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Weaning off Effexor

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Old 06-04-2006, 08:26 AM   #1
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jacritch HB User
Weaning off Effexor


I have asked my Doctor to start weaning me off effexor at the end of the month. He was a little reluctant giving what my life has been this past year, but I really want to try to live my life w/o an anti-depressant. I would like to know the kinds of experiences, (good, or bad) that I can expect weaning off of Effexor.

To give you a little history: In August of 2000 my son was diag. w/ schizophrenia. He was on and off his meds so much and threatening to kill us that he spent almost all of 2004 in a state hospital.

In January of 05 I fell at work and hurt my back.

In May of 05 my grandson was taken away from my daughter (because of her neglect and drug use) and she gave him up to the state. My husband and I stepped in and he came to live with us.

In June of 05, my husband who was very healthy started having pains in his chest. He went to the hospital and 12 hours later he was paralyzed. They diag. him w/ Transverse Myelitis. He was in the hospital and rehab for 7 weeks and then home in a wheel chair for another month.

In July of 05, my daughter was diag. w/schizophrenia.

In August of 05 my mother very sick mother came to my house to die. She wanted to be around family and not die in the hospital. I couldn't deny her that. I was blessed to have had her w/us until the end. She had suffered from congestive heart failure for years. She died on my husband and my 15th wedding anniversary.

In Sept. of 05 my daughter came to live w/us.

In Nov. of 05 I had a lower back fusion w/hardware.

The year was a tough one, but we struggled through it. We are all in a much different place now then we were a year ago. I couldn't have gotten through it w/o my therapist and my husband. My son is doing very well. He is clean and sober, lives in a group home and works every day. My husband is walking (w/a limp) and he is back to work. My daughter has her own apartment and is on her meds and has her son back. My back operation was a success.

I have been on an anti-depressant for about 4 years. I tried zoloft and when it stopped working I was put on effexor. I am currently on 150 mg. a day. I want to get off from it. I think that I have overcome a lot in one year w/the help of anti-depressants that now everything is going well in my life. I feel very blessed for that, and it's time to try it on my own. I have heard some horror stories of going off of this med. I would like some insight on what to expect
when I start weaning.

Sorry for the long post! Just wanted to give you some insight of what I have been through these past few years.


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Old 06-04-2006, 09:52 AM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,370
Re: Weaning off Effexor

Hi Judy,

My goodness you have been through a lot -- and all is such a small amount of time.

I have tapered off all my meds. Now I had been on A LOT of meds for well over a decade. When I reached the point of tapering off, I was on 6 to 8 things (depending on the day) every day. So I don't know whether the time I was on the drugs, and how many I was on affected my withdrawal process.

It took me 10 months to taper off of everything including the Effexor. I had to go extremely slow because I was working at the same time.

It is said that you should cut back by no more than 10% every one to two weeks. I took granules out of the capsules to taper. I would prepare one week's worth of capsules with the same amount of granules taken out of each one. It was the hardest once I got below 37.5 mg, so I had to go even slower. When I stopped, I was taking 6 granules a day.

It's important through this process to get lots of rest, eat well, avoid sugar and caffeine as much as possible, and don't overdo on the supplements (don't take more than the daily dose of any supplements during this period).

Benedryl helps a lot with any Vertigo, dizziness, nausea. Compazine also helps with nausea -- but you need a prescription for it.

I went through lots of different withdrawal effects, not all at the same time. And periods of depression that I believe were more related to my body adjusting to living without the meds. I have been off everything now for 19 months and I have never felt better. And I was someone that was diagnosed early in life with depression and was told I would have to be on meds for life.

I have an old thread that documents a lot of my early struggles getting off the meds if you ever want to kill some time. "Trying life without ADs, losing weight gained while on ADs... fighting depression..." (warning: it's 88 pages)

Most of all, remember to be patient and kind with yourself through this process. Let me know if I can help in any way.

Take care.

Old 06-04-2006, 03:36 PM   #3
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jacritch HB User
Re: Weaning off Effexor


Thank you so much for your weaning process. I was on Paxil for a while and that was awful to come off of. Sounds as if this may be the same. It will be worth it. I really feel awful on it right now. I feel tired and blah.
I don't like the feeling. I want my natural endorphins to kick in and feel alive again.

Thanks so much and take care. Congrats, on being med free for 19 months.


Old 06-04-2006, 06:18 PM   #4
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beach4me HB User
Re: Weaning off Effexor

I was weaned after six weeks. I did it very slowly and except for headaches, I did it successfully. Asprin was great for the headaches.

I too wanted to come off ADs. I was off six months and then hit a major depression episode. The worst one yet. But on effexor, I felt tired and "flat".

So, my new Dr, put me on lamictal, along with Provigal, with 75 mg of Effexor. I feel the best I have felt in 19 years. I had forgotten how it felt to feel "normal".

You have had a very tough year....I wish you the very best. If you do have to return to AD's. I would try and vist a psy Dr. and not a General Dr. It made all the difference in my case.

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