User
Re: Long-term use and Effexor-XR

dhester, I competely understand what you are going through.
Sometimes our doctors don't tell us all of the ramifications of withdrawal on specific drugs.
I did not like the feeling I had on the drug and there were two reasons I chose to stop.
The first was that it simply kept me from having a real life. Just the motions of one.
The second was the price and the knowlege of side effects, what would I do when I could no longer afford it?
This was actually the first drug ever prescribed for me so I did not know in the beginning.
Now, in saying that, I do know people so profoundly anxious and depressed that this was the only drug to really help them. They will have to take it life long.
These are people who cannot work, are on disability and always will be.
This was and is not the case with me. So imagine my surprise after tapering when I was blind sided with major withdrawals. I was angry and scared.
I posted here-------over and over and over through each series of sweats.
Just depends I guess.

 
Old 07-23-2002, 10:28 PM   #11
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mjfabbro HB User
Re: Long-term use and Effexor-XR

Dear dhester59,
I, like you, have attempted to decrease the milligrams of Effexor-XR, instead of 150mg twice daily to 150mg once daily. Just like you I was so ill with flu like symptoms. It was HORRIBLE, so I said, “screw it” and went back to the normal dosage (of course all this was supervised by my doctor). I just wasn’t ready to go through those withdrawal symptoms yet. I wasn’t warned about them either. My doc just said, “Effexor is one of the hardest meds to wean off of.” That was all he said……. evidently he never had to wean off it himself!!!
Below are some web pages where one can get assistance with obtaining their meds cheaply/or even free. I am also going to start using the assistance plan offered by Wyeth, since I don’t have health insurance and my prescription costs $190 a month. Good Luck and keep your head up!
mjfabbro
WYETH PHARMACEUTICALS Patient Assistance Program Patient Assistance ProgramP.O. Box 13806 Philadelphia, PA 19101

Toll Free Phone Number 800-395-9938
Alternate Phone Number 800-568-9938
Fax Number n/a
Guidelines and Notes Controlled substances or injectibles such as Ativan and Serax, Equinal, Wygesic are NOT covered under the program. Program is for those who have no prescription insurance.
Initiating Enrollment Will send form to a doctor's office or social worker, and it can be copied. Original of form is a tri-fold self-mailer, and is easier to use.
Health Provider's Role Doctor completes and signs.
Patient's Role Minimal information required, would be on-file already.
How Dispensed Sends medicine to doctor's office. Takes about 3-6 weeks for processing.
Amount Dispensed Three month supply
Refills Re-apply..
Limit Indefinitely


NEW Pharmaceutical Discount Card Comparison
Multiple pharmaceutical companies participate in Together Rx, each with its individual savings program.
Together Rx Card offers:
Savings of approximately 20-40% off the amount you usually pay for prescriptions and, in many cases, substantially more.*
Acceptance at many retail pharmacies starting June 2002.

<p>[This message has been edited by minerva (edited 07-24-2002).]

 
Old 07-23-2002, 10:32 PM   #12
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mjfabbro HB User
Re: Long-term use and Effexor-XR

~~ mjfabbro, please ensure that you are familiar with and abide by the HealthBaords guidelines. It is not permissable to post details of commercial websites. ~~ Thanks, Minerva ]


[This message has been edited by minerva (edited 07-16-2002).]

***Sorry minerva....just saw your edit after posting a website about assistance plans for prescriptions....
I thought passing on knowledge was okay....
I will look at healthboards guidelines
mjfabbro

 
Old 07-23-2002, 10:56 PM   #13
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effexorjunkie HB User
Re: Long-term use and Effexor-XR

If it were just 'flu like' symptoms I could have breezed thru it. More like 'captain trips' if you ask me. I am a really strong person and this totally knocked me down, I felt like a junkie.
Flu like is the precursor-------you hadn't gotten to the 'fun' part yet!
And for those of you who need this medication, don't let my experience deter you if it is working, but for those who don't need it--------no way.

 
Old 07-23-2002, 11:04 PM   #14
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mjfabbro HB User
Re: Long-term use and Effexor-XR

Hi Effexorjunkie,
Your right, I did not wait long enough to feel more severe symptoms.
I am wondering what symptoms you experienced....when I do try to get off the medicine I want to be "somewhat" prepared. Thanks

 
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