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Effexor Side Effects


Effexor and Effexor SR (venlafaxine hydrochloride) are antidepressants marketed by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. In August 2006 the generic form of venlafaxine hydrochloride went on the market.

Effexor and Effexor SR are approved to treat depression, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. They have also been used off-label to treat migraines, diabetic neuropathy, and hot flashes.

According to the official Effexor XR website, common side effects may include nausea, dizziness, sleepiness, sweating, dry mouth, gas, abnormal vision, nervousness, insomnia, loss of appetite, constipation, confusion, agitation, tremors, yawning, palpitations, and increased cholesterol.

More serious side effects may include increased heart rate, extreme confusion, seizures, abnormal bleeding or bruising, sudden eye pain, eye redness, changes in vision, and mania or hypomania.

This space is provided for you to share your side effects (or lack thereof) and experiences with Effexor and Effexor SR by posting a comment below.

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Comments (623) | Leave a comment

My doctor started me out on Effexor XR very slowly. She gave me the usual sample pack containing a weeks supply of 37.5mg capsules and a weeks worth of 75mg capsules BUT also gave me 3 more 7 day strips of the 37.5mg. She told me to take 37.5 mg a day for 3 weeks and then move up to the 75. After only a couple of days I noticed jaw clenching, sharp "electric" pains in my eyes (not constantly, but several times throughout the day), constipation, problems with thermoregulation, night sweats, vivid dreams, a waning libido (even more so than before for me), and inability to achieve orgasm. My depression and anxiety has always been pretty mild, so these side effects were not worth what little good this medication could offer. After very recent blood tests, my doctor discovered that my testosterone and other hormonal levels are low/off, which is more than likely the reason why I was having symptoms of depression, listlessness, and lack of interest in life all together. After only 2 weeks of taking 37.5mg a day I stopped taking Effexor. All of the side effects that I had experienced went away within around 2 days after discontinuing use except for the electric shock eye pains, which took a couple of weeks to stop. I am glad to say that since my doctor is focusing on the real problem (my hormones) I have felt much better and am not taking any antidepressant at all. I just think that in so many cases Doctors are eager to jump the gun and tell their patients that they are depressed or anxious when there could be other problems going on that they don't even consider. If you are a guy, even a young guy (I'm currently 28), and suffer from mild to moderate depression and or anxiety, by all means, have your hormones checked out. After blood tests and an MRI, it turns out the root of my problem was/is an underactive hypothalamus (without tumor or growth), which led to low testosterone production.

Posted by Dane Reeves on October 2, 2006 6:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

Dana I have been taking Effexor for only 3 days now, due to breakdowns in depression. I have also noticed a few of the side effects that you had, such as the funny feeling in my jaw, feeling sickly but more important to me, I cannot achieve orgasm. I have never had any of these probs before so im deffinately going to see my doctor about changing meds

Posted by Karl.B.Seymour on September 3, 2013 2:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

Having had serious brain injury 4 years ago, had no real satisfaction with anything until Effexor xr. Found myself a little too happy and a little, out of it,so recomended lower the dosage to half, 75 mg. This has made a marked inmprovement on just feeling more normal and has still retained a clearer mind that I never had before taking Effexor xrWonder wether a further drop to 35mg, in time will help?

Posted by gil on October 2, 2006 6:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

I'm a 30 yo woman and I've been on Effexor XR for about 6 years now. I started slowly with the 37.5 mg, and then I slowly upped to where I am now (75mg/twice a day - total of 150mg daily).

I'm clinically depressed with high anxiety and serious suicidal thoughts/tendancies and you could throw a little obsessive/compulsive disorder in there, too. About 4 days after I started taking the Effexor, it was like a light got turned on. I never knew that people didn't think about suicide all the time. I guess "regular" people don't.

I'm sad that I have been on this drug for so long, but after discussions with my doctor and my mom's doctor (she's like me - but she's on Pamelor or something like that), I've come to realize that I may never go off it. I'm not a situationally depressed person...I'm a clinically depressed person.

Side effects...I've never really noticed any side effects, EXCEPT when I forget to take a dosage. I get thrown into withdrawal pretty quickly with "brain fuzzies" (only way I can describe them) and the anxiety/depression/ocd really come on like gang-busters. I guess it's a "rebound" effect.
OH, just reading the side effects up top, I realize that my cholesterol is pretty high. I'm working with my doctor to lower it without additional medications.

I am concerned that Effexor is not appropriate for pregnant women, and I've never had children, but I'd like to...so that is a concern. My health or a baby's? Tough one.

I have been very satisfied on Effexor XR, and I have no desire to switch to another medication or even to stop taking this one. Situationally depressed people (and misdiagnosed people) may find other remedies that are better for them. I think that I'm exactly the type of person this was designed for, and it works beautifully for me.

Good luck making your decision!
Doxiemom.

Posted by Doxiemom on October 2, 2006 8:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

I'm so glad to see another person who is happy with this medication!
I have suffered from an extreme form of Generalized Anxiety Disorder for my entire life which lead to symptomatic behaviours in my teen years - eating disorders, self harm, substance abuse.
Since being diagnosed and with the help of Effexor XR (150mg/day) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with my psychologist I am happy and healthy.
I experience no side effects (except like you said - when I miss a dose) and I am fully capabale of living a full life - University, work and a full and glorious social life. This medication has literally turned my life around.
I have read a lot of people saying that it is the worst thing in existance and I believe that it just isn't for everyone. But I'm grateful that it does exist for people like myself.

Posted by HappyHealthy on May 22, 2012 10:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

this medication also has been a life saver for me...the only one that works for me and i am on 37.5mg ONCE a day!

Posted by Anonymous on December 27, 2012 5:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

I'm 22 and I've been taking antidepressants like effexor for around 2 years. I've skipped yesterday's and today's dosage of Effexor because I haven't had the time to pick more up from my mom's house. "Brain fuzzies" is the perfect description of how I am feeling and my anxiety sky rockets to the point where I can't leave my apartment.

Posted by Joanna on March 27, 2013 2:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

I know this drug works for some people, but for me, the side effects were far more detrimental than any benefits - there's a petition on the web to force Wyeth to disclose all the undisclosed side effects about this insidious drug. And yes, it DOES cause anorgasmia - not just impotence - in males. Effexor has supposed anti-anxiety properties, but while I was on it, I had perpetual panic attacks. I also have ADD/ADHD, which Effexor is supposed to have a positive effect upon; but, as with my PTSD, the effect was nil. I was prescribed Effexor for depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, and migraine. The results? First weight loss, which was bad because I was previously anorexic, then a 35 lbs weight gain. I became a whale. Also agitation/night terrors/panic attacks, inability to sleep more than 4 hours a night, nightmares, impotence + anorgasmia, suicidality - I was in a psych ward for 3 days. After 11 months, I said enough. 15 months later, I've lost 15 of the 35 lbs. that help to cause me to lose acting and modeling gigs (some antidepressant, huh?), am on Prozac and back on a small dose of Ritalin, which I was taken off of while I was on Effexor (which everyone who knows me said was a disaster - even my therapist). My psychopharm won't prescribe both Ritalin and Klonopin, which I'd taken for years with no problems, so anxiety remains an issue, but certainly it's far less worse than while I was on Effexor. Beware of Wyeth!

Posted by Mark H on October 2, 2006 10:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

Effexor will lift some dangerous depressions but, like many medications for serious illnesses, its side effects are not benign.

I don't get better from depression and anxiety without pills. My careful, brilliant, kind doctor prescibed these but they do support weight gain and low libido. I was taking 150, then 75, and now 37.5 per day
Effexor along with Wellbutrin 300 per day. Both of there are extended release.

I wonder, sometimes, if the side effects we attribute to Effexor are really nasty symptoms of depression which hide behind nastier symptoms of depression and then jump out at as when we are partly getting well. I'd like to read opinions on this.

Depression will ruin you. Loss of libido will nearly ruin you. I'd rather have the silver bullet cure but...

Posted by withheld, sorry on October 2, 2006 2:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

I was on Effexor XR for 1 year. It worked wonders for me. The only side effect I had while on them was weight gain (about 25lbs)That is why I went off of them. The side effects coming off them were not pleasant, but I survived. The withdrawals were like little electric shocks in my head, and also when ever I turned my head from side to side I got dizzy. It lasted about 2 weeks and then it was gone. I have since been on Zoloft 100 mgs a day for about a year for depression and anxiety. I am starting to wean off the Zoloft now and hope that I will not need it anymore. My advice is if you need this medication (Effexor) then try it. What have you got to lose. It really helped me.

Posted by Dana on October 2, 2006 2:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

For me the side-effects of this drug were manageable. I suffered from nausea, brain zaps, headache and excessive yawning for the first week or two. After that those things subsided (unless I missed or was late taking a dose).
When it came time for me to discontinue the drug, the situation became much more grave. I can honestly say that I have never felt so sick in my life. Brain zaps, nausea, insomnia, shortness or breath, headache - and all of these to an extreme extent which had me lying in bed literally writhing in discomfort. I have never cried so much or been so terified in my life. It is my firm belief that any psychiatrist or general practitioner prescribing this drug make patients aware of just how difficult it might be in order to come off of Effexor XR. My psychiatrist prescribed this for me very nonchalantly and prescribed it for panic attacks. I think I've had more panic attacks out of the sheer terror of trying to discontinue this drug than I ever did before starting treatment.
This is the last time I will ever take an antidepressant. I hope that nobody else ever has to go through what I have. If you are taking this drug and want to go off of it, I urge you to wok with your doctor to develop a weaning schedule (cold turkey is dangerous), and I also uge you to seek out online support groups. The people who participate in such groups are really the only ones who can understand what the withdrawal from this drug is like.

Posted by Kristin on October 2, 2006 3:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

I completely agree. Whenever I miss a dose I feel so messed up, it is just terrible. I tried to slowly get off it once, and I laid in bed crying, uncontrollably shaking, sweating, throwing up and it never ended. Finally after three days of feeling like this I decided I couldn't put up with the withdrawal symptoms anymore. Even though it has helped me with my depression, I don't need them anymore and it is close to impossible for me to get off them

Posted by Melanie on March 12, 2012 11:41 AM | Permalink | Reply


hi Melanie, i have been trying to ween myself off effexor i was at 150, then 75 and a few days ago with the help o my doctor im at 37, while i'm at work i feel awful dizzy, nauseous and really tires so tonight i upped my dosage back to 75mg. I wish i could get off this medicine I guess i will have to wait until i retire about 5 yrs... I didnt realize it made you gain weight i just thought it was me. Thanks

Posted by Anonymous on May 3, 2012 12:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

I was on effexor for almost a decade - at 75mgs, and after 2 weeks of hell, I am happy to report that I am clean! I knew that the effexor had stopped working years before, but like many of you, I was completely addicted to it....I had a choice - to raise the amount I was on, or stop it all together. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. I lay horizontally for almost 2 straight weeks b/c my head was so messed up...I had horrible brain zaps/dizziness/nausea. I promptly lost 20 lbs....luckily my family stepped in to assist with my kids etc...the side effects do pass and I tell ya, it was the best thing i've ever done for myself. I feel awakened!

Posted by Anonymous on August 3, 2012 9:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on many anti-depressants, both ssri's and mono amine re-uptake inhibitors and have tried Effexor XR 300 mg for a few years. Although my depression was helped (in fact I will say it saved my life) it was mostly a blunting of emotion.
I found that it was hard to become motivated to do anything that was an interest to me before.
Although this 'amotivation' is also a part of depression.
I also could not miss a dose or 2 or all hell would break lose, with headaches and dizziness and nuasea which would only ease after going back on it. When I changed to Lexapro it took a long time (weeks) to get over the wash out side effects of brain zaps and dizzy nausea headaches from the Effexor XR. It was terrible to put it mildly.
I would say, in hindsight, I would not have taken it to begin with but I was in a bad state and would have tried anything to ease the hell I was in.
Although Effexor actually saved my life, it does have its draw backs, but I know that when the black dog is tearing out your heart you will try anything for some peace. Also I find that I was at the 'mercy' of my doctor who prescribed it.
I do trust my doctor though and I suppose that they are also at the mercy of the current knowledge about these drugs. I do often wonder what they would prescribe if these drugs were tested on them first!

Posted by Glen on October 3, 2006 2:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

Like all of the other people who posted here, I too, take Effexor XR. I have been on and off of it for about 8 years. More on than off. However, I get so peeved when people get upset about the side effects, etc. READ THE INSERT that comes with the sample packs that the physian give you. All possible side effects are listed. They only list the side effects that were most prevalent in the studies. Remember, taking this drug, or any is a foreign substance and everyone will react differently to it!
I am on Effexor XR 75mg 2x/day for Panic Disorder and it has worked - just like they say it should. Well, so should have Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Remeron and Wellbutrin. It's all about finding out what works for you.

I did get off of the drug a couple of years ago for about a year and it wasn't pleasant. Withdrawls weren't pleasant - hence why they are called withdrawls - people get them from alcohol and caffeine. I had that foggy feeling and brain zaps, I also felt what I say to be my nerves running through my body. You have to be patient and get off of the drug VERY SLOWLY. Took me about 2 months to do it comfortably. My doctor actually switched me to regular Effexor so that I was able to cut the pill in quarters and then eigths - yes eights. It worked & I survived - enough to know that about a year later I got back on it. Even after experiencing the withdrawls. Whatever gets you through each day. Remember 9/11? Love it or leave it alone.

Posted by Kati on October 3, 2006 5:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

I started taking Effexor Xr over a year ago. I suffer from anxiety. I've had many side effects: tinnitus(ear ringing)I freaked out the first night, but doesnt bother me anymore, I am just used to it I guess. Constipation is very bad! Ive never had constipation before. I get bruises easily, so I have to be careful not to take aspirin... It gave me insomnia for months, I used to sleep only a few hours a night, wake up very early. I did move a lot in my sleep,kicked my husband all night... but now I take my medication in the morning, so I do not have insomnia anymore. Sometimes get mild headaches. I do get crazy nightmares... especially if i lower the dose. But,even with those side effects, I feel so much better, have so much more energy. I think its worth the side effects. I take 75 mg a day. Most of my anxiety is gone!

Posted by Pascale on October 4, 2006 7:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

I just started Effexor xr 4 days ago. 9 hrs of sleep in 3 days but feel great, weird! My doc. has put me on many dep. meds. in the past and I would stop taking them because I was tired and that felt alot like depression in it's self. I am rx Effexor xr the beginning dose for 7 days and the second day I felt it, haven't ate in 3 days and I feel less mad alot less mad, I see still why I was angry but have no real reaction to it, My friend and 4 kids went out all day and they weren't good!!!!!! AT ALL, and I stayed cool and it actually worked in my favor, my friend however was yelling and complaining the whole time, really that made me realize how I looked and how much this rx works so fast. I also have (since they have no Idea what's wrong w me) (sorry 4 the spelling) Fibermyelgia and this is supposed to help with muscular and nerve pain. I have heard so many bad things about withdrawl but I went cold turkey on prozac and it sounds the same, brain zaps, weakness, RLS,RAS, ECT.. You know. My way to explain it was it felt like out of no where a ghost past through me and stole my energy and left me confused, I know it sounds weird...but it really is. Good luck to everyone and myself since I'm on day 4. ;)

Posted by nic on June 16, 2012 9:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

i would say DO NOT EVER take this evil drug!! It poisons your system!!! I was on and off it for 7 years after suffering horrendous withdraws every time i came off them so was put back on them being told i was 'depressed' and never once told of the withdraws that could occur..... I only found out 6 months after coming off them this time - horrendous brain zaps, dizzyness, anxiety, tightness in chest, ringing in ears, mood swings,flu like symptoms -sometimes I actually felt like i was dying........ wouldn't go back on this drug if you paid me!! I am now 9 months down the line and still suffering with a lot of dizzyness and anxiety ......

Posted by Anonymous on October 8, 2006 2:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor for 5 years and I wanted to go off of it about two years ago. After trying and failing because the side effects were sooo bad I decided to stay on it. I began using effexor for just minor depression but mostly anxiety. Dont get me wrong the medicine worked great and definitely helped my anxiety, but being dependent on any drug is not healthy. This time I gradually decreased my doses from 250 to 37.5 at which the only real side effects i had at this point was nausea and some slight dizziness for the first two days after reducing. So the time came to drop the hatchet after a few weeks and stop the 37.5 doses. And this is when you come to the realization that effexor xr/effexor may have helped but needs to be outlawed and taken completely off the market. Between the nausea, dizziness, nightmares, brain tremors, and feeling like a zombie I'm trying to keep my strength and positive outlook that I can make it off this crappy drug. And of course still trying maintain a normal life and work schedule in the mean time makes this even harder. Thank my lucky stars I have a great boyfriend who is completely reassuring that makes this alot easier to handle. I am going to try to give this a week before I seek further attention from my family doctor. I may event try Benadryl which I heard helps reduce the side effects. I def stress however that you keep in contact with your doctor when going off this medication. Especially to help with side effects and to give any two cents that could help prevent her/him from prescribing this drug again!

Posted by Erin on November 1, 2006 8:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

hi, im 16 years of age and i have been having a bad time on these meds. i got very sick, still am trying to get better, This drug did help at 1ST BUT NOW IT'S DOES NOT AT ALL. ALL I AM NOW IS VERY SICK!

Posted by chistine on November 17, 2006 8:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

I AM A RECOVERING ALCOHOLIC/DRUG ADDICT,CLEAN FOR ABOUT 2 YEARS. I HAVE ALWAYS SUFFERED FROM ANXIETY AND DEPRESS. ( IM 36 ) AND HAVE PTSD. I WENT THROUGH MOST OF THE ANTI/DEPRESS. (PAXIL, ELAVIL,WELLBUTRIN,DOXEPIN, ALL HAD TO BE DISCONTINUED DUE TO SIDE EFFECTS. (CELEXA NEARLY KILLED ME!, I BELIEVE I STOPPED JUST IN TIME! I ALSO ABUSED ALCOHOL THROUGHOUT MY 20's. I JUST GAVE UP ON A.D's AND REMAINED TAKING 30 MG METHADONE FOR PAIN (FIBRO?) AND A FRACTURED JAW. YES, I TORE MYSELF UP. JUST THIS PAST OCT. I ENDED UP IN VOLUNTARY INPATIENT WHERE I SAW A RUSSIAN DR. WHO STRAIGHT OUT SET ME UP W. EFFEXOR TABS (37.5) AND REMERON (15 MG) GUESS WHAT. AFTER 5 YR.s OF SEVERE PAIN AND DEPR./ANX/INSOMNIA I FINALLY SLEPT ALL NIGHT AND AWOKE W. NO PAIN OR ANX. PLUS, I WAS ABLE TO TITRATE UP TO 75 MG B.I.D. I HAVE BEEN ON THIS REGIMEN FOR 3 MONTHS W. NO ADVERSE EFFCTS! I WAS TOLD BY SOMEONE YR's AGO TO CONT. TRYING THE A.D.s UNTIL YOU FIND THE ONE FOR YOU AND I GOT LUCKY I SPPOS. I ONLY CAN COMPLN. ABOUT EJAC/DELAY BUT IM A GUY. I HAVE ALSO MISSED DOSES W. NO PROBS. I JUST HOPE THAT WHEN THE TIME COMES TO CEASE THERAPY, I DONT EXPERIENCE THE WELL DOCUMENTED HELL DESCRBD ABOVE! I SINCERLY HOPE THOSE SUFFERING NOW WILL FIND THE CORRECT TREATMENT. I WILL BE PRAYING FOR YOU ALL!

Posted by vincent on November 29, 2006 3:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

I am a 40 years old, I been in Effexor XR for 6 1/2 years. The highest I ever was on was 15omg the last 9 months has been 75mg. Most of the 6 years have been okay, but the last few months I really notice a serious weight gain probably in the last 2 years I have put 0n 35 pounds that I definatly did not need. I never sleep good for the last 6 years, I blamed it on other things going on in my life the weight gain too, but know I am starting to relize this medicine is a part of it!! At my physical in JAN.I am going to try a slow ween off this stuff. Wish me luck sounds like it is not easy from what everyone says. DJS

Posted by DJ simpson on December 25, 2006 6:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been taking Effexor XR for two months for migraine, but experienced mood changes, agitation and very severe breathing problems. Have now spent the last three weeks trying to come off it as quickly as possible and am down to about 20mg - no side effects coming off until now except worse mood swings, but now I'm sick to my stomach. I'd really like to know if anyone else had trouble breathing while on this horrible drug.

Posted by SR on December 26, 2006 8:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on many different antidepresents over the past ten years including zoloft,luvox,aropax and advanza.
i was on advanza fof about 3 yrs it helped to stop my mind constantly thinking and helped me sleep and stay asleep.i have just started effexor xr a week ago .The first few days ifelt less hungry than i have ever felt as advanza made me stack on weight.I was told that effexor should be different but after only a week my appetite seems to be returning but not a much.I wasnt aware of how bad coming of them can be but if they work i may stay on it for ever.I spoke to someone else on effexor and they raved about how good it was but they were on it for hot flushes.I felt sedated on it so tonight am trying it at night.My doctor said the sedation should pass and i should take it in the morning.I wish i new what is best but only time will tell.All medicines affect people diferent and i hope effexor works im sick of playing roulet with my brain and dont want to gain weight any more.I take 75mg a day.

Posted by mel on December 27, 2006 5:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

I was on Effexor for a year for anxiety attacks. I stated to lose weight but my appetite came back after a week or so. I slept better at night but on weekends I mostly slept. Due to sleeping too much I wasn’t moving around as much as I should have and I managed to put on 30 pounds over that year. I ate as I normally did but seemed to pack on pounds with ease. I was already over weight but being on Effexor made it worse.
Now I am off these meds and feel much better. I have more energy and don’t take naps anymore. Now I have to fight to get these 30 pounds I managed to put on after being on Effexor.

Posted by Amanda on December 27, 2006 10:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

How was the withdrawl? I am having the same side effects as you, but I also have been having memory loss and feeling confused ALOT. I want to stop taking this asap.

Posted by Anonymous on June 3, 2013 9:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

I was on Effexor for a year for anxiety attacks. I stated to lose weight but my appetite came back after a week or so. I slept better at night but on weekends I mostly slept. Due to sleeping too much I wasn’t moving around as much as I should have and I managed to put on 30 pounds over that year. I ate as I normally did but seemed to pack on pounds with ease. I was already over weight but being on Effexor made it worse.
Now I am off these meds and feel much better. I have more energy and don’t take naps anymore. Now I have to fight to get these 30 pounds I managed to put on after being on Effexor.

Posted by Amanda on December 27, 2006 11:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been taking 75mg effexor for the past three months and glad to know that I am not the only one who is affected by this drug. I have rining in the ears, nausea, dizziness, weight gain, fatigue and the crazy dreams (like something from a Stephen King novel). I have been reading about effexor users going through hell trying to get off the medication, something my doctor did not talk to me about.

Posted by Stephanie on December 27, 2006 11:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

I was addvised to try effexor after other antidepresents only woked for a while then didnt really help.
I was told that the advanza i was on for several years was a more sedating drug than effexor and that advanza was well known for weight gain which i wasnt told about until it was to late.I have put on about 20 kg or more.I was told that effexor dosnt add excess weight and is not going to make me as tired or have low energy.I did feel tired in the first few days like valluim does and i have a child to take care of but it is a bit better and as i am now over weight i will see if this effexor works.
I have tried so many one day hopefuuly know it will work.
I must say im not as hungry during the day but will that last.
Eating late in the day is what i need to avoid.mel...

Posted by mel on December 29, 2006 2:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

I am 20 years old. I started taking Effexor XR when I was 18 years old. And only recently decided that I had enough. My psychiatrist started me at 37.5mg/daily for a couple of weeks, and then I went up to 75mg/daily. The highest dosage I took was 300mg. I already knew what it was going to be like for me to come off of this medication because if I was just a little off on taking it the withdrawls came knocking. I was on this medication for almost 2 years. The side effects that I had during the time I was on Effexor include: Somnolence, Fatigue, Tremors, Headaches, etc. And now that I am trying to taper off of it I feel side effects such as: Sensory disturbances(Electric shock-like sensations also called "Brain shivers"), Vivid dreams/Nightmares.. plus I still have the side effects that I had while I was on the medication.

I'm sure you're probably wondering why I wanted to quit taking Effexor. Well, to be honest I didn't feel like it was doing me any good. I also felt like I was more addicted, more dependant on it than anything. And knowing that I felt that way I just didn't see the point anymore. The side effects were too much for me(mind and body) to handle.

Posted by Amanda on December 30, 2006 6:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

This drug is evil. Do not take it for night sweats. I have been trying since Septmeber 2006 to get off this crap. I feel as though I am going crazy. Brain zaps, 30 pound weight gain. Sleepiness, dizziness and flu type symptoms. My doctor tapered me off and took the last dose on Christmas day. I feel like crap. I have been off work for a week. I have to go back tomorrow hope I don't go crazy in the mean time. I can't even think straight. I am determined to stay off. Good luck to anyone trying to get off this.

Posted by Cndy on January 1, 2007 5:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

My doctor gave me samples of Effexor for mild depression from menopause and hot flashes. After just 2 weeks I developed Tinnitus so bad that I thought my head would explode. I continued for 6 weeks to see if it would clear. I have been off since Dec. 5 and no change. My god if this is permanet I think I will lose it. Where can I find out if this side effect is going to go away or not. It is driving me crazy. Please repond is you have any expirence with Tinnitus side effect. I have searched everywhere and can't find an answer. thanks

Posted by tammie on January 2, 2007 1:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

Effexor was the second anitdepressant prescribed to me. Previously I was on celexa. I am 28 years old.

Usually I am not affected by side effects so I was not worried about effexor even though I read many negative comments about it.
Within the first week I was severly constipated- which resulted in hemorrhoids - so what I like to sit on the toilet!! Because of the constipation and consequently hemorrhoids, I refused to eat. In time, that resulted with an approx. 40 lb weight loss--I won't complain about that previously I was a 210 lb fat ass!
I suffered from a low libido (I never had problems before) and when I got an idea/urge to do something, I was fixated on achieving the idea or satisfying the urge. Also, all pleasantries were gone. I enjoyed nothing. Not even a movie.

The biggest problem I had with effexor is how it interacted with my marijuana consumption. In fact that was also my problem with celexa. I found that BOTH antidepressants blocked my high. That is, I could not get stoned at all (even when I ate mushrooms)! I have been smoking weed for over 12 years chronically. It drove me absolutely insane.
I responded by smoking mass quantities of weed with virtually no buzz not even a glow. This caused mood swings and I became highly irritated. I could not enjoy the company of others I would avoid converstions). I had to smoke salvia (just a pinch)to calm down and or crush cravings for weed. I tried to find similar cases/stories on the internet about antidepressants interacting with marijuana but it seems there is hardly any information on this--I do not trust doctor's at all so I would not disclose this. Answers to my questions were highly vague so I felt like I was the only one suffering with this problem. I didn't know if it was a quality issue or the antidepressant. I was set on going to Amsterdam to figure this out--decided to put a downpayment on a house instead. Depression is not readily accepted by people so I told nobody--I told my wife about my depression after seven years of marriage!! I had nobody to discuss this with.

My response was to quit effexor cold turkey just like I quit celxa. Of course marijuana consumption remained.

Side effects from quitting cold turkey were minimal but not absent. I can only remember being pissed off and irritated with everybody and anybody that crossed my path--you only had to breath the wrong way. I do not recommend cold turkey though.

Medication did help my depression. I have been off meds now for 6 months (still smoke weed like a champ). IF i get depressed it is nothing like it once was. I will say that meds did help correct some kind of chemical imbalance in me.

Only you, the individual know how depressed you are. Do not let horror stories of SSRI's (ie prozac, zoloft, celexa, paxil...) or SNRI's (effexor)scare you away. You know if you need medication or not.

Posted by leon on January 4, 2007 4:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

I'm taking effexor and I have alots evil thoughts going threw my mind and sometimes I have even planned on how to kill myself at first I thought it was me even with the brain zaps headache dizziness and nausea came when I treid to go cold turkey to come of the drug

Posted by Towanna Kidd on January 4, 2007 7:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor for approx. two years now. I have bi-polar disorder and have been treated for manic depression and anxiety since I was 14. I have been on a variety of drugs, all SSRI's and SSNI's. As well as drug thearpy I have also gone to CBT and experienced other garden variety forms of therapy. I currently take 150ml's of Effexor each day.
As I have no family doctor I have been forced to educate myself and make my own decsions regarding my mental health. The side effects of this drug are unbarable for me. I have gained 35 pounds in less than a year with no substantial life change. I became even more depressed because I feel fat and undesireable. The side effect of weight gain is less common in people than weight loss so I felt like my problems could be attributed to poor life style. I eat well and I exercise regulary. I addressed this concern with a doctor approximatly 6 months ago. His suggestion was to increase the dose, to which I venemently declined. Upon seeing another doctor he suggested I try Lithium (after speaking to me for 5 minutes about my 14 year history!) So I am currently in limbo. The withdraw from Effexor is the worst I have ever experienced. I have to take it at the same time every day or else I get spins, diarreha and slurred speech! People have often mistaken my symptoms for drunkess. I too have the vivid dreams, at times, they are so vivid that I cannot distinguish them from reality. I have been forced to keep a journal and often have to refer to notes that I make for myself. I get the "brain shock" and sore eyes. I am greatful to have a resource like this as I would like all the information I can get in order to help myself with this illness.
Personally, this product is not for me, yet, I feel like a drug addict as I cannot go off of it without proffessional help. I can't go cold turkey. If anyone reading this has bi-polar disorder and has a doctor advising them to take Effexor I would recommend seeking other treatment options.

Posted by Stacey on January 8, 2007 8:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

Was given sample pack of Effexor for night sweats. On third day of taking 37.5 dosage noticed extreme Restless Leg Syndrom and uncontrollable twitching throughout my body. Evident I was having a reaction from this drug, I went to bed with the intention of calling my physician in the morning. When I awoke the next day I was completely numb from the waist down. I immediately went to my Internist who told me this "side effect", the numbness, would go away in a day. That was the week before Thanksgiving 2006. It is now January 10th, 2007 and I am still numb! Over the course of the past eight weeks I have consulted with another Internest, two Neurologists and have been through a battery of tests including blood work, Nerve Conduction Velocity test, EMG, MIR's of the brain, and spine. No diagnosis yet. Concerns now are perhaps a virus in the spine or possibly MS! All I know is that I was fine until I took the THREE, I repeat three 37.5mg doses of Effexor! I have been researching non stop online to find anything, any clues, anyone else that may have experienced a similar side effect. My neurologist said he will contact the pharmaceutical company however the report will take a couple more weeks. I highly discourage anyone to take this drug. If anyone has knowledge regarding such a side effect as mine from Effexor I would appreciate your input.


Posted by Anonymous on January 10, 2007 3:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on effexor 37.5mg for 7 days now, recently switched from celexa. I am excited about finding something that works for me, as I have been through so many different ones that just don't do much for me. I have been having twitches throughout my body as well, some occassional numbness in my limbs too. It goes away rather fast so I didn't think much of it.
I do have headaches alot and am very tired... which I thought was weird because I thought it was supposed to help with that area. I've read alot about gaining weight, but my doctor and the info that comes with the medication, made it sound like weight loss was a problem.
A little worried after hearing all these stories and yours too. I hope something works out for you. I was wondering if all these twitches, zaps, numbness that ppl experience are causing nerves to be killed... just a thought.

Posted by Anonymous on June 20, 2012 4:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hi: It is interesting to read about the variety of side effects that people are experiencing on effexor. I did not realize the other uses for effexor i.e. hot flashes, night sweats. I am currently 54 years old. Was started on effexor when I was 49, right after a traumatic move to a city I never wanted to live in. I was also taking care of my elderly Dad with no breaks. Looking back I realize that I aways had some mod. anxiety but it increased drastically during and after that big move. I met a wonderful, compassionate young female doctor who prescribed effexor along with 1 months supply of ativan. I felt like she saved my life. The effexor worked very well on the anxiety. This is also the time in my life when I was starting menopause. I thought I was lucky because I was not experiencing severe hot flashes. I noticed when I would taper off effexor that I would have more sever hot flashes. Well, now I know why. The 2 side effects that are a constant are : "excessive yawning" ( I am trying to get enough air into my lungs) and constipation. I did gain about 25 lbs not right away but when it happened it was literally over night. I have had tinnitus which bugged me at night but has resolved itself. I have had fits of anger (I've had that before effexor). I am still somewhat depressed but that is a lot easier for me to live with than anxiety. When wheening myself off I have the vivid dreams, much increased anxiety and I don't know what else. I just remember that coming off of effexor is awful. I have tried several times. I think we should wear medic alert bracelets just in case we get into an accident or get so sick that we can't speak for ourselves and we end up in the hospital without getting our medication. I shudder at the thought of going thru some medical trauma and abruptly coming off effexor. I am concerned about being on it for years and years. But, at the time I desperitly needed something and effexor was it. Good luck to everyone. By the way I've returned home and I'm so glad to be back here, yet my depression has not lifted. Go figure!

Posted by Janie on January 11, 2007 9:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

I started on Effexor SR last year on 150 mg./day, now down to 75 mg./day because my mouth was so dry, my lips would stick to my gums when trying to have a conversation--very embarrassing. After reading all these comments, it may explain why I sometimes have such vivid, life-like dreams. I've been able to lose weight with no trouble--15 lbs. After having horrible withdrawals when on Wellbutrin SR and ending up in a mental hospital for a week or so for suicide thoughts and almost catatonic, I am now scared silly about ever having to get off this drug. I'm trying to find out if anyone has had hair loss. I think it started when I was on Celexa a few years ago, and last year on Depokote/Depakene, off both now. I'm also on Lamictal for bi-polar, 200 mg./day, down from 300, which also caused severe dry mouth. Something is causing severe hair loss on the top of my head--embarrssing for a woman. I wear hats all the time.

Posted by Rae on January 12, 2007 6:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have just started taking Effexor XR again after almost a year off them. Actually, It's the generic brand, Venlafaxine, that I'm on this time. No difference I guess. I took effexor xr for aobut 2 years before I felt that I needed to get off of them and see if my mind was any clearer. Anyway, It has been 3 days. I forgot about all the starting side effects and I'm almost thinking of discontinuing them again. I am nauseous, listless, tired but I can't seem to sleep or to stay asleep, headachy...etc. The nausea and lack of sleep is definately the worst. I am really afraid to stay on them because I do remember the withdrawl of coming off of them the last time. The brain zaps were crazy and for about a month or more later, when I would get anxious or stressed, my face would go numb around my nose and then down into my mouth and chin. Is that normal? I haven't read about anyone else having that problem. Is it really worth being back on them? Do I really need it? I come from a family with over half of them depressed and the other half believe that using medication to help is wrong and that it is all in your mind and I need to learn to deal with it. My brother tells me that if I'm having a problem, and it is causing these bouts of tears and extreme depression, then obviously, I need to find out what the problem is and change it. I'm really having a hard time going back on them but some days, I really feel that I need help. Other days, I feel like I can do it myself. I don't have a lot of days that I can feel that I can make it. I have to do something though. I have a husband and 2 children to think about and my husband is very concerned with these extreme ups and downs. I really hope this helps me. But again, are these side effects worth it?

Posted by Stephanie on January 13, 2007 9:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

I started Effexor 150 mg about 4 years ago as my first AD. I wanted it mainly for my anxiety but quickly learned that I also suffered from depression. This drug helped me become for confident but as I've read before I feel that I was married to this stuff and it dulled my senses and ability to have meaningful relationships. My libido was nil, gained weight, felt ill if missed a dose, etc. This is a very serious drug which I would not take again unless I had tried everything else. This drug works to stop anxiety and depression but at a serious cost to your physical and emotional well being. Not only did it dull my anxiety and depression but every other important sense that humans possess. In a nutshell, it works very well but the side effects and other effects that come with it outweigh the use of this drug. I stopped using slowly about a month ago. I came down slowly from 150, then 112, then 75 and didn't have any problems. I just took my last 37.5 dose 3 days ago and since it has not been pleasent to say the least. My biggest problems seem to be tied with my vision. looking side-to-side or just to one side quickly and I get a jolt of energy through my head, which in turn makes me nauxious. Worst of all, I feel angry. Its not a mood swing, its one mood of being completely irritated, and at the ones who don't deserve it. This is not a drug for use unless you have no other choice. No drug should take control of your body and mind as this drug does.

Posted by brian on January 15, 2007 8:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

is this the only message board currently out there? i'm looking to chat about the side effects, but the site i went to several years ago is gone.

Posted by JL on January 18, 2007 12:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

have been on venlafaxine for 2 years only take a 37.5 mg dose in the morning and am keen to come of them as my anxity is much better but after reading what other people have been through am very worried about it. Any ideas about how to go about it, i know that if i don't take a dose i start to feel tired and unwell

Posted by helen on January 21, 2007 12:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

I too would like to know if there is a chat room for this? I'm now deep into my second week and have tried a new approtch to my loss of sleep. I was taking the effexor at night and could not sleep. The last two days I've taken it in the morning, but I've also been on welbutrin and have a morning dose of that...combined with the effexor I'm shaky, nervous, fusy eyes and sweaty hands, leg shakes again too. Now I'm thinking of trying to take the welbutrin at night and keep the effexor in the morning. I have a morning and evening Depakote that is supposed to help level off the hyperness of the other two drugs but don't know how well that is working.

all in all I think the effexor is working 'sorta' its hard to say when the side effects get strong. We'll see how week three goes.

J
wjeremyp@hotmail.com

Posted by Jeremy on January 22, 2007 10:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

Me again. Been off Effexor since Dec. 5, 2006 and still no relief from the Tinnitus. On a 1 to 10 scale. It's right up there as a 10 most days. I hope to God this goes away.

Brain damage?

Posted by tammie on January 22, 2007 2:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

jeremy, the only one i have found is at rxlist.com, but it doesn't really look like people use it much. the last post was on the 6th. tammie--to your brain damage question...i have wondered that many, many times. unfortunately, we will be the ones to find out...

Posted by JL on January 22, 2007 10:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

FINALLY a glimmer of hope, todays headache was slightly less intense, it's been three weeks since my last dose. I've been on 225 for five years, I know I weaned myself off to fast but my circumstances dictated it and I've paid, it's been hell...but hang in there everyone and for heavens sake don't stop taking it cold turkey, the longer the weaning period the better. My DR said to take 3/2/3/2/3....for 7 days, then 2 pill for 7 days (in my case i was taking 3 x 75 mg).Then the third week 2/1/2/1/2/1/2....then 1/1/1/1/1/1, then 1, 1/2,1,1/2.....The truth is there is no way around it, it's going to be a very nasty, painful time. Good luck, steve Smith, meghansdad@sbcglobal.net

Posted by STEVE on January 22, 2007 11:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

OH yeah, as for the brain damage, since they don't know "how" this "poison" really works, it's anyones guess but without sounding like tom cruise, I don't have a lot of faith in the drug companies or our FDA/MDA.

Posted by STEVE on January 22, 2007 11:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

I am finding out, after being on Effexor XR for several years, that many of the things that have been happening to me may have been and are being caused by this drug. I'm thinking about filing a law suit. Sunday, I became confused and drove through the fence where my parking space is at my apt. complex, hitting 2 cars beside me first. I don't remember the first part or parts of it. Maybe the drug had something to do with it. The dry mouth, sweating, agitation, depression, anxiety, high cholesterol, headaches daily, yawning, and many more may be the drug. When on Wellbutrin several years ago and stopping it abruptly because no one told me I shouldn't, I ended up in a mental hospital for a week or so, after laying catatonic on my couch for 3 weeks and not sleeping. My hair loss has become terrible, which started from Celexa several years ago and probably from anti-depressants since. After finding out I was bi-polar, Lamictal was added last year, which helps between the two, to keep me more even-tempered, but certainly not adequate enough. A psychiatrist once told me that these mental problems are hereitary, mostly the anger I was feeling daily, as both my parents had strong anger problems. It was a relief to find this out, as I just thought I was helplessly crazy. It took a burden off.

Posted by Lorna Moore on January 23, 2007 9:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

After reading all these posts i am quiting taking just 37.5 mg NOW. I had ringing in one ear to start with. When i woke this morning i found the other one ringing. I also have jaw clenching. To bad there is not something out there with no side affects.

Posted by John on January 25, 2007 8:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

I've received many e-mails to keep posting my progress or lack there of since I just started taking Effexor XR. This is only day 15 and side effects are tapering off a lot. MUCH less jaw clenching than the previous two weeks. This morning I woke up with little jaw pain and am actually chewing gum with no problem. Hard cerial this morning was no issue either. My biggest side effect that was bothering me was the YAWING!!! I had Major yawing on the 37.5 pills for most the day...then when I switched to the 70 mg pills the Yawning would start around 2pm-2:30pm. This morning is the first day of my 3rd week and have slept quite well the last 3 nights now that I'm taking the effexor in the morning. I'm also trying something new this moring. I took two 70 mg pills rather than the one to see if the yawing will go away until later this evening. If I can kick the damn yawing I will for sure stay on effexor. It made me much more pleasent to be around. My leg kicks are almost back to normal too. I concentrate better and am more productive at work. Don't get me wrong I'm terrified at this point to miss a dose or go off effexor only because of all the posts on this page. I don't want to withdrawl from this the way others have. But I feel like I think I should feel. Like I can take on the day comfortably. I'm thinking my regular dose should be 150mg, but if the yawing is still there I'll up to 200 and see what happends. So far this morning taking the two 70 mg pills I feel even more stable than when just taking the one 70 mg. I guess like I found the nitch or sweet spot. Not high on the drug and not to low where I stuggle to benefit from the effects.

Jeremy
wjeremyp@hotmail.com

Posted by Jeremy on January 25, 2007 10:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

I forgot to mention that since I took two of the effexor 70mg pills I did not take my 300mg welbutrin I normally take in the morning. So far so good with that. If I can stop taking the welbutrin all together that would be awesome but I will be keeping a very close watch on myself and my actions. Missing just one dose of Welbutrin would normally put me into a major down spin but it is still to early to tell if missing that dose will have an effect. I'll know more about that this evening into tomorrow morning.
Jeremy
wjeremyp@hotmail.com

Posted by Jeremy on January 25, 2007 10:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

Me again,...sorry to hog the page. Only day 16 but I'm doing well. I've not taken my welbutrin again and I think it will be okay!!! By now I should have ran over some kids or some demented thing by missing two days of welbutrin. This to me is real proof the effexor is working. Even so it has only been two days so I'll feel more confident about this when its been a full week. I wont even entertain the thought of dropping my depakot yet. Today I woke up a bit tired but slept about 5 1/2 strait hours then another hour later in the morning. I can pretty much eat again too. My jaw clinching is almost completely gone, my jaw pain IS completely gone! No legs kicks at all today. I still have sweaty hands though and the ringing in my ears is back to its normal once or twice a day ringing. I must have been dropped as a baby cause I've always had ringing. My pupils look like I'm high on extacy being so big so bright lights are actually bothersome, more so outside than inside of course. Yesterday my boss even said I seem to be much more possative at work latley so there is another sign to me that this effexor is working. If you knew my boss and my work you would know this small observation is nothing small. Will wait a few days before anymore posts. Just thought I'd share my progress. I'd call it progress now...if you read my first post on this page you wouldn't think I would sound the same as I do now. Even when I read it I am amazed at my interal change.

Posted by Jeremy on January 26, 2007 9:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

Anecdotally, the majority of comments on this page are negative, but I'd say this is because it's people with bad experiences who are highly motivated to post a message about them online, while people for whom Efexor works wonderfully (including me) typically aren't. This is not to discount anyone's personal experience here, but for people who are perhaps going to try the drug in future and are curious, I'd say that reading this board gives you a view of what may happen heavily biased towards worst cases. Efexor, like all anti-depressants, reacts with individuals in highly different ways. If it turns out not to be for you, then so be it. If not... so be that. Possible side-effects are very well documented. You may have many or none. (I eventually had some increased sweating and minor sleep disturbance - that's it. While going onto the drug I had yawning and dizziness as well, but those disappeared. I've now been on it 3.5 years.) You have to balance any sideeffects you get and the effect of the drug on your mood and clarity against the experience of depression off the drug. And don't rashly go on what's happening just 2 days after you've started taking the drug. It can take weeks to adjust it into your metabolism, and sideeffects can settle or totally disappear during this time - or vice versa. Just don't jump to conclusions. Know that it'll be weird when you start, that you have to ride that out, and once you've stablisied somewhat, then you can make a full assessment. If you're fortunate, you may already be feeling much better mood-wise during that time, too. The possibility for withdrawl symptoms is also well documented. The key is to reduce the dose veeeeerrry slowly, and your doctor should be able to help you manage this well if they are well-informed. I merely seek to offer an alternative view of Efexor here and some practical general advice about it, since the great body of people for whom the drug works well usually aren't the ones who post in these columns. The boring truism is that the drug may work well for you and help out lots, or it may not. It does help a great many number of people. If dosage gradation is mismanaged or withdrawl poorly handled, though, of course you're likely to have a bad time.

Posted by Way on January 26, 2007 11:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

Way: In response to your posting of January 26, 07. Yes all medicines react differently by individual. I am happy that it's worked for you and hope that you never have to stop taking it. I don't care how slowing or carefully you withdraw from this medicine I am willing to wager the house that YOU will be affected in a very unpleasant manor. During my five year experience with 225 mg daily, the obvious side effects were weight gain, loss of emotions/sensitivity and complete annihilation of my libido.

Posted by STEPHEN J. SMITH on January 27, 2007 2:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor XR for about 6 months now. I was prescribed Effexor for generalized anxiety. My doctor started me on a graduated dosage that went up to 150mg. At 150 mg I just felt weird and descreased to 75mg. In the past 6 months I have managed to gain 25lbs without any difference in my eating habits. I get those brain zaps where I feel like I am electrically short circuiting for a second. I have successful Lasik eyesight correction 3 years ago, but since I have been on this medication my eyesight has deteriorated to the point that I am going to have to either redo the surgery or get eyeglasses again. I wanted to get off of this med so my doctor dropped me down to the 37.5mg two weeks ago. The brain zaps have kicked up during that time. Two days ago the brain zaps went into high gear and caused dizziness and shocks into my legs and even my teeth. Last night I decided not to take my pill. When I woke up this morning my whole body was popping with electrically shorting, I am extremely nauseous (can't eat - not hungry), my balance is very very off, headache, and I feel soooooo sick! I broke down and took the stupid pill. Five hours later I took another to get me back to the 75mg. I had no idea that theses side effects were possible not to mention a major discontinuation issue. It definetly was not mentioned by the manufacturer and not known by my doctor. I NEVER would have started these pills!! I agree that they should be taken off the market. My issues before were nothing compared to this now. On Wyeth's website it now mentions that discontinuation issues are so severe in some people that they have to be on them permanently!! I have never heard of this before in ANY drug!! I have read posts where this drug helps some people, but I can't help but wonder if perhaps one of the many other antidepressants out there wouldn't be a better choice? Perhaps one that doesn't cause sooo many problems just coming off. I was trying to wean down from just 37.5mg and can't seem to due to the side effects of discontinuation. I have no idea what I am going to do now.

Posted by Laura Gipe on January 27, 2007 2:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

Laura, Don't Panic! I know its easy to say, especially considering the tone of my post, but I think you can get off these pills. You've had the first hand experience of the withdrawal symptoms, which are obviously severe and when you first experience them, really shocking and distressing as to how bad they really are. I was able to appriciate a situation of need that was stronger than myself where I will do anything to get the drug back into my system to stop those withdrawal affects. The first time (or for me a number of times) you don't plan properly and don't know what's coming when you try to reduce your dose, its distressing and frigghtening. right? i experienced all the things you wrote down, and its kind of nice to hear others telling such identical accounts. especially those damn 'brain zappers'. Anyway, while its not fair/right etc, this is the situation we are in, and i think we can do something: From looking on the net and talking to a couple of people who went off these pills, it is seeming that the common experience is that the withdrawal is unavoidable but temporary. that is a pretty nausiating and somewhat scary propect, but my point is that i think you feel like you are trapped. I felt this way, and there must be some extra unfortunate souls out there who really can't ever go off this stuff and are stuck with all these side effects for life, but i doubt we are those people. I am assuming that like me, the severity and duration of the withdrawal symptoms made you think you were one of these people on the weyth website that has to stay on them for ever. = PANIC!!!!. This, from anecdotal evidence i have gathered seems unlikely. You just need to plan your moves and be aware of the consquences-the withrawal symptoms, their severity, duration, changes, etc. from here you can arrange your life temporarily around reducing the dose to be ready for all the symptoms-eat healthy, be in a good place mentally, have friends and family around you-especially a confidant- someone who will nurse you when things are really bad, and be excited when you get babk to your old self. There is plenty more i forgot to include i spose, but the point is, once you map out how is going to be when you reduce the dose, you can react (survive) accordingly. My advice would be to try to find a good doctor to help -i told mine about the brain zappers and he stared blankly. that was, in hindsight kind of an important and common symptom. my experience has been that what ever dose you are on, reduce it to 75% of the whole dose for two weeks. the first few days might be tough and eye zappy, following incresing nausia until you are living with the full withdrawal set by middle week 1(3 or so days). by middle week 2 you should be feeling like i can beat these few side effects that are distressing me and jeering at me to just take the pill and make it all beter. then wait at leaset a month, till you fell strong and healthy again and try again, 75% of the new dose... so your system is get prepared, dive into an managable accute phase of withdrawal, which you really have to suffer through, then a long period of recouperation and getting your body strong again for another round. I think I will post a diary of my experiece as i try to reduce from 75mg/day again soon, when i feel strong enough to face it. i will try to be detailed and clinical on the side effects duration and severity as a guide for others like us who are worried about 'taking the leap'. also, read my post 56 for my story. Also, i think this drug does help some people and elements of it probably helped me if you discount cognative therapy. And for some people like Way venlafaxine seems to be his chemical saviours.

so my comments on effexor/venlafaxine aren't driven at making these pills illegal or anything, but to advize and gain advice from other dependants who want to try to do without venlafaxine. I end of myh time on this board my actually be 'no i sm stuck on these things for thre rest of my life,'.

But i can't continue on without sorting this out and finding myself a clearer answer.living like this for the rest of my life seems not an answer at all. I hope the documentation of my experience can help someone.

Posted by Chris on January 28, 2007 9:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I couldn't help but wonder about the horrible withdrawal side effects of Effexor.

Has anyone stopped to think that maybe this drug was purposely engineered so that the side effects on withdrawal are so "unpleasant" (to put it mildly) that people stay on it rather than discontinuing it and enduring withdrawal effects. What a money maker.

Posted by Suffering in San Antonio on January 29, 2007 3:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

Michele, how long have you been totally of the effexor? I might have missed it in your post but I got the impression it was weeks or months. knowing the withdrawal effects, that is pretty scary to hear, but really tough of you. This is a total guess, but it is the 'logic' I am hanging onto for when it gets difficult. and that is that logic dictates that it is a matter of time. From what I can gather, medication that is given long term to alter your physiology often works by either taking over supply of something(s) you need, or blocking the action of the receptors which recognize and use a certain metabolite. The result is that the body's production of the metabolite is down regulated and the supply of that chemical is taken over by whatever you are taking (I think this is the case with insulin), or the downregulation of receptors that recognize and use the particular chemical.(I think an example of this kind of drug is the beta blocker, used to block the action of beta adrenoceptors in a number of situations, like heart conditions and anxiety, through the preventing binding of adrenaline to the beta receptors). -These examples may be way off- Anyway the point is after you stop a drug that has changed your physiology it should take some time for you body to start making new receptors, or making whatever chemical it was previously being supplimented. In the meantime, things aren't going to work right and therefore not feel right to varying degrees(with venlafaxine its severe). I have no idea how long it takes for these changes to happen, but it seems unlikely that taking a drug for a while could perminantly 'turn off', or 'turn on' something that is part of your basic physiology. It seems more likely that it would just take a while for the body to repair the changes that have been made. I'm not explaining this very well, and I don't know a lot about it, but I just think it is a bit of a dismissive line for a doctor to say 'well, if you don't feel better you will just have to go back on it'. it seems like a lazy thing to say. anyway, i just wanted to give you a possitive feeling by hopefully giving you some kind of logic, rather than this mysterious line from doctors 'it is different for everybody'. Its the self covering (fair enough) line that also implies to the patient that there is no knowlege about the effects, no rhyme or reason for the duration, severity and range of the effects. But this makes no bloody sense. So to an edocrinologist out there who looks on this forum thing, even if you don't know the exact explaination for the type, length and severity of the effects of venlafaxine withdrawal, you would have some general endocrine physiology knowlege that could give people at least a general explaination. I think this would give people some peace and strength. Doctors can't be experts in everything, and it is pretty specialized, and on top of that, in these litigeous times we can't really expect the doctor to speculate for fear of getting sued, but i do not beleive that there is no rhyme or reason for the effects and if you don't feel better after a certain amount of time then there's no alternative but to get back on venlafaxine. Its possible i spose, and if it's true Wyeth has known about it, and exactly why for a long time i'd bet. Oooohh look at me- conspiracy theory. Hope that helps a tiny bit michele.

Posted by Chris on January 30, 2007 1:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

This post is in response to comment #57 by Way on 1/27/2007: "Anecdotally, the majority of comments on this page are negative, but I'd say this is because it's people with bad experiences who are highly motivated to post a message about them online, while people for whom Efexor works wonderfully (including me) typically aren't.... I'd say that reading this board gives you a view of what may happen heavily biased towards worst cases. ... Possible side-effects are very well documented. You may have many or none. ... It can take weeks to adjust it into your metabolism, and sideeffects can settle or totally disappear during this time - or vice versa. Just don't jump to conclusions. .... If dosage gradation is mismanaged or withdrawl poorly handled, though, of course you're likely to have a bad time."

Way, the point most people are making on this board (I think, anyway), is that there are some pretty severe side effects, not only to taking the drug, but to coming off of it, too. In fact, in coming off of Effexor, the withdrawal side effects are more severe than most AD/SSRI/SNRIs/MRIs out there. And, that many/most doctors who prescribe Effexor are either unaware/uninformed or misinformed as to the effects of it on their patients while taking it and during the process of discontinuing it.

To be honest with you, I didn't think I had any side effects from it until I started coming off it. When I titrated the dosage down I noticed the tinnitis (finally gone now!!). Reading extensively about Effexor (not just here), I realized that my weight gain was most likely due to it, as were the insomnia, inability to focus, memory loss, vision changes, decrease in motivation (should I go on?).

To be fair, some of these things can also be attributed to depression, they should not be so pronounced as the other meds in the cocktail should be either acting to control the depressive symptoms or these symptoms should be eliminated altogether.

I am now, after much reading, of the opinion that this is a dangerous drug. Effexor should, at the very least, be reviewed closely for consideration to be removed from the market. I do think it helped me, but then, it feels good when I stop hitting myself in the head with a hammer, too.

What is the price one should pay for a little help? I have to wonder how many deaths have resulted from mismanagement of this drug or from the mismanagement of the withdrawal of Effexor from a patient's system.

This drug is not harmless. Sure am glad you didn't have any negative effects from it -- can't wait to see your post when you finally try to come off this monster, though.

Posted by Michele on January 30, 2007 5:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

This is day 5 after completely stopping the Effexor (down from 75mg to 37.5mg/ day to 37.5 mg SR 1x every other day for 3 days (2 doses). The every other day thing was mine bc I just knew that going from 75 mg of SR for 2 weeks to 37.5mg for 1 week to cold turkey would suck. And sure enough...again...I do know more than the doctor. I don't even want to know what it would have been like if the blood level had been at straight 37.5mg for 1 wk b4 stopping...

I am being so mismanaged re: the withdrawal of this drug. I am filing a grievance. I have cyclothymic bipolar disorder which is sort of a mixed state - not high swings or fast cycling but a mixture all at once with a lot of lethargy. Now, over the last day, my depressive symptoms have really increased to an almost intolerable level. I am afraid I will go into a depressive swing and that could trigger to Bipolar I or II, which is more severe than cyclothymia.

I am not suicidal at this point, but my depressive symptoms are worsening, despite the other medications.

Would you know, this doctor will not return my calls? Today his office told me that he was going to be with a bunch of doctors tonight so he wouldn't call me back. (I had called earlier b4 he left the office -- this was the call back to see if he got the message around the time the office closes bc I hadn't received a call back). It took an act of congress and an hour of fighting with the answering service on Sunday just to ask the doctor on call a question about the side effects. This morning (Tuesday) he returned a call I placed to him last Friday! (I had already figured out the answer to that question)

I know, it sounds like I am a nut! Before I started to come off of this stuff I never called his office. I never bugged the doctor with questions. Now, when you have problems and you need them to call you back....they don't. You call again, because you really need help and your hands are tied --- they are ones with the specialized education and the RX pads -- the ones you pay to take care of you. Yet, because the doctor doesn't call you back (and I give him hours, sometimes days) and you are calling yet again, you look like a nut or a hypochondriac. So.. they don't call! I just want to scream! This drug is really hard to come off of and I need some help and this guy won't help me. Does anyone else have this kind of problem?

Can someone tell me why we see doctors at all? I am so done with this guy. Can anyone say malpractice????

Posted by Michele on January 30, 2007 6:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

Michele- I have this kind of problem with my doctor he seems to feel like 'the withdrawals will take as long as i say, so stop asking'. So i gave up on his 'advice'. I think good doctors are out there, just really rare. Also, you say you sound nuts, well dude, that's their freakin' job- to help people who are 'nuts'. If you're feeling a bit tender at the moment and you want to seek support a whopping once a week over the phone, well to your doctor i say sorry you took the hipocratic oath buddy. Anyway, If you are correctly diagnosed with bipolar disorder, well from the little bit of reading I've done, i think the literature appears to say that effexor is contra-indicated, because it can induce manias. or something like that. Think strongly about not bothering with complaints and legal action etc with this doctor, but getting as far away from them as you can and finding someone to help you. Its sounds like you're having to make all the decisions on your own anyway, and you're getting very little support. Look after yourself, Chris.

Posted by Chris on January 31, 2007 3:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hi Michele - Very glad to see your tinnitis DID go away. I have been off Effexor now for almost two months. (I was only on for two months on a trial for hot flashes) The tinnitis is as bad as ever. Somedays it is so bad it makes me wince. I am now wondering if I need to try some other type of antidepression drug to try to rearrange my brain chemicals again to get back to normal? This is insane.

Posted by tammie on January 31, 2007 4:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

If I had known how bad I would feel now getting off of this drug I would never have taken it. This drug should be taken off the market.

Posted by Shannon on January 31, 2007 8:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

I've been takind Effexor XR for months now for panic disorder and residual PTSD. The panic attacks don't seem to go away unless I take Klonopin. Today, my doctor wanted to increase my Effexor dose from 150mg to 225mg. I'm constantly crying and I don't know what to do. Hopefully, the increase will work.

Posted by Eva on January 31, 2007 4:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

I just got prescribed venlafaxine 2 days ago, and haven't started yet. I wanted to research online first as I'm nervous about ADs after bad reactions to SSRIs including suicidation and self-harm (never had before SSRIs). I'm seriously concerned about the possible worsening of manic & suicidal symptoms on effexor. I suffer from daily extreme mood swings from sad & suicidal to ridiculously irritable, argumentative and loud, followed by extreme remorse and sorrow, then forgetting all about it. These shifts happen very suddenly, several times a day. The doctors can't agree on whether I have Bipolar or not. Although treating the depression is #1 priority for survival - death is permanent- if I go anymore "high" & irritable I think I'm going to lose the people I love, which will feed my depression even more. The new psychiatrist I just saw wants to try effexor first then add sodioum valproate as a mood stabiliser later. I too read in the official info that effexor can worsen hypo/mania & psychosis, but haven't seen that so much in the comments. I was on anti-psychotic meds for almost 14 years from age 19 to 32 but was taken off 4 years ago following recovery, and have not had return of psychotic symptoms. Needless to say I don't want to risk that either. If anyone would like to share their experiences of this I'd be grateful to hear about it before starting on effexor. Thanks.

Posted by Tracy on January 31, 2007 10:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

I started taking Effexor 150/day after a major crash-and-burn brought on by trying to do 60 hours a week consulting job while holding my 40 hours a week day job.

Needless to say, I was badly burned out, anxious, having panic attacks and with serious pain in my chest, back, arms and neck.

After confirming that this was not a heart attack (I could have sworn I was dying,) my doc and I settled on Effexor complimented with Lorazepam.

My anxiety attacks subsided and I enjoyed what I thought was a regulated existance. The muscle pain continued, but my mental well-being returned.

I had kind of accepted that I was just getting older and had pains and fatigue to deal with as part of the aging process (I'm 46.)

Recently, through a combination of moving across country, procrastination in getting a new doctor, and lack of vigilance, I let my prescription lapse. I had the usual "brain shocks" for a day or 2, and then I FELT GREAT!!

I never realized that the pain and stiffness should have gone away when my condition improved!!

I am now weaning myself off this stuff and am down to about 75 mg/day. I feel better than I have felt in 5 years. I never realized that many of the aches and pains that I was experiencing were due to this medicine since I had them (due to the condition I was in) when I started taking it.

My withdrawal symptoms have been minimal. I cut down from 225 to 37.5 after about a week at 150 thru 75. This proved to be a little too fast, and I had 2 anxiety attacks yesterday. I am back up to 75, but I am getting off this stuff. I can feel my muscles tighten up about 1 hour after taking it.

I feel lucky not to feel some of the horrors that some of you all are going through, but I also feel cheated out of 5 years of vitality for having taken Effexor. It did help with the anxiety (big time!!) but maybe something else might have had less serious side effects.

Posted by dan on February 1, 2007 9:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

This is my second time on Effexor, the first was a few years ago. I thought I had gotten over my depression (dysthymic disorder) but I failed to realize it had been progressively getting worse. Now with 75 mg/day of Effexor XR for the past 3 months, I have begun to feel "normal." I can actually feel the high points in my life and the low points are much shallower. I look forward to the day when I will be drug-free, but that could be years. I am wary of the brain shocks after years of use, having experienced them when I lost my pills for a few days. Anyone who says the shocks are inconsequential must be feeling something less than I felt. I have a high threshhold for physical pain, but I could not bear the rapid, random shocks throughout my body and light-headedness at the same time. A few of the jolts were almost blinding and produced instant hot flashes. I work in an industry whose products, if they fail, will allow people to die. I am also a family man with 2 kids. The depression is bad enough; if you are taking Effexor and expect to end therapy, do so very cautiously and slowly.

Posted by Harry on February 2, 2007 9:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have for the first time in my life agreed to take some form of AD medication and I get this one prescribed!
I am 55 and menapausal and do not need another "monster" in my life. I agree with the earlier statement that people with bad experiences will often be the most vocal, and I think that most doctors are doing the best they can, BUT even though the capsules lay before me near the key board, they will remain unopened. I am going to go back to trying to handle my situational anxiety by my own actions and by doing thimgs to resolve the issues verbally, etc- not chemically, just like I have always tried to do. Thank you all for you comments and good luck to you all with trying to feel "normal"

Posted by Marianne on February 4, 2007 7:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

Wow! I'm not alone with the symptoms and withdrawals! I too was told that because the withdrawals were so bad just to stay on the tabs. I have experienced pretty much the same things as you all and thought it was just me. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I'm getting ready to go off 37.5mg and have tried before with not much success. This time I'm determined. I feel I need to be off these pills so they don't control me. So I can do life on my own chemically - still need my family and friends!! Here goes....

Posted by Tess on February 5, 2007 3:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

What can I say, so nice to know I'm not "imagining" all these side effects. My partner thinks I exaggerate the way I feel, but I think I will point him in this direction to have a read.

I've been on 75mg for a year now, it was prescribed for post natal depression, and have started the process of coming off it. I've been doing 75 one day and 37.5 the next for 10 days, and today was the start of the drop to 37.5 for 10 days. Have to say, definately feeling the withdrawals now. I knew they were coming, like a lot of others here, if I forget to take my pill I felt terrible. First thing is my teeth would buzz, very odd feeling, then headache, short temper, shakes, unable to concentrate. Just want to get off these pills now, it's horrible having to relie on medication every single day. I hope my 2 children will understand why mummy is going to be very short tempered with them for a while, but at 4 and 16 months, I don't think so. Good luck every one who is coming off!
Jo

Posted by Jo on February 5, 2007 1:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hello All,
I just wanted to let people who are considering taking Effexor this: When i first started taking it, I was worried about all the horrible experiences that I read from this site. However, I have not had any negative side effects at all from this, and it has been the only AD that has helped me. My Point is THIS: Not everyone will react the same to this drug. Some bodies react good, some bad. You need to find what works for you. But don't be scared off because some of the comments posted here. I feel sorry for the people who had a bad experience with Effexor. But i didnt, and it doesnt mean you will either. If it doesnt work for you, then ask your doctor to switch you. You have the right to ask to be switched if its bothering you. If i noticed any bad side effects like some of these posts, i would certaintly immediately ask to be taken off. Remember, AD is supposed to make you feel better not miserable! Everyones body is different. Just as a lot of people are complaing by not being able to sleep, i have never slept better on this stuff and i wake up feeling refreshed. So my advice is this: Its good to research other people's experiences and keep them in mind, but in the end, you need to be your own judge.

Best Wishes,


Makensia

Posted by makensia on February 7, 2007 7:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

I am on my 2nd week with Effexor and I am sneezing like crazy. I haven't found this side effect documented, so if anyone has, please leave me a link.

I am also having really bizarre dreams that I remember vividly. Not a good thing, since I have nightmares from PTSD. There are differences though, since my drug dreams are so far out there, that there is no way to connect them to my current problem.

Anyhow, that's all for now. This week is 75 mg, next week 150 mg. Can't wait to see what I dream up then. Sighs.

Posted by Lianna on February 10, 2007 1:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

PS Tried Weebutrin and had terrible panic attacks within a day so stopped those.

My daughter also suffers from the Black Dog and Effexor help a lot. She too has changed to a generic, Vel something or other, and she is fine

Posted by gill on February 12, 2007 9:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

WARNING
I too thought this drug was my life line, thought I couldn't live without it or more to the point people around me might not survive if I didn't have it.

I took this drug for 8 years. My memory started going and so did my ability to concentrate but I attributed it to stress of teaching special edu kids... I now don't teach...I don't work...

I don't know exactly when the problems started because I CAN'T REMEMBER exactly.
It has effected my ability to learn, to work and my relationships ("What do you mean you forgot?)

DO NOT RISK it! If all the other side effects don't scare you think about losing your memory and concentration which will keep you from learning, working and having healthy relationships!

How many out there who talk about their side effects have noticed memory and concentration problems? I have talked to several people and once when I didn't attribute it to Effexor I am now convinced it is the cause.

I am just now starting to surf around and found this site...where are there some good blogs and more info in this area?

Posted by Critter on February 15, 2007 8:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

I'm on 150mg XR SR, and find it does do a little bit of good, but nothing beats gods gift of cannabis to help with the rest.

Posted by Greg on February 15, 2007 10:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

Critter-
try this site: http://www.topix.net/forum/drug/effexor

Posted by JL on February 16, 2007 6:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

I just wanted to share a recent experience I had with Effexor. I was prescribed a dose of 225 mg of effexor. I am a recovering opiot addict who has major depression issues. I took the effexor as prescribed for a while and then felt the need to take more which stupidly I did. I ended up haveing a grand mall seizure at work and broken my scapula and tore my rotator cuff. I would not recommend taking effexor for anyone with a history of any substance abuse. Please talk to your doctor before taking it.

Posted by Hadi Kasrawi on February 20, 2007 8:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

After being on Effexor for 7 years, I decided I had enough of taking the drug, I weaned off then just stopped taking it. I knew the side effects of suddenly stopping Effexor. What hell I am going through now. I read that taking a couple of doses of 20 mg Prozac would rid the symptoms. Also read that even Benadryl helps while weaning off the drug. After 2 weeks now, I have decided to take a dose of the Effexor to relieve me of the "HELL " until I see my doctor in a couple days.
Any ideas about the Prozac and Benadryl weaning?

Posted by Karma on February 21, 2007 2:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on this drug for 2 days (no Joke) and have decided not to continue. I can't sleep and I feel as if the blood in my veins is on fire. I also feel really tired, irritable, have a dry mouth, can't enjoy my food and keep having to empty my bladder. This stuff is poison. Coming off this drug will be too hard and will make me relapse.

Posted by Sylvia on February 21, 2007 3:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

I am writing because my husband has been on this drug for about six months after having problems with side effects from a previous drug prescribed for his anxiety and depression. I am very interested in Lorna's post regarding problems with memory and concentration. I have experienced multiple times where my husband and I have had conversations, some on rather major topics, only to have him say something a few days later indicating a total lack of memory of many of the crucial points of our discussion. He gets extremely defensive and angry when I point out that we already talked about this and came to joint decisions about the topic. He also seems to be nervous and on-edge (he admits this), constipated, agitated, self-absorbed, easily angered, and kind of in his own little world. Most of these symptons have gotten very pronounced in the past month. It is having a very negative impact on our marriage. I've been dealing with his anxiety, depression, agitation, and "selective" memory issues for a year and a half. It took several months to convince him he was depressed and needed help. Then his first medicine had negative side effects, and he went through a horrible weaning off of it, and now, I'm very concerned that this drug is having even more negative side effects. He just tells me that I'm the one who's changed. I'd really appreciate hearing from anyone else with similar experiences... Thanks

Posted by Diane on February 22, 2007 7:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

My doctor put me on effexor for depression. I have been on it for 5week now. Started at 37.5mg for 1&1/2 weeks and then 75mg. I can honestly say the first 2 weeks I felt terrible from the side effects. Now I feel great! I am sleeping better, wake refreshed, I have more patience for the world. Best thing that I could have done. I was worried at first reading other posts about weight gain. I couldn't figure out how people were gaining so much weight. I have to admit with this drug at first I was hungry all the time, I had to control myself and not continually eat. Now, I have a regulat appetite and have lost about 5lbs. I also suffered from bulemia and have not had any urges to binge or have I even given my weight a second thought. I am just happy to feel good. My advice to those people who are gaining weight, just keep your mouths shut. YOU cannot gain weight unless you ae putting food in your mouth!!!

Vanessa

Posted by Vanessa on February 22, 2007 9:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

Vanessa,
Maybe when you were bulimic, you should have kept your mouth shut instead of binging on food and then throwing it up.
Feel good to get a taste of your own medicine huh?

Posted by Anonymous on April 22, 2012 4:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

nice

Posted by Cheri on May 4, 2013 6:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

Vanessa,

Nice that the drug is working for you.

My question for you is, why didn't you just "keep your mouth shut" instead of eating food and then vomiting it back up? It is a little hypocritical to tell others that they can't gain weight unless they are putting food in their mouths when you used to have a somewhat similar problem (bulimia). In fact, you are somewhat naive to the mechanism behind these drugs and weight gain.

It is not always the amount of food you eat, but often how your metabolism is affected by the drug. Or, sometimes the drugs increase or decrease one's appetite, or they can cause someone to have cravings that they previously did not have.

You might either walk a mile in someone's shoes or think first before making such insensitive statements. The same could easily be thrown out about a condition by which you are affected.

"I couldn't figure out how people were gaining so much weight. I have to admit with this drug at first I was hungry all the time, I had to control myself and not continually eat. Now, I have a regulat appetite and have lost about 5lbs. I also suffered from bulemia and have not had any urges to binge or have I even given my weight a second thought. I am just happy to feel good. My advice to those people who are gaining weight, just keep your mouths shut. YOU cannot gain weight unless you ae putting food in your mouth!!! Vanessa"

Posted by Michele on February 23, 2007 12:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on effexor (75mg) for about a year now with mostly positive results. However, I think I finally figured one out. Have any of you noticed an increased desire/dependancy on alcohol? I have always drank, but very rarely in excess. Since taking effexor I CRAVE alcohol and drink far more than I did before. Is it just me?

Posted by marie on February 23, 2007 3:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

marie,

this craving thing may have something to do with the pleasure center of the brain. Also, if you are on any other drugs, especially any affecting dopamine, that may also have something to do with it. I think, though, that your craving for alcohol and others' craving for food may be related to Effexor. Definitely tell your doctor immediately! This is something to be concerned about and would indicate to me (as one who has been medicated since the age of 5) that this drug is not for you and that your doctor should have you try another instead.

Posted by michele on February 23, 2007 7:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

Thanks Michele. I appreciate your advice. I have already started tappering my use (with doc's approval).

Posted by marie on February 25, 2007 11:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hi Folks,
I've been on Effexor for 4 years. When I started, I was really depressed, felt like I hadn't been myself in a long time, like years. Always slept so I wouldn't have to think about how miserable I was. Effexor rocked my world, in the best possible way. I felt like myself again - not like I was an unfeeling zombie, but like I was finally on level ground, instead of in a pit.
I decided to try life without Effexor. I want to know if I should resign myself to needing drugs to stop me from being miserable. I've read a lot about the hell of withdrawal and was prepared to taper. First I tried the way my doctor said - since I was already on the lowest dose, I started skipping days. One on, one off. One on, two off. Never got past 3 days. Horrible nausea and crippling headaches. And then one horrible night of sobbing and feeling like I did 4 years ago, thinking that I made no headway and that I was going to be all the way back to misery without the drug. Thanks to some online research and reading about everyones' experiences, I understood that withdrawal was playing games with my brain as well as my body. New method: open a capsule a day, pick out a steadily increasing number of granules. I know each granule doesn't have the same amount of drug, but I tried dissolving the granules and drinking less of the liquid each day, but the crap wouldn't dissolve! Finally got down to about a half capsule of effexor a day, but started getting nasty headaches every day at noon. So I stopped. That was Wednesday. It's Sunday. I had to go home from work on Friday, a total dizzy basketcase. Lots of sobbing and feeling irritable. Pizza place sent the wrong pizza and I almost lost my shit. That's just not me. I know it's not over, but I'm hanging in there. I'm a little scared to have to go to work tomorrow and function, but I know it's better to try and live normally than to hide at home and end up sleeping and sobbing by myself. Good luck everyone, and to me too!

Posted by Sarah on February 25, 2007 6:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

Sarah,

First of all it sounds like HELL, and I am sorry. Were you on 37.5 mg....? You said the "lowest dose" but I'm not sure I know what that is. My doc told me to open a capsule and sprinkle half of it on whatever food I am eating. Seems to work, you can't taste it or anything. I am actually going slower than she recommended (based on stories I have read like yours.) I am doing 3/4 of a pill for 10 days and then I plan to do 1/2 for another ten days; then 1/4 - you get the picture. It is only day two, but I have not had any of the side effects you are describing. Maybe my method would work for you too? Good luck!

Posted by marie on February 25, 2007 7:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

Sarah,

If you're opening the capsule the following is mentioned at http://www.effexorxr.com/faqs.asp

"The capsule can also be carefully opened and its contents sprinkled onto a spoonful of applesauce. This should be swallowed immediately and followed by drinking a glass of water. Do not chew this mixture before swallowing.".

I hope this helps you in tapering off.

Me, I've just started taking effexor for panic attacks and generalized anxiety. I've only been on it for 4 days and it's been a terrible experience so far. Panic attacks have increased. Before maybe one a week, now severe and more intense ones in the middle of the night and each day at least once. Midday now and already had 2 today. Bad dreams, racing thoughts, shaking/trembling and weakness all over, particularly in one of my arms, headache around eyes, dry mouth at times. I'm very close to giving up on this drug. Better the occasional panic attack than continual ones, and just generally feeling sick. Also, as others have said the withdrawal is terrible the longer you leave it.
Think I'll try one or 2 more days at most.
Shall post back in a few days to give an update ...

Posted by Greg on February 25, 2007 8:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

I've been taking Effexor XR at 75MG for almost 6 years now. There have been side effects but I honestly do not want to stop taking it. Effexor took me from being a person who suffered in silence with anxiety and depression to a person who speaks in front of large crowds regularly with confidence. Looking back I think Effexor has really helped in erasing that "impending doom" feeling I woke up with every morning. Don't get me wrong. I know how it feels to be off it for a few days. If I ever decide to come off it permanently I think I would need to take a long vacation or get professional help or both. I've heard of people complaining that the pill does not work as effectively over time. I am concerned about that.

Posted by Romax on February 25, 2007 10:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

I just got the 75mg sample pack from my doctor today, I only took one and i think i wont stay on it for long. Not after reading all this!

Posted by Kourtny on February 28, 2007 5:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

I'm a 31, active male. Well, I started taking anti-depressants right in the middle of my college years. Stressed from school and working fulltime, bad financial habits, alcohol and drugs did it for me. I was prescribed Paxil but didn't do antyhing for me- I think I got worse. Then doc put me on Celexa and hated life even more. Vivactil didn't do crap for me but headaches. Then I was prescribed Effexor Xr and have been on it for years now (+/- 5yrs or so). I was taking 150mg at one point but decided I wanted to get off of it. BIG MISTAKE! Don't do cold turkey-probably the worst days of my life. I'm prescribed 150mg but I've been taking 75mg. The drug has done wonders for me.
As far as I can remember, the brain zaps(?), the yawnings-felt like a whole-body orgasm and felt REALLY GOOD, vivid, wierd, horror-Stephen King like dreams, delayed ejaculation (my ex-girlfriend didn't complain), restless leg syndrome, dry-mouth, etc subsided eventually. The only thing I still have are night sweats, and occasional restless leg at night. I do miss the yawning that felt like my whole body was in an orgasmic state. Headaches are frequent though I think that's because of sinus problems.
I do occasional drugs here and there and found that weed doesn't get me high as much anymore, mushrooms don't affect me at all (though this could be from the allergy shots I used to take), and recently took two E-tabs and felt nothing.
I believe my libido is down, haven't had a girlfriend since then. But being single is I guess my lifestyle. I actually enjoy life again thanks to Effexor Xr. It's not for everybody and took me 3 types before I found this one. Talk to your doctor and do the research for yourself. One day, I will slowly taper myself off and hope for the best.

Posted by Ulysses on March 1, 2007 8:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

I was prescribed Effexor about 6-7 years ago. At the time, I was going through tough life situations, single parent, serious work issues, other stuff. The work issue would reduce me to tears and I couldn't deal with it. I started on a low dose - 37.5 mg per day, and that helped me a lot. I kind of weaned off a few years later, and went back on when I lost my job in 2004. I've been at the current dose of 75 mg since.

I always had weight issues, and I have gained about 30 lbs, and I take hbp medicine. I have year-round sinus problems, so I get a lot of headaches. Despite all this, Effexor works for me. At the height of my depression, I would lay in bed and not get up. I was sad and unhappy most of the time. I had suicidal thoughts and sometimes abused alcohol. When I got back on Effexor in 2004, I felt better by the next day.

I probably will have to take it for the rest of my life. If that's the case, I will deal with it. I'm 45 and my biggest complaint is that I am EXTREMELY tired during the workday (I take mine at night), and I now take energy supplements to combat that problem. Better lifestyle (exercise, go to bed earlier, etc.) will probably help my apparent side effects, but at least I look forward to life and regular things again, and can have fun with my family and friends. I should probably increase my dose, though, because I sometimes don't feel like being bothered with people when I'm on my own time; and have difficulty motivating myself and sticking to a decision.

I would caution anyone considering or taking this to be VERY wary and watch how YOU react to the medicine. Every drug has side-affects, but if your quality of life improves, like mine did with Effexor, than it's a no-brainer. If I miss a dose, I have really bizarre dreams, and get that dizzy feeling, like my head is detached from my body. It's quite unsettling, and usually prompts me to take my medicine right away.

To anyone dealing with depression, Effexor is a lifesaver. I felt like a dark cloud was lifted from my life. I still have rough times, but my perspective is not so bleak. Life happens! Good luck! God Bless!

Posted by rr on March 2, 2007 11:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have taken myself off Effexor XR about a week ago and have been experiencing "electric brain shocks" as I call them.. ever since.
I was controlled by Effexor for over 5 years.. tried a couple of years ago to get off this drug but was unsuccessful.. don't get me wrong.. it helped me get through a very bad time in my life but the side effects of getting off this medication are aweful...I hate being dependant on it.
I knew that I had to wean myself off it or there could be some major consequences so I dropped down to 37.5 (from 75mgs) for 3 days.. then changed to 37.5 1 1/2 days later.. then 2 days.. then stopped. It has been about a week since I totally stopped and I feel like I am never going to be normal again. I found myself actually tearing apart the house this morning looking for just 1 more pill to make these side effects go away.. I am debating on going to the drug store today and getting a refill. If I only knew for sure how long these "electric brain shocks" were going to last maybe I could get through this.. which is why I am here. I have read here that about 2 weeks seems to be the norm.. if so I think I can do this (right now it's so bad that I am having a very hard time just getting through the day.. and I am afraid to drive!).....would love to hear from more who got themselves off this medication.. how long this will last. Thanks!

Posted by Laura on March 3, 2007 9:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been taking effexor for over two years, and recently came off of it for about 3 months because I was without health insurance and could not afford the prescription. i took it primarily to manage my headaches/migraines as i have suffered from them daily since i was 15 (now 28). i also have mild social anxiety disorder and the effexor helped calm my nerves so i could work effectively in my job. i never had any negative things to say about the durg while on it. i took 75mg daily and it really helped with my headaches and my anxities. i will say if i missed a pill for a day and did not take one by noon the day after i would be nauseous, dizzy and light headed. it was horrible, you do feel sick. but within 2 hours after taking it you feel alright again. i stopped cold turkey for three months and suffered probably 10 days from withdrawls. it sucked. but then i was fine, until i noticed i was highly stressed and on edge and when i drank i would start fights and become angry and argumentative, a personality trait i was not familiar with in myself. so i decided to get back on the medication, so help with the stress but to also help with headaches i was getting again (four migrains in a month). i started back on id say about two weeks ago. 37.5mg for the first week, 75mg for the last week. and i am extremely sad and fatigued and feeling depressed. i am unmotivated and lonely. i dont understand if this si a side effect of the drug or not. i also drank the other night, more than i should have, but not horribly so, andi blacked out completely not recalling part of the evening...i also see double after just 2 glasses of wine. has anyone else felt depressed with their initial start of the drug? and what are your experiences with alcohol and the drug?

Posted by J on March 3, 2007 12:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

Laura,

When I was first on effexor a few years ago I went cold turkey after 3 months @75mg/day. For me it took about 2 weeks for the brain zaps to clear, but I still got the occasional mild zap even up to a month after. For the first 3-4 days I made sure I moved as little as possible, stayed in bed a lot. For me the brain zaps were worst when I shifted the focus of my eyes. So I concentrated on trying to minimise that. The second time I was on effexor - just a week or so ago - I quit after just 4 days (side effects were too severe, much, much worse than the first time, otherwise I wouldn't have started again) Even after taking the effexor for just 4 days I felt the withdrawal symptoms. No brain zaps this time (probably not on the effexor long enough), but felt extremely hung over, cried at the smallest thing (and I'm a male !!) and came down with a heavy cold. It's now a week since I stopped taking the pills and I'm probably feeling about 90% of how I felt before.

To J:

I developed a very low tolerance to alchol when on anti-depressants (not just effexor). A very small amount of alcohol made me tipsy out of character, so I avoided booze like the plague when on medication. Also effexor affected my vision so another reason I avoided alchohol.

Posted by Greg on March 4, 2007 1:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

I accidently came across this page, while looking for a place to blog on my lack of motivation. I have been on effexor sr 150mg for 3years and I just added 100mgs of wellbutrin about 6 months ago as I was feeling tired and yawning all the time, as others have stated. The med along with therapy, helped save my life. For that I will always be thankful. BUT, now I am noticing that I have great difficulty losing weight, maintaining my motivation to keep moving is hard. I look outside at the snow melting, and the sun shining and find i long for my bed and playing sudoku. At first when I was tired I would accept that after working my work week that I needed a day to sleep off and on, well now it has gone to 2 sometimes 3 days, that I will not go out. There are other things that i put off, paying bills, doing household chores, shopping etc.
I have quit the wellbutrin as it wasnt a high dose and my doctor suggested it, he will then look at lowering my dose of effexor.
I used to be a highly motivated person, with passion and excitement, I feel like I have lost most of that.
I am also perimenopausal, I realize that this plays into it, as well as many other social factors.
I never lose hope, but darn it I am tired of being tired, I am going to continue to keep on looking for some motivational websites and use my positive self talk.
best wishes to all, and follow your gut.
Katy

Posted by Katey on March 4, 2007 9:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

Thanks Greg,
I couldn't handle the brain zaps (good word for it) and I called the drug store.. I had 2 refills left for 75mg but asked them to just give me 10 @ 37.5mg and told him why. I am calling my dr. tomorrow morning. I need off this medication but I can't get through the brain zaps. I guess I may have to do this alot slower than I really want to. I quit smoking 19 days ago (after 25 years) and let me tell you.. that was so much easier to do (so far lol).
Good luck all in the same boat.. this is not easy but sure is easier knowing you are not alone in your battle. :)

Posted by Laura on March 4, 2007 11:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hi to all - just want to say first of all, I wish everyone here who is experiencing difficulties of any sort all the best.

I was prescribed Efexor XL (venlafaxine) by a psychiatrist last week. (BTW, he was very quick to dole out the drugs - I'd only just met him and talked for 30 mins. But anyway...) I was wary enough of taking it before reading the comments here, but now... I really don't know what to do. I bought a month's supply of the tablets today and was planning to begin taking Efexor tomorrow, but I decided to do a bit of research first. I'm glad I did!

I've been on Prozac on and off for nearly 10 years, and I stopped the last time about 6 months ago. I hate the idea of having to take mind-altering chemicals in order to function, and aside from that, it just wasn't having any positive effects. What I feel like I really need is simply someone professional to talk to - a qualified psychotherapist. But that is a resource my doctor isn't willing to provide, and I can't afford to pay privately. And as I wouldn't go back on Prozac, I was shoved in the direction of Efexor.

I want so much to get over my problems, but it seems like beginning a course of Efexor would just equal opening a particularly nasty can of worms. I don't want to carry on feeling like I want to end it all, but I also don't want to endure what some of you poor people have have had to endure through taking this drug.

Then, I also realise that not everyone who takes Efexor has the awful reactions detailed here. It may actually help. The crux of it all, is it's a game of chance which I can't really afford to lose when I'm vulnerable enough as it is.

God, I'm sounding really melodramatic. Sorry! I just can't work out what to do.

Posted by Fred on March 5, 2007 2:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hrm, Just started this stuff yesterday to deal with panic attacks, brought on by certain situations and the anxiety I am having worrying about my panic attacks... I am on the lowest dose and I think that is all my Dr is going to prescribe, but after reading so much I am a little worried about the withdrawals, she expects me to be on it only a short time until after my wedding, as the wedding and planning it are a major source of stress for me. She thinks after it is over a lot of my issues will resolve but I don't want to be going through a terrible withdrawal after I get married! Previously I did have some situational depression due to a job I was not happy at and did take Paxil then generic prozac and I never felt any different on them, quit those cold turkey no problem and the prozac use to make me physically vomit and it was Thanksgiving and I wanted to be able to eat dinner... I do have a follow up appt in 4 days with my DR and will be asking about all of this. Perhaps there is another drug I can use a little worried after all of this. Most of my panic attacks were brought on by one situation which can be easily avoided-although this is not healthy either, but is it better than drugs???

Posted by Erin on March 7, 2007 10:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hey. I was perscribed today, when I read the side effects it said weight loss an I was like to positives in one yay! Now all this 70 pounds 30 pounds I'd be huge I just have a little anxiety I'm freaking terrified! i'm only 18 also I want to try Xanax my doc said no it's addictive but look at this stuff!!!

Posted by michigan on March 7, 2007 10:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

So after being on 75mg a day for a year I started coming off Effexor in Febraury. Today is my first whole day with no pill. Having brain zaps (more like whole body zaps though) like crazy. I went down to 37.5 mg, then half a pill, then quarter a pill, just to stave off the withdrawel. Is it really going to be 2 weeks before these zaps stop?

The pills did help me, and I didn't really suffer any side effects on them, but coming off is a nightmare. Wish I could just go to bed a sleep it all off, but with 2 kiddies it's just not possible. But at least I have gone 1 whole day without a pill, however crappy I might feel, surely things can only get better?

Posted by Jo on March 10, 2007 11:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

I am female, 48 years, was on Effexor 150mg xr for 6 years. I have been off the effexor for five weeks now after tapering down over about 10 weeks. Since coming off completely I have suffered the most severe mental agony. Racing, looping, negative thoughts. I'm very self-critical and full of self doubt. I have no confidence in myself. I am suffering a heavy and thready kind of heartbeat and feel on the verge of panic attacks most nights. Am yawning a lot. Does anyone know if the body can recover from this point and become well again? Thanks from Kittee

Posted by Kittee on March 11, 2007 3:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on effexor xr for about 1.5 yrs. 75mg./day Went on it while going through a divorce and am over it now. Have been wanting to get off this for quite some time. Managed to skip a day and now only take it every other day for about 6 months now. My withdrawl starts almost imediately the time I should take my pill the second day. Brain zaps, very dizzy and my hands go numb and tingle. My plan is to get 37.5mg and start taking those every other day. I'm sure it will suck, but I'll get use to it like I did with the 75mg every other day. Then hopefully I can taper off all together. I think tappering slowly is the best way to go, otherwise you really fell like hell....

Posted by Nick on March 12, 2007 11:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

"Fuzzy;" "Brain Zaps;" "Bad Memory;" "Lack Of Motivation;" Lack of Selfconfidence;" Wow, these sound familiar.

I'm a late 40's attorney who started Zoloft in 1997. At first, it opened up a beautiful new world for me I did not know existed. Clarity, focus, mental-sharpness, self-confidence.

Over 9 years, this slowly changed. 10 months ago, I was literally running into the wall, hopeless, discouraged, sucicidal, etc., ready to chuck it all in, and go live by myself on a mountain--just like I was when Zoloft came to my rescue. Albeit, I've had MANY things in the past 4 years of my life, from personal to business to health, etc. which my counselor and psychiatrist say would "sap up all of the RAM in anyone's computer and cause the computer to crash."

Well, Effexor came to my rescue 10 months ago, and I began the path toward functioning again. Lost the suicidal thoughts very quickly. Within 60 days, things were much better--but if I took 1 drink of alcohol, WHAAMMMO!. I felt horrible for days. And before, I could drink A LOT, without ever feeling too bad. Even though I know I will feel terrible, I still have incidents of drinking 6 drinks one night on the weekend, or a couple of glasses of wine on a weeknight, and that further adversly effects my motivation until mid week, or longer. This is because my spouse drinks almost daily, and all of our friends drink a lot--just like I used to. It is hard to break out of the pattern.

I still have major problems being motivated. I am NEVER back on my game for more than a few days. It is SO frustrating. I no longer have the burning desire that is essential to being a great lawyer. That desire is a combination of working really really hard, and having a fantastic memory, and being on top of everything--and having a great, big, hot spark. No more spark.

Now, things just refuse to stay in my head. I've lost my spark.

Good things are that I've lost weight, I'm physically healthier than I have been since I was 30, I no longer smoke cigarettes (not for over 18 months); I drink hardly at all, I get lots of physical activity, my diet is semi-vegetarian and very healthy. I've developed several rewarding hobbies. But work--man, too much of the time, I could care less. And caring less does not pay the bills.

Maybe I'm just burnt out as an attorney. I hope not, because it is the only way I know to earn a living.

For the past 6 months, I've mentioned the symptoms I'm having, and my psychiatrist, and counselor, and internist, and "whatever else doctor" tell me they do not know--that Effexor should not cause that. Then, I read this forum, and say, "Wow. I'm not alone."

I beleive the Effexor is resulting in my "fuzzines," my "lack of motivation," my "bad memory," and my "lack of confidence." It is doing some good things, but the tradeoff is one that scares the Hell out of me from the "earning a living" standpoint.

Posted by Nobody on March 15, 2007 4:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

My girlfriend successfully tapered off over a period of 14 weeks. She would not have been able to do it without Tart Cherry Concentrate 1200 mg, and now that she is off she still has to take a Multi with Whole Food Concentrates, 2 Fish Oil and Chromium Polynicotinate 200 mcg. Without it she gets terrible anxiety, but as long as she is on it she's fine.

http://www.theroadback.org

Posted by Survivor's boyfriend on March 15, 2007 4:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

Oh yeah, if you are "unhappy" with this product being on the market... go to this web address to sign an online petition to ban it!

http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?effexor

Posted by Survivor's boyfriend on March 15, 2007 4:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

To Nobody - sounds like you hit poop-out with the zoloft; now you're getting a range of standard venlafaxine side-effects. Nothing unusual (at all). Apathy, lethargy, not caring about things that need caring about... it is unreported / unrecognised / dismissed / misdiagnosed as a matter of routine. Google away on: venlafaxine, effexor, apathy syndrome, amotivational syndrome, frontal lobe syndrome, lethargy. Or go to a bookshop/library and read a copy of 'Prozac Backlash' by Glenmullen - gives you the side-effect picture written by a top pyschiatrist who listened to his patients (not the reps) and investigated; book relevant to effexor/venlafaxine, and zoloft, the SSRIs, not just prozac... looks at the mechanisms implicated behind the outward symptoms.

The fact that your 'psychiatrist, and counselor, and internist, and "whatever else doctor"' are all saying they've never heard of it, is normal. They are taught that. It is the original problem. Their drug reps tell them so. So do their Pharma-sponsored peers. So the thought and critical faculties you would hope they would be endowed with, never kick into gear. It doesn't help that one of the major Psychiatric Journals is Pharma-funded, either. Neither that the drug companies are most definitely NOT investigating anything that could affect sales. So you can bet your bottom dollar that 'side effects' and 'withdrawal effects' will be towards the top of the 'Do Not Officially Recognise' list.

Posted by Someone on March 15, 2007 5:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

Thanks, Someone.

I'm going to get that book, and follow up on your suggestions.

Since you did not mention any solutions, I'm kind of worried that the answer is that I'm SOL.

If not, please let me know your suggestions.

By the way, the "bad memory/focusing/multi-tasking" things I've described did not just pop up in the past year. It insidously crept up for the past 3 or 4 years in various lesser levels, but would fortunately subside after about a month, and then I'd be OK for 6 months to a year.

I truly wonder if now-for the rest of my life--I'll be unable to handle the high stress, demanding profession, I'm in.

Fortunately, I can still be creative and have the spark when I'm in negotiation, or meeting. It is just that afterwards, my follow up is close to non-exisitent. It is as if I need a keeper to make sure I'm staying on task. And who the Hell wants to be my keeper? People are coming to me because THEY need a keeper.

Thank you so much for your response.

Sincerely,
Nobody

Posted by Nobody on March 16, 2007 3:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

Thanks, Someone.

I'm going to get that book, and follow up on your suggestions.

Since you did not mention any solutions, I'm kind of worried that the answer is that I'm SOL.

If not, please let me know your suggestions.

By the way, the "bad memory/focusing/multi-tasking" things I've described did not just pop up in the past year. It insidously crept up for the past 3 or 4 years in various lesser levels, but would fortunately subside after about a month, and then I'd be OK for 6 months to a year.

I truly wonder if now-for the rest of my life--I'll be unable to handle the high stress, demanding profession, I'm in.

Fortunately, I can still be creative and have the spark when I'm in negotiation, or meeting. It is just that afterwards, my follow up is close to non-exisitent. It is as if I need a keeper to make sure I'm staying on task. And who the Hell wants to be my keeper? People are coming to me because THEY need a keeper.

Oh, I'm on 225MG, taken each morning. My psychiatrist added Provigl, too--5 months ago--due to my "apathy/lack of energy," and the fact that I have mild sleep apnea. It seems to help some--but concerns me, since it is a "double-count" presciption. And Xanax from time to time to make it easier to avoid alcohol--although I have not regularly taken Xanax for about 4 months.

Damn, that's a bunch of head drugs! Does this mean I'm nuts? :)

Thank you so much for your response.

Sincerely,
Nobody

Posted by Nobody on March 16, 2007 3:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

To all people who have difficulty coming of this drug: yes after a while you will start to feel better. The withdrawal effects WILL go away after a few days or weeks. At least in my case they did.

Posted by Olav on March 19, 2007 4:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

Olav, did you get off of Effexor because you no longer needed it, or because it was causing problems? If it was the latter, what were the problems you encountered?

Is anybody out there getting off of Effexor for any reason other than the problems is is causing for you?

Posted by Nobody on March 19, 2007 5:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have not been able to get off Effexor XR for years due to serotonin withdrawal syndrome (WAY, WAY nastier than the problem I started taking Effexor for in the first place.) Effexor worked great for a while but when it stopped helping I found out what a nightmare withdrawl is - completely disabling. DOCTORS WON'T TELL YOU ABOUT THIS WHEN THEY PRESCRIBE IT. Most have not even heard of the problem because Wyeth won't talk about it. They say going down on the dose very slowly helps but it also drags out the length of time that you have to go through the painful process. I hear that Benedryl helps a lot - might try this next attempt.

Posted by Paul on March 20, 2007 12:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

this is because of gil who posted in oct.2006 my mother has a brain injury as well and a dr mentiones effexor but can't clearly explain how it would help you are the only other time i have heard of this if you are able to tell me more i would realy apreciate it i am also glad to hear someone has found something that works in aiding these very frustrating problme

Posted by angie mercier on March 21, 2007 4:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

I am a female in her early twenties. I have been suffering from anxiety/agoraphobia for a year and a half and am finally getting help. I've been on Effexor for 2 weeks.

Reading through these entries, it seems like a lot of people were not informed well by their doctors and pharmacists. What I was told, and what turned out to be true, is that it takes a couple of weeks for the drug's effectiveness to kick in. In other words, you will feel the terrible side effects (which DO go away-- in my case after 4 days) before any results. This is why it's worth it to stick with the drug for at least a little while before deciding whether or not it works for you.

I am now at the stage where Effexor should be kicking in to help relieve my anxiety/agoraphobia. I can say positively that my mind is clearer. I still have anxiety, but it is less intense than before.

It's a long road ahead. Good luck to everyone out there.

giostra@gmail.com

Posted by S on March 22, 2007 10:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

well here it goes, ive red all this took me a long 2 days hrs n hrs , lets start off i have had anxiety since i was 7 yrs of age, now im 27.

i was put on ritalin for ADHD and going thru learning disabilitys as a child, it was a long road i hated the ritalin my brain felt liek it was gonan explode.
so i got off it right away waited yrs n yrs till i hit 16 which i thought drugs was the anwser to getting rid of the anxiety and curiousity
then nothing for a few yrs started drinking. thought it woudl go away ended up gettin addicted at 21 to marijuana and alcohol let go of the mary jane, and persued the drinking like 2 yrs or so, and ended up leaving all my feelings in the bottle and guzzling them suffering with the anxiety and anger i had,
ended up gettin a conflict resolution course under my belt, and let go of everything told myself its not helping this paranoia and what not i had my attacks rapidly.

so then the decision was seeing doc and he recommended paxil and tried one for a day and i was dr jekyl and mr hyde i really wanted to take on the world and i just didnt know how horrible the drug made me feel got off that n moved on to ativan which is nothing but a bandaid to cover up the issues of anxiety and chill you out so you forget bout it.

so next addition was using gravol dealin with these cycled attacks and frustration i got suicidal in 2003 and my dr said ok prozac is the anwser i felt like a bloody zombie all day, cloudy and crappy so i said GET ME OFF IT suffered bout 2 weeks of feeling si hated. and then he introduced me effexor sample pack and you take 37 mg and next week 75 next week 37 next week 75
n then 75 after that
and you know from that day on i was like wow this medication is really amazing. it changed me inside out, i gained a appetite never got attacks cause they were prevented with effexor, did em during the day got tired wasnt happy so i took it at night and my situation was taking this now for 3 yrs so i came to understanding that i was doing great so happy and then i realized about the 2nd yr n a half i realized i was 160 n moved up to 190 so im like weird, cold sweats doin house work, never had any nightmares sleep like a baby, enjoyed life made music and used it for therapy, going to NA meetings being 5 years clean now.
but i realized as this medication was in my body and still is, it seems that my motivation for life is gone, my positivity isnt all there im a lil more sad then i was, i feel like im disabled thx to this medication and lost 75% of my energy in a everyday period so now i only have 25 % of body strength to do housework or anything.
so i decided from that occurance i want off this crap!!!!!!!!!!!!! ive put enuff with this not enjoying life even tho im calm and chilled out and neutral i feel not my normal self i feel very tired during the day mostly on 75 mg on the 37 mg its a lil better but its not good for anxiety i still can get triggers.

so from that note im pretty fed up i talked to the dr i said cant i get a 2nd opinion hes like, well see, what about a psychiatrist? oh 8 month waiting list? come see me ina few months. i told him i want off i been reading about these withdrawls im not enthused to read all those horrible situations.
i know that i didnt take them for 3 days i suffered from tremors, psychitic trauma thoughts like i lost hope, im addicted to this bloody chemical. im on 75 mg on tues n thurs sat sun and 37 mon wed fri
im just sick of the affects not being able to do anything i wanna do i cant work now i feel enclosed its sad and i want another choice then feeling stuck and feeling like i got no hope.
im still gonna do music it should help i also fish so that helps, but honestlly why cant something work so we dont suffer from all these affects n feelings?
so thats my story being on this junk i mean its changed me for the better but i shouldnt have to feel like a drug addict on this stuff and having to take it everynight
like i said ill take another 24 and see how you all reconcile my situation and what ive said thx
Vertiflow

Posted by Vertiflow on March 22, 2007 10:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

Vertiflow,

Man, I feel for what you are going through.

Please don't go cold turkey again.

Some of the feelings you've had happened to me last May, when I hit the wall with Zoloft. For all practical purposes, I was incapacitated, and a wreck. I was lucky that my counselor is also a friend, and was willing to call everyone on my insurance plan list until I got in to see someone.

I urge you to contact your insurance provider, and get the list of all psychiatrists on your plan. The list is probably on the internet site for your insurance plan.

Be persistent with your Dr., ask him/her, or the nurse, to make some calls to try and get someone to fit you in. Give the Dr./Nurse the list. Put your request in writing. Fax it to them, if you have to. If it is in writing, the Dr. may feel more pressure / obligation /liability to respond to you.

If your Dr. won't, try calling the psychiatrists yourself. (I have no idea if that will work, but if your Dr. won't respond, it seems like the next option. Or, get a new Dr.)

I don't know what to say about the "lack of edge." I experience that, too, and it is so frustrating.

Can you go for some long walks? If your health permits, that may help. I'll go on a 3 to 4 hour hike on the weekends, and after the first hour my head actually starts feeling like I'm "O.K." I try to walk for 30 to 45 minutes each morning, and that helps.

Hang in there, and please keep us posted. We care.

Posted by Nobody on March 23, 2007 7:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

I'm a 40ish male,and was feeling shaky, and thought maybe I was having nervous jitters from stress. I lived through Katrina, had a heart problem and almost died a few years ago, and have had financial problems as a result of Katrina. Got on Zoloft for 3 months, but had bad side effects like diarrhea 3 to 4 times a day. Doc switched me to Effexor 75 mg, and had been on it for 6 months. No side effects from switching from Zoloft cold turkey to Effexor. I started getting restless leg at night, also have gained about 25 pounds this year, also have had vivid dreams. I could recall just about every detail of a dream, and my wife was amazed. Remembering every dream is a little unsettling. Now that I'm off Effexor for 10 days, I don't remember any of my dreams, and I like that! Other than that, I felt a little better in that I was more confident and less emotional (panicky). Last month told the doctor I wanted off Effexor. I found out that I was drinking way too much coffee, sodas, etc., with caffeine. I realized after getting off of caffeine, that it was the culprit of my shaky jittery feeling. I could have just gotten off caffeine, and I would have felt 100% better. It is tough to kick caffeine, because you feel tired otherwise, and every soft drink is caffeinated. Any tips on staying away from caffeine? No side effects for me from stopping caffeine, but it is hard to not drink coffee or sodas. Anyway, doc gave me a prescription for 37.5mg Effexor xr and said to take that for 2 weeks, and then take one every other day and then thereafter only when you have a headache. I followed that guidance to the letter, and 10 days ago, after cycling down, I stopped taking any all together. It has been pure hell. I'm not going to take another Effexor to dull the pain. I want off, so I'm just staying off it. I have had the fuzzy feeling in my head, and I’m very nauseated. Thought it must feel like someone feels on chemotherapy (just awful), kind of like having the flu. The headaches have improved over the last couple days, hopefully I'm beating it. I'm going to beat it, and not let it beat me. I'm going to try the Benedryl and see if that helps. I was taking extra strength Tylenol every 4-6 hours for the headaches. All the while I was attending executive meetings, making speeches, etc. It has been tough to appear to feel good, but feel like crap inside. Again, I equate this to how someone feels on chemo or with the flu. Sounds like 2 weeks is the standard time to get past this feeling. I'm going to let my doctor know what hell I've been through. He told me there would be side effects from coming off the drug. Just hopeful the foggy headed feeling stops, that’s the worst feeling for me. It makes you feel dizzy headed. I’ve had most of the symptoms that everyone talks about during withdrawal. Hey, I tried it, and had some benefits, but I won’t get on it again. Good luck with the withdrawal symptoms for everyone. It was helpful to read all the blogs. I didn't know how long the withdrawal would last. I think I'm at the end of the withdrawal feelings.

Posted by Jimbo on March 24, 2007 7:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on effexor for less than a month and i have to tell you, i don't feel a damn bit better. In fact, i feel the same....still depressed and still have suicidal thoughts. I've become more harsh with my words, and have little remorse for anything and i say some pretty horrible things to people. And i've noticed that i've become more physically violent towards people. The only thing that's changed, really, is the fact that i don't burst into tears whenever i have an argument with someone. Instead, whatever i say makes the OTHER person end up in tears. I feel like i'm a different person.....a monster. With no feelings. I feel like i could shoot someone, and walk away thinking "oh well, another boring day."

Posted by Jessica on March 25, 2007 2:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

STOP PUTTING SCARY THOUGHTS INTO OTHER PEOPLES HEADS. EVERY ONE
I TAKE THIS AND YOU ARE REALLY SCARING ME. I HAVE BULIMIA AND I TAKE EFEXOR FOR THIS, IT IS HELPING ME JUST FINE. KEEP THE SCARY THOUGHTS TO YOUR SELF, YOUR DOCTOR OR YOUR SHRINK.

Posted by EMMA on March 26, 2007 1:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

Dear Emma,

I understand your concerns. I am so happy that Effexor is working for you.

There are other folks on this post that are also getting good results.

Those of us who are getting less than good results have, to a significant extent, mentioned our problems to our professional, but our results have not been acknowledged by our professionals--possibly because the "official line" put out by the pharmaceutical company does not include the effects some of us have experienced.

If I had not found this forum, I would have thought I was the abberration. Knowing that I am not an abberation has been a validating experience for me.

If I had not been having problems, I would never have searched for, and found, this forum.

I reiterate my observation to all who are interested--do not consume ANY alcohol with Effexor. I am almost 13 days into no alcohol. Life is much better.

Also, I ask you all to be reasonably cautious about taking "Sudafed/Claritin" type drugs. After being "right on top of things" last Wednesday--for the first time in almost 10 days--I was beset by allergies Wednesday evening, and on Wednesday evening/Thursday morning, etc., took some "Sudafed/Claritin" type drugs for my allergies. I soon slid into a dullness/non-motivated mode. Usually after I take a "Sudafed/Claritin" type drug for allergies, I'm back on top of my game within 3 hours.

One other question for all of you out there: Has anyone experienced any "wierd ear pressure" due to Effexor? Since last June when I began taking Effexor, what I've been experiencing is a pressure sensation in front of my left ear (and I'm certain this is not due to allergies, since it occurs at times that are not "allergy times"). It is not all of the time, but it is consistent and occurs numerous times each week. I've mentioned this to my physician, psychiatrist, opthamologist and rheumatologist, but receive no explanation, real concern, or suggestions.

Posted by Nobody on March 26, 2007 8:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

I noticed 1 person's comment several month's back mentioned having trouble breathing. I've also experienced this side effect.

Anyone else?

Posted by Anybody on March 26, 2007 3:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

My Doctor wants me to take Effexor Xr due to Anxiety,Obsessive thoughts,some depression, I can see his face "YOU HAVE TO TAKE YOUR MEDICATION GREG" but I've only done it for just 1 day then I quit because then at night I don't sleep..Does this continue to happen or am I not giving it a chance to metabolize and I'll eventually sleep on it? When I did take it (isolated instances just one day per time)I felt better, more energy,more positive no obsessiveness thoughts but I didn't sleep etc..I worry about dependancy issues too. Anyone help me on this..Thank you!

Posted by Greg on March 27, 2007 6:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

I've been taking Effexor to treat my anxiety disorder for about 2 weeks and I've never felt so bad in my life. I've had bad sweating, upset stomach, insomnia, dry mouth, aching/tight muscles, racing heartbeat and brain shivers.

Posted by David on March 27, 2007 11:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

All: thanks for the help. I developed tennitus (ringing in my left ear on Wellbrutin - did I spell that right?) after a week. A year later I tried it again, ringing in my right ear (both now). A side effect of these drugs in <1% of people is this ringing. I see several of you have the same problem - I have tried accupuncture, meditation and the rest - no real luck. the good news is when I am really relaxed, I can go for hourse and not hear it. I was prescribed effexor xr 37.5 mg 2 x day, have read the warnings now 2 times and these posts have convinced me "don't take it". My tennitus is loud enough; my weight is too high, so thank you. Tammi, post #30, email me and I will fill you in on what I know about ringing in my ears - next will be hypnosis. Peter

Posted by Peter M on March 27, 2007 9:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

I'm a 43 yr-old male, and have been on Effexor xr (75 mg daily) for a couple of months now.

There were some strange side effects early on, such as mild nausea, hand tremors and morning anxiety, but they went away within two weeks. The only real drawbacks now are inability to achieve orgasm (at least not without a LOT of work) and a general "flatness" in mood. I would give the drug overall good marks, as I'm no longer at the mercy of constant emotional meltdowns and the overall feelings of hopelessness I was experiencing.

One other side effect is that it seems to be aggrivating a pre-existing condition... tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. I've been used to it anyway for the past few years. It's just a little more difficult to get to sleep in a quiet room.

My doctor thinks I should continue therapy at least through the summer, but I'm eager to get off the stuff. I'm nervous about withdrawal side effects, plus the prospect of going off right before the holidays isn't very pleasant.

Posted by Bruce M on March 28, 2007 7:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

I'm chronicling my tapering of Effexor XR from 300 mg to 150 mg after my tapering from 375 mg -> 300 mg half a year ago led to a very hellish week!

The blog is at http://abeffexor.blogspot.com

I'm terrified of the brain zaps I get when I miss a dose. There have been several times in the past three years when I have missed a dose for whatever reason and ended up with horrible mood swings, crying spells, persistent headaches, and a complete inability to concentrate.

I hope that someday I don't have to be a slave to this drug anymore.

Posted by Rachel on March 28, 2007 12:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

I've never taken anti-depressants before, and didn't even know that the same drugs were prescribed for anxiety. I was a total mess....shaking so much some days that I couldn't hold a pen....utterly unable to function. Within a month of taking Efexor, I felt as though I had my life back. Now I can hardly believe how bad I was, and how far I've come. Efexor was literally a lifesaver.

Posted by Sheila Abrahamsson on March 29, 2007 4:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

Figured I'd add my two cents on the matter, I've been on and off this medication for nearly 2 years now.
At first it was a low dosage of 37mg then we slowly worked our way up to about 200mg a day. It worked great for awhile except that I got the occasional headache, nausea, restlesness and eye problems... but then I got off ot it. Like everyone else has said, the withdraw was excrutiating! I couldn't control my mood (was constantly yelling/crying for no reason), thoughts of suicide came to mind for the first time ever in my life, I became increasingly paranoid, I couldn't sleep at all and worst of all I had nausea to the point where I just wanted to lay in bed because the pain was so severe!

I'm back on it now cause I just couldn't take it, not being on it was killing my school and romantic life, since I've been back on it the moodiness and paranoia has almost entirely gone away but the nausea is still severe and my eyes unfocus a lot now....

I'm really not pleased with this stuff at all and I actually plan on talking to my doctor pronto on getting me on something else because this is just absurd.

Posted by Anonymous on March 29, 2007 1:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

to 144: I had horrible troubles with breathing when I dosage got upped. My doctor just told me "it's all in your head"

Posted by Anonymous on March 29, 2007 1:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

My fiance has been on Effexor for about 2 years now. I am not familiar with these types of drugs but am very concerned about changes in his behavior and actions over the last several months. I was hoping for any kind of advice about this, and wondering if anyone has noticed these things either in themselves or in someone they love taking Effexor.

1. He will get suddenly angry and hostile for no apparent reason (usually very caring and loving) and there have been 2 EXTREMELY scary episodes in the past year

2. Becomes irritated at strangers (such as people in line at the store or at a nearby table at a restaurant) that are just having their own conversations; he will get very bothered by what they are talking about and I have to calm him down

3. Memory loss/difficuulty concentrating

4. Unable to feel sympathy or have understanding for others

These things "come and go", and there are many others, but when these things happen to him, they are very severe, and have been happening at a much greater rate over the last couple months, especially the last few weeks. He was seeing a psychiatrist at least bi-weekly but for the past 6 months has not been to his psychiatrist. He had a closed head injury 12 years ago and was clinically depressed about 4 years ago. He also takes other prescription drugs and herbal supplements.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, and reading these posts has been heartbreaking.

Amy

Posted by Amy on March 29, 2007 10:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

Amy,

On issue 1, does he provide or hint at an explanation or excuse afterwards? If so, I'd be interested in what it is, no matter what the connection.

On issue 2, does he feel that those people are being insensitive in the topics they are discussing, or in the loud volume of their conversation?

On issue 3, is this short term memory loss? Do interruuptions (even very minor ones) tend to accompany the inability to concentrate?

On issue 4, do you think he feels this way because things are so bad for him that he flat does not feel that there is enough of him to go around "feeling" or "having sympathy" for other people?

If the answer is yes to all of these, I've been there, too. And I had all 4 feelings on Zoloft as recently as about 1 year ago.

In the past year, I've made a lot of progress with 1, 2 and 4. I think Effexor has helped much with those. Things I've also found helpful are strong excerise, healthy diet, and nutritional supplements.

Does he consume ANY alcolol? With Effexor, that decimates me with 3. And I become very much "not caring about much at all."

Do you think any of the nutritional supplements may be working against him? What are the supplements?

With regard to 3, this continues to be a huge deal for me, too. Over the past 2+ weeks, with no alcohol consumption, 4 is beginning to get a little better; while it is kinda of a hit and miss, in general is seems to be improving. Also, I'm trying to write stuff down immediately so I'm less likely to forget. Adaptation, I suppose. In hindsight, the memory problems have gradually crept up on me for 6 years.

No question about it--having memory problems sucks. But it is better to just have that, and to have made progress on 1, 2 and 4.

I must say, I am much better off than I was 1 year ago.

However, by golly, the manufacturer should be strung up and locked into the stocks on the town square for letting loose a substance that has the addictive qualities that so many report in this forum--WITHOUT FIRST DISCLOSING THESE REALLY BAD EFFECTS.

These bad effects can be tantamount to allow someone to survive without feeling suicidal, but yet in a state that prevents them from supporting themeselves.

Good luck, and hang in there.

Posted by Nobody on March 30, 2007 12:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

Amy:

If he is on Efexor and other antidepressives, it is important to know what and how much of each he is taking because Efexor cannot be mixed with several old-generation antidepressives such as MAOIs and other psychotropic prescription drugs. This issue is very important and has to be consulted with a psychiatrist who will monitor the possitve and negative effects the drugs might have on his behavior and overall improvement.

His lack of concentration might be a sing of the mood swings and sudden irritability/temper outbursts
he is experiencing. But again, this has to be discused with a professional.

It is well known that the lack of libido in some men (a normal side-effect of Efexor) causes irritabble behavior and fits of anger.

I have been on Efexor for nine months and I have also experienced mood swings that I had to battle with. But of course, the people who notice this the most are the people you live and work with.

One of the symptoms I have felt in that scope is the lack of tolerance for others people feelings and ways, that I also had to learn how to cope with and control my self.

Side-effects can be devasting, you must have read about those here. Your support is a key factor.
Good luck.

Posted by Andrew on March 31, 2007 1:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hello,

I have been taking effexor for the last 2 days and after reading about it on the internet, I have decided to stop taking it. Will I have any withdrawl issues after 2 doses?

thanks

Posted by Jamey on March 31, 2007 2:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

What is meant by "brain zap"? It appears regularly on this page and I can't quite figure out what it means. Will someone please describe it for me? Thanks.

Posted by Andrea on April 2, 2007 10:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

A 'brain zap' is somewhat similar to the sensation you get when you hit your funny bone. Only, the BRAIN ZAP starts at the back of your head, stretches down both arms, down your torso and sometimes down your legs. It is (thankfully) not as intense as a 'funny bone zap,' but it can occur every few minutes for days, or even 'pulsate' for hours on end.

Posted by ween on April 2, 2007 12:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

Please don't let the "don't take this drug!" comments on this page scare you!

Everybody reacts differently to this drug, and if you are suffering from depression, it can be extremely effective and life-changing. If you have negative effects, you can stop taking it, but if your doctor suggests it, then it is definitely worth trying.

Personally it is the only thing I have found that helps my clinical depression. I don't think I'd have survived without this drug, simple as that, but now I wake up and want to actually live and do things. Yes it has some negative side-effects, but for me, the positive far outweighs the negative. I used to enjoy creative writing and I find it hard these days, and sometimes forget words (this could be unrelated to the drug). I also get sleepy when I sit for too long watching a film for instance, and have to make sure I take my last dose before about 6pm, or I will sleep really heavily and find it hard to wake up the next day, having vivid dreams and feeling 'drugged' in the morning.

Yes, these negative effects aren't nice, but without this drug I would be a mental wreck...we all know how depression can destroy a person, and if I miss a dose I get a taste of how I used to feel, and realise how much I owe to those little tablets.

If you suffer from severe depression then please be aware that you might need a high dose (I'm on 225mg) before you notice much relief, and it can take 2-3 weeks for them to work properly.

If I'd read this page before taking this drug, I'd have been extremely worried, especially since I'm a small person, and tend to be sensitive to foods etc.

Please don't worry, EVERYBODY REACTS DIFFERENTLY and this drug could change your life in a positive way, like it did for me.

Posted by Debbie on April 8, 2007 3:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been off Effexor XR for six days and I just got out of the emergency room!!! And that was UNDER a physician's care

Posted by William on April 9, 2007 1:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on 275mg effexor for the last 4 years for Borderline syndrom. It has been a life saver. I have not divorced, run away, or quit a job since! I have no real side effects..except night sweats and an occational locked jaw.

Posted by MMM on April 10, 2007 7:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor for 2 years now. I had mild anxiety, no panic attacks, just difficulty with some work situations, such as presentations and dealing with some administration. I just felt like I could not be myself and get extremely nervous. Initially I was prescribed the lowest dose of Lexapro, but I was completely snowed. Then I was changed to 75mg of Effexor. It did the trick! Confidence and composure was (is) had. However, I do tend to find myself very occasionally missing a dose and find myself so nauseous and dizzy I can barely handle myself. Reading the above comments about coming off the med. has made me very concerned. I was hoping to discontinue use within the next year, but it sounds unbareable (and I know what it feels like for skipping it just one or two days). Any advice on ways people have overcome the withdrawl/side effects or how long it took them to feel normal again?

Posted by tanya on April 11, 2007 2:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

Help...
I have just been through 2 days without Effexor 175mg a day. My brain is shrinking, i feel sick and cannot think or do anything. I was not planning to stop, but upon visiting the chemist and discovering they were out of effexor, (the nearest chemist being 130kms away) I had to go 24hrs without this drug. What is happening,. Now i am scared to take it again and scared to not have it. so now it has been 48hrs. Actually i am scared to leave the house as I feel I will just vomit. I can't see myself driving. Has anyone quit cold turkey? I feel my life is back on track and I don't want to keep taking the drug, but I am quietly going insane at this moment. Any advice? Anyone who has stopped cold turkey. This is getting worse..

Posted by Peta on April 11, 2007 7:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

Peta,

Go visit this forum:

http://www.topix.net/forum/drug/effexor/TCDBCBLD99KUQ56BF

A lot of the posters there have quit cold turkey and have advice about how to ease the withdrawal symptoms. Hang in there!

Posted by Andrea on April 11, 2007 7:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

I am currently on week 2 of trying to get off this drug! I was perscribed by a Dr. after seeing him during my divorce time. He perscribed me 75mg of Effexor not once telling me the severe side effects from coming off the drug! My new Dr. has told me that she DOES NOT and WILL NOT perscribe this drug to ANYONE!!! She is trying to help me get off of it as safely as possible. It angers me to no end that any Dr. can just perscribe this drug without really checking into someones background.. I was already diagnosed with high cholesterol and can only imagine what it is now. Wish me luck.. I am trying to take the 75mg every other day now then once the sickness goes away after a few weeks I will drop it down to every 3rd day until I can completely remove it from my routine.

I dont advise anyone to just take this medication without a ton of research!! I wish I had done it before agreeing to take it.

Good luck to all!

Posted by Marnie on April 12, 2007 2:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

Marnie - get your doctor to check out the half-life of Effexor (5 hours).

By missing out days as a method of 'weaning' you are actually rocking the levels of Effexor up and down in your body like a roller-coaster. Constantly going in and out of withdrawal. 75mg effexor every other day does NOT equal 37.5mg/day, and hence this method of reduction (commonly recommended to patients by their doctors, gulp!) usually leads to a right mess. Particularly as the time between doses extends.

In an antidepressant withdrawal FAQ (ref p.97 of Glenmullen's book on the subject 'The Antidepressant Solution') you find the following:

"Q. Can antidepressants be taken every other day as a method of tapering them?

A. None of the short acting depressants should be taken every other day as a method of tapering them. Because of their short half-lives, the every-other-day schedule can result in roller coaster levels of the drugs and roller coaster episodes of withdrawal symptoms."

The emphasis in withdrawal is usually to keep the drug levels as stable as possible within the body, by taking the same dose every day... then you wait until you stabilise, and only then drop the dose to the next withdrawal level.

Posted by Someone on April 12, 2007 8:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

I was on effexor xr 150 mg last year for a few months and found that it really helped me with depression. i was happy and at peace for once. I went off it because i felt i didn't need it anymore and the side effects were pretty bad. I tapered the dose, and then the first day off the 37.5 mg was pretty bad, nausea, electric shocks, dizziness, low mood, just feeling ill. luckily this only lasted about 4 or 5 days for me. then i felt better than ever last fall until about december when i started to have extreme anxiety (i've had several periods of this in my life, and i'm only 19). So i went back on the effexor (i'm also on risperdal to help with my irrational thinking) and have been on 112.5 for about two months and i have no side effects at all. i'm not depressed or as physically anxious but im still mentally anxious and my emotions are intense. Just yesterday my pdoc told me i have Borderline Personality Disorder. So this has been a huge shock to deal with. But the effexor has been pretty good, harmless for me. I think it does what it can for someone with a biological temperament like i have. Missing a dose doesn't bother me really. I don't recommend or unrecommend this drug. It works differently for everyone so just because someone has a bad experience doesn't mean everyone else will. That said, follow your doctor's advice, if they seem competent and understanding, and pay attention to what you feel on the drug. good luck to everyone.

Posted by Mariah on April 13, 2007 2:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hi I've been on Effexor for over two years. The side effects are making me more miserable than my so called depression. Right now I'm on 300mg a day. Has anyone else been on this high of a dose? It doesn't seem like it.

Posted by Tiffanie on April 13, 2007 4:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

Does anyone have a solution or remedy to help with jaw clenching? Would a dentist be able to help with the pain by making a bit?
Thanks

Posted by Margaret H. on April 14, 2007 7:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

Margaret - the jaw clenching is an adverse drug effect. If you google on variations of jaw dyskinesias or jaw dystonias, bruxism, tmj, orofacial disorders, EPS, movement disorders, in tandem with effexor / snris / ssris / venlafaxine then you will get more information. A mouthguard will help to protect your teeth, but will not solve the problem, because for most people it is caused by the drug. People who suffer from odd yawning fits are probably also exhibiting a movement disorder. In a trial on healthy volunteers on a serotonin booster, 50% exhibited the problem within 2 days.

Bruxism article/tmj http://www.stevedds.com/bruxism.htm

Little more on orofacial movement disorders p.4 in ref to serotonin boosters. http://archives.zinester.com/24886/105337/157671_clark2.pdf

All movement disorders should ideally be reported to a doctor.

Posted by Someone on April 14, 2007 8:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hi Rae,

I have just finished reading the many helpful comments from Effexor XR users and non users, and your comment about your extreme hair loss was of great interest to me. The same situation is occurring with my "female" head. My Effexor withdrawal has been tough enough, but the hair loss makes me feel a bit like Job, the righteous sufferer.

Bummer!

I have no solution, so if you find out a way to prevent and or restore hair loss, please let me know. Thanks

Posted by Laurie on April 16, 2007 11:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

Things seem to have turned around for me significantly as I continue 225mg of Effexor XR. Set forth in earlier posts (from "Nobody") beginning around March 15, you can follow some things I've been dealing with.

I count my lucky stars that I'm getting my head back together--I am adapting with my memory loss by keeping a "document" on my pc desktop that is open all of the time, and I enter things I need to do as they pop into my mind, with the most recent day on top (and when it is done, I change the font to "strikethough" so I can see what I've completed)--this is helping a lot, and taking some pressure off of me.

I've also been able to resolve what had been a HUGE stress issue from a business standpoint, and this has made my perspective much better. I'm still very behind in work, but bit by bit I'm getting back my spark and slowly catching up; finally, I'm getting back that old driving desire to be a great lawyer. And the confidence that is essential. And the sharpness. And the focus.

I think that the biggest change I've had is drinking ABSOLUTELY NO ALCOHOL since March 13. And oh how I've been tempted; good luck and occasional Xanax have gotten me through those tempting moments.

Unfortunately, my spouse is really suffering from drinking problems, and is very depressed, and will not seek out help. My spouse read this forum, and totally freaked out with the effect Effexor and other SSRIs have on people, and I doubt if my spouse will take any medications for her condition other than booze--which if continued will lead to some real serious repercussions.

I'm noticing that the actual tempatations for me to drink are much less--the situations are still there, but they are affecting me less and less. And the memory of how screwed up my head is for at least 7 days if I drink while I'm on Effexor is a pretty good incentive, too.

FOR ANYONE WHO IS CONSUMING ALCOHOL AND TAKING EFFEXOR, PLEASE STOP THE BOOZE IMMEDIATELY. SEE MY POSTS ABOVE ON HOW IT IMPAIRED ME.

A few folks have mentioned they can drink without any effect--we'll good for them. Just remember, booze is a depressant.

Also, recently (2 WEEKS AGO) I've resumed some nutritional supplements that are vegetable/fruit derivatives that are supposed to be better utilizable by the body than other supplements, along with fish oil caps, green tea extract, red yeast and gingko biloba ( I don't know if the gingko does anything or not--I started gingko 4 months ago, in my effort to try ANYTHING that might help my memory--studies of gingko vary much, and some say it does nothing for the mind).

After taking all of these supplements for 1 week, I gradually notice more focus and energy. After 2 weeks, it is even better.

My diet continues to be more vegetarian and less meat. Instead of wine, I drink pomegranate juice a lot. And hot teas, and lots of water.

I practice a hatha type yoga weekly, and stretch a lot during the week. I've not exercised in the past 3 weeks as much as I would like, but plan to get back on that routine in the next few days.

Libido is way down, even moreso than 1 month ago. Having an erection is not the problem, as I'll wake up with "morning wood" every day--but my spouse is usually up late drinking, and I get up early to work, so things just are not connecting. I can live with this for the time being, since the lowered libido also results in clearly lowered horniness--so if this is the price I pay while I get my head back on straight, it is a reasonable tradeoff. I do not, however, want this to be permanent, and hope it is not. It was not with Zoloft, once I had been taking it for a while. Futher, I think some of the decline has to do with me working through the big "stressor" in business that is all but now resolved, after being touch and go for 2 weeks.

I still am very concerned about the long term effects of Effexor, and rue the day I may have to go through the withdrawal, etc. For now, I'm just glad to be back on track, and to feel good about practicing law, and to be hitting pretty much on 8 cylinders.

I still do not have the stamina I had 5 to 8 years ago. However, I now have a more balanced life. I'm also considering that my "one track mind" that focused all of my energy on my career in the past may not have been the healthiest approach to life. I know I'm happier now even though I have less "work" stamina.

I still have lots of "recreation" stamina. So maybe I'm just learning to be better balanced.

Oh, the money for my family is a big issue. We are barely getting by, have no savings to speak of, are totally reliant on my law practice which is pretty much hand to mouth, and are living check to check to payment. One stumble and we'll be in bankrupcty court. So much for the stereotype of rich lawyers.

Fortunately, I'm able to find, somewhere deep inside, a knowledge that it will all work out. I momentarily wonder if that is a failure of me to be addressing a problem--however I know that I'm doing everything I can, so worrying about "what may happen" seems to be waste of energy, and destined to only reduce my our likelihood of getting through these problems and coming out of all of this as survivors.

My spirituality, I think, is also a big factor in working through this--which is sort of a "peace" that is based on the yoga experience, feeling healthier due to good foods and excercise, balancing my life better, etc., and some wake up calls in the past year that have led me to become much more spiritual, and much closer to finding the peace that I am beginning to consider may be one of the big gifts of finding genuine spirituality. Compassion and forgiveness are the two major components that I find are changing my life.

I think the Effexor is helping me a lot--but again, I still am deeply concerned about the past problems I've had on Effexor, and all of the problems that others are having with Effexor.

I should have taken more time to write this better so that it was shorter and concise--but I wanted readers to see that Effexor can positively change you over a month period (even after being on it for 6 months prior to that 1 month period, with spott results duing that 6 month period). Long term tradeoffs remain unknown.

I hope this is helpful to someone. I'll provide updates as things progress, change, improve, etc. etc.

Sincerely,

Nobody

Posted by Nobody on April 16, 2007 9:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor XR for 6 months now-started at 75mg, now on 150 mg once a day.I am a female in my thirties. I am noting success with this medication(was on Paxil several years ago(hated it and the dicontinuation symptoms that followed). The worst part of this drug would be my lack of appetite, night sweats(waking up drenched in a cold sweat), graphic, gory nightmares and just a general sleep problem. I have TMJ and do wear a nightguard so I have not noticed any increase in bruxism but have had a few instances of near "lock jaw" and jaw pain from time to time. For most, these side effects may constitute stopping this medication but it has been a lifesaver for me and my depression and anxiety. I do worry about stopping this medication because of the hell I went through with Paxil.

Posted by Thea on April 18, 2007 6:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

I'm going into week number three with no effexor...I have been sick for all of it. Brain zaps, sleep issues (including insomnia, troubling dreams, doing things such as eating and not remembering having done so...the wrappers and plates are a dead giveaway, though), nausea, ringing in ears, muscle and joint pain, feverish, memory problems - the list goes on and on. When I started this drug, it seemed to help a bit, but then the side effects took over (such as insomnia, weight gain, constant dry mouth, muscle twitches, memory problems, chronic constipation, etc.) I spoke with my doctor about coming off the meds - she was not the one who initially prescribed effexor - another doctor in the practice actually put me on it - her response was that coming off effexor needed to be done slowly because I would literally feel ill...she was 100% correct. I underwent a 48-week treatment which included weekly alpha-interferon injections and ribavirin for hepatitis C in 2001-2002 and I thought that was hell - well, this withdrawal is hell all over again. I keep reminding myself that it will eventually be better and every day I ask God to help me through it - one day at a time, just like an addict. I have been tempted to start the meds again just for the relief, but then I would have to go through this again. I read the inserts provided with the medication by the pharmaceutical company (Wyeth), as well as the print-offs given to me by the pharmacy...I do not recall all of these side effects as having been listed. I believe that pharmaceutical companies have an obligation to advise us on ALL side effects, including those that occur when coming off the meds. I will never take this medication again, and should anyone ever ask me about effexor, my response will be to run FAST, as far away as possible, from this horrible drug -personally, I think it should come with a BIG, BOLD warning about withdrawal effects. This was not my first encounter with antidepressant meds and I can honestly say that my previous experiences were for the most part beneficial, but it will certainly be the last encounter I ever have with effexor...this is one drug that warrants withdrawal from the market.

Posted by Helen on April 18, 2007 6:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hello,
I have been researching effexor for sometime now and have wondered if I was the onle one with these horrbile side effects. I have been of Effexor for almost a year and have tried several times to go off of it. Of course with no success. I have several side effects while taking the meds such as dry mouth, headaches, jitters, confussion, bad vision, yawning, sleeplessness, nausea, sweating, hot flashes, nightmares and several others.
I have had even worse withdrawl symptoms and feel that I am dependent upon these drugs to be able to somewhat function. When telling my doctor about these things he has just told me that It means that the meds are working for me if I am having withdrawls like that and that I need to continue to take my meds.
I was put on this drug after I had a break down. I was on over load between three kids moving hubby gone all the time etc.... I stand and stare at my meds before taking them and end up in tears because I hate to take them. I am on 150 mg of the effexor and wish that I was never on them. I wouldn't even wish the feelings and withdrawl syptoms that I have gone through on my worst enemy.
I have found that I am unable to remember what life was like before the meds and find myself crying all the time. I am in college and love what I am doing but have found that I am sick with side effects of the meds often that I miss a lot of school.
I am very glad to now know that I am not the only one out there with these horrbile side effects and withdrawl syptoms. I thought for a long time that I was going crazy and that it was all in my head....

Posted by Heather on April 19, 2007 12:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

I was just curious if my side effects are normal or not. I have been on effexor 75 mg for about a year now and about 2 weeks ago I told my doctor that I would like to go off it because I didn't feel like I needed it anymore. I took 37.5 mg for a week and then this week have had nothing. My side effects are dizzyness and at times my lips get tingly. Is this normal? Please let me know. Thank you.

Posted by Jenn on April 19, 2007 3:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

Jenn - if you want to find out more on the subject, then get yourself a copy of Joseph Glenmullen's book 'The Antidepressant Solution' which will give you the rundown on antidepressant withdrawal.

Here's Glenmullen's list of withdrawal symptoms:

That Mimic Depression
1. Crying spells
2. Worsened Mood
3. Low energy (fatigue, lethargy, malaise)
4. Trouble concentrating
5. Insomnia or trouble sleeping
6. Change in appetite
7. Suicidal thoughts
8. Suicide attempts

That Mimic Anxiety Disorders
9. Anxious, nervous, tense
10. Panic attacks (racing heart, breathless)
11. Chest pain
12. Trembling, jittery, shaking

Irritability and Aggression
13. Irritability
14. Agitation (restlessness, hyperactivity)
15. Impulsivity
16. Aggressiveness
17. Self-harm
18. Homicidal thoughts or urges

Confusion and Memory Problems
19. Confusion or cognitive difficulties
20. Memory problems or forgetfulness

Mood Swings
21. Elevated mood (feeling high)
22. Mood swings
23. Manic-like reactions

Hallucinations
24. Auditory hallucinations
25. Visual hallucinations

Dissociation
26. Feeling detached or unreal.

Other
27. Excessive or intense dreaming
28. Nightmares

That Mimic the Flu
29. Flu-like aches and pains
30. fever
31. sweats
32. Chills
33. Runny nose
34. Sore eyes.

That Mimic Gastro-enteritis
35. Nausea
36. Vomiting
37. Diarrhoea
38. Abdominal pain or cramps
39. Stomach bloating

Dizziness
40. Disequilibrium
41. Spinning, swaying, lightheaded
42. Hungover or waterlogged feeling
43. Unsteady gait, poor co-ordination
44. Motion sickness

Headache
45. Headache

Tremor
46. Tremor

Sensory Abnormalities
47. Numbness, burning or tingling
48. Electric zap-like sensations in the brain
49. Electric shock-like senstions in the body.
50. Abnormal visual sensations
51. Ringing or other noises in the ears
52. Abnormal smells or tastes

Other
53. Drooling or excessive saliva
54. Slurred speech
55. Blurred vision
56. Muscle cramps, twitches, stiffness
57. Feeling of restless legs
58 Uncontrollable twitching of the mouth.

Cardiac effects are not on this list, but are well known to be associated with withdrawal.

So, you seem to be exhibiting the dizziness (40-44) and sensory abnormalities (47) withdrawal effects.

Posted by Someone on April 19, 2007 7:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

I am doing the withdrawl thinf asI write this post..I have been waiting 3 days for doc to renew my script for my effexor.. seems I have to visit the office.. to re-confirm my addiction.. originally put on Effexor due to a relationship gone sour and having mild drepression due to it...that's been about 12-13 yrs ago.. no longer depressed.. unless not taking the stuff. and I continue to have to see doc before I get a refill.. sometime having to go days without the meds. I do not have health insurance and far from being wealthy..so it's pay check to paycheck here and I was not advised of the long term problems or even that Effexor was a addictive drug. I trust my doc and am almost certain that she to was not fully aware. As when I was priscribe the med it was new on the market. How many have sat in the waiting room awaiting to see doc and see the drug reps come and go They push these drugs to the docs which in turn docs push on us. I been better off getting some street drug and addicting myself to... At least street drugs ya dont have to wait for some doc to approve a refill.... I feel trapped and dispite doc trying to ween me from this drug it has been un-successful. SHAME ON ALL OF THE LICENSED DRUG PUSHERS CALLED PROFESSIONALS.

Posted by LR bowles on April 21, 2007 5:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor for 6 years now and I consider it a miracle drug. I was suffering from severe, constant anxiety. I wanted to die rather than feel the way I was feeling. I was put on 250mg and was on that dosage for 3 months then switched to 150 mg. At first it took awhile to adjust and I delt with constipation and had a hard time sleeping. To help my body adjust, I changed my diet (no caffeine, low sugar) with the help of my doctor and dietician. I also took a glucose tolerance test and was told that I was hypoglycemic (severe up and downs of my blood sugar levels and consiquently the chemical levels in my brain) and was most likely the cause of my anxiety. After changing my diet and eventually getting down to 75 mg of Effexor, I am a new person. The only problems I've had with this medication is being overmedicated. After my initial 250 mg, and then 150 mg I failed half my classes in college my last semester and pretty much didn't care about anything and my face kinda tingled all the time. I came to realize that THIS IS A SIDE EFFECT OF BEING OVER MEDICATED! This is not how it is suppose to work! At a lower level, my anxiety is completely under control and my life is now in control and my face doesn't tingle. I would never get off of this cold turkey! The few times I have missed a dosage, I've havd nausea and dizziness. This was my fault! On this drug, you have to plan ahead! The only side effects I've ever seen (except from the initial) have been when I missed a dosage! That is a warning on the label that the pharmacists puts on the bottle. I've also gotten pregnant on this medication and delivered a perfectly healthy baby and breast feed for 10 months on 75mg daily. I consulted more than 1 doctor before getting pregnant on this drug. I also looked up online medical journals. Apparently there have never been any long term studies on this drug and pregnant women! At least that was 2 years ago. The "new" warning may be due to the fact that there have been no studies and they don't want to mis-inform! So, I don't know if I just got lucky, but my doctors felt that it was safe and that it would have been more harmful for me to go off of a drug that stabilized me for 4 years to get pregnant and then end up having to start a regimine to keep me from relapsing during my pregnancy. Sometimes it makes me wonder if people who have huge problems on this drug have been misdiagnosed or have been put on too high of a level! For me it has been a miracle drug, but I do realize that mental health is a balance of a good diet, excercise and in my case a lower dosage of Effexor. I also make sure I don't run out! I've also found a program that Wyeth had that made is so that at one time (while poor) I got my medication for $8 a month. Ask a pharmacist about these programs! I've just come to understand that Effexor isn't going to "cure" my anxiety. If I go off of it I have to realize that chances are pretty great that I will end up with anxiety again at some point. Most doctors do not know the ins and outs of this drug! You have to do your research and pay close attention to how you body is reacting and follow the "rules." It is worth it for me to pay attention to the rules to live a anxiety free life.

Posted by Molly on April 23, 2007 12:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

They started me on the 37.5, and I was doing fine for that first month. Then the Dr decided to increase the dosage after that month cause she's never seen the 37.5's work for anyone. I was on the 75mg for a week and the side effects got horrid. I started to forget to take them cause I started nto being able to sleep then sleeping for a good chunk of the day. The side effects and the coming off of them are no different to me...this med seems to work for some and doesn't for others...I don't wanna be on this stuff any more.

Posted by Jade on April 23, 2007 1:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

HI its me Jeremy. Been a good 4-5 months now since my last post. My last post was me on effexor at 16 days and most side effetcs were wearing off. Today I can say I'm completely turned around and feel wonderful. Effexor has literally changed my quality of life. I have no side effects of any kind, no weight gain of any kind. If you are thinking of using effexor please try and have an open mind. As many have said before + remarks about effexor or even other drugs are hard to come by online. People aren't going out of there way to search for a place to post their + experiance as much as someone that is trying to warn about the neg. effects. For all you know there are 3 times more people happy with effexor than not and by soley going off what one message boards content has could be a mistake. Follow your gut.

Posted by Jeremy on April 24, 2007 1:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hi, I took this drug about 4 years ago after being diagnosed with major depression. My doctor prescribed the lowest poss dose (can't remember what it was-long time ago now)and had no side effects apart from my suicide attempt 2 months after starting it. Obviously being depressed it wasn't the first time I'd thought about it, but I'd always rejected the idea as a stupid non-solution. Shortly after beginning the drug, I started to make definite plans & only for the fact that I got impatient & couldn't wait for the right time I would have been successful. I have since read that that these drugs are supposed to cause heightened suicidal ideation (just what you need when you're depressed) & countless stories of people who end up taking their own lives while on these kind of drugs. Everyone has their own experiences & has to decide for themselves what works for them but I would just say to be very very careful. I will never take any drug like this ever again.

Posted by Sue on April 25, 2007 8:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

Read a copy of Joseph Glenmullen's book on how to withdraw from these antidepressants... 'The Antidepressant Solution'

Pretty much the first thing you find out is that you must not miss out days as a method of tapering - that starts the level of the drug rocking in the system, and you get plunged in and out of withdrawal.

Then you find out that it's recommended to spend 3-5 weeks at each reduction stage. Minimum.

Posted by Someone on April 25, 2007 4:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

When I went on the drug my docor told me that going off of it was going to be a bitch and that if I missed any doses I would be an unhappy camper.

She was certainly right on that. You CANNOT miss a dose on this drug. If you do you feel like absolute crap. Severe headaches, electric shocks (or brain zaps), big time sweats, ringing in my ears, just feeling incredibly horrible.

I also seem to get extremely (!!) fatigued very very easily. Has anyone else had this problem when on Effexor?

Currently I am taking 225 mg of the drug. I was on 300 mg for a long time and just feel so so much better on the lower dose. My brain is so less foggy. So my clearer. I didn't even know I felt that way until I went down in dosage. It makes me wonder what I would be like if I went off this completely. But my depression is pretty bad and Effexor has helped there so I am worried.

My doctor said that when I want to go off Effexor it will take time and I need to work with her.

Specifically she said Lexapro was very helpful as a drug to go onto as you go off Effexor, that it mitigated the symptoms a lot.

When I missed a day or two of Effexor and took some of the Lexapro I had around the house still from when I was on that, I had absolutely NO withdrawl symptoms. So my doc seems right.

I would urge all people who are trying to get off this drug, for whatever reason, to work with their doctor and potentially to use Lexapro as a bridge.

Posted by matt on April 26, 2007 8:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

My doctor had put me on Effexor recently, yesterday I had taken my first 37.5mg dose, and three hours later I had already experience increased anxiety, shakes, my hands would not stop fiddling when I walked, my legs were constantly shaking, my head was hurting, I couldn't sleep for an hour at night, and woke up with another huge headache. I WILL NOT be taking another one...after seeing all these posts, I will not put myself through that EVER!!! Good luck to everyone who uses this drug...

Posted by Shannon on April 27, 2007 7:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

I took Effexor for about a month. The laundry list of horrible side effects I have been experienced include:

Severe depression
Sweating
Hyper-ventillating
Irregular heart beat
Uncontrolled anger and driving rage
Horrbile taste in my mouth.
Irritibility.


Right now all I am trying to to is get the rest of the poison from the drug out of my system. I have not taken it for a week and am still suffering symptoms, although not quite as severley is when I was on the drug. Does anyone know how long the side effects are going to continue? This drug is like a poison. It is the equivalent of an American-built car, in that the company has sold you garbage and they have no intent on backing it up. I have also considered filing a lawsuit. Does anyone know if there are any class-action lawsuits for this drug? I would greatly appreciate any advice I can get.

Thanks

Steve

Posted by Steve De on April 27, 2007 8:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have read many of these previous comments regarding Effexor XR. Boy, what a range of experiences!
I was on Effexor XR , 75mg/day, for 2 years until I decided to go off it about 3 months ago.
I must say that I had a relatively successful experience compared with some of these I've read here. I weaned VERY slowly. I literally took the capsules apart, slowly reducing the number of granules. Every week I would reduce the number of granules by 5 or 7. It took at least 2 months to completely wean off this drug. I experienced dizziness and a bit of nausea. Other than that I seem to be okay.
One thing I have noticed is my energy level. It is really down, sometimes making me wonder if I'm fighting a virus or flu bug. I don't know if this has to do with the drug but that's all I have to say.

Posted by Tracey on April 27, 2007 5:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

I took Effexor for about two weeks (up to 75 mg/day) and decided that was enough. The primary reason was that it significantly disrupted my sleep -- at best I would get about four hours of sleep and be plagued by extremely vivid and sometimes horrifying dreams the entire time. That was about it for the side effects, though, and withdrawal was not too bad.

After that, I tried several other ADs that didn't work for me, but then finally tried Luvox and it was exactly what I needed. I've successfully been using it for 7 years now with no noteworthy side effects. So if all the negative comments on here are discouraging you, don't give up! There *IS* something out there that can help you, even if Effexor isn't it. Finding it will take some trial and error, but if you persist you ultimately can get some relief.

Also, a note for those who mentioned that they regularly use marijuana: Do you realize that depression is a potential side effect of smoking marijuana? Try giving it up and see if after the "washout period" your depression improves. Maybe you don't need Effexor after all!

Posted by Another Voice on April 28, 2007 10:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

ive been on this stuff 4 years for mild depression/anxiety. do not get on this. the dreams are nightly, as lucid as life, morbid, depressing, causing tremors, mental fatgue on waking. i am currently trying to wean off, have spent 9 months doing-still on it. dr gave me prozac to help wean me off. its not working. dream sleep issues have arisen, sleep study center-scary enough- cannot find much REM activity when im dreaming. STAY AWAY! YOU MAY BE ON THIS STUFF FOR LIFE AND SUFFER IF YOU START IT. IM TRAPPED TRYING TO GET AWAY

Posted by Anonymous on April 29, 2007 4:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

Thank you soooooo much for the info. I talked to my doctor this afternoon and we are going to start weaning off immediatley. Still does not think it is safe to return to work. I hate being idel.

Posted by THERESA on April 30, 2007 9:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

I started taking effexor ten days ago. I'd been clinically depressed for almost ten years, but it's been better lately. I noticed a change on the first day. Everybody did. A few days later I cleaned up my room which was a mess for a long time. I just felt so much more organized in my head like I knew I would keep it clean this time. People said I seemed less freaked out and happier without me telling them about it. A few days ago I took an increased dose and that was the day I got lost in a big city for four hours alone. Normally I would have been freaking out but this time I was driving around thinking "this is fun!". I had intended to go exploring anyway which I would have been scared to do otherwise. Now I am getting kind of hyper so today I'm trying the original dose again. There's one side effect. I have a feeling of cold in certain parts of my body, inside. While it's a cold sensation, it doesn't make me cold, as in shiver cold. It's just a little annoying. I don't know what effexor would have done when I was massively depressed. But I feel almost like I could handle getting a job now and passing classes.

However my friend tried it before and he got minor seizure like symptoms right away.

Posted by Anonymous on May 1, 2007 7:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

I've been on effexor for 1 month. My dreams are very vivid. Last night I woke 3 times seeing the siluite of the top curve of my bedroom mirror as an intruders head(infront of my moon-lit bedroom window)3 times I thought this was a person next to my bed. I remember being so scared that I kicked my leg out, only to find myself kicking nothing. I have my appitite back thanks to effexor which is great, but am not sure if the excessive tiredness and fluelike symptoms this week are the flu or caused by effexor. Not sure, but I will try and ween myself off-replace couse of action with excercise and some goal setting and see if I can rid these dreams (see which solution is better)

Posted by Anon on May 2, 2007 1:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

A bit of a long winded tale her but worth the read for any parents out there...

Prescribed Effexor in May 2006 after "hitting a wall" due to a combination of excessive work then death of my dear Dad.

Crept dosage up from 37mg/day to 3x37mg/day. Major headaches for first 10 days then improved. Over a period of months did not like the side effects, excessive sweating, memory problems, jaw clenching, lethargy, chronic fatigue. What bothered me most, and I remember telling my doc this was that instead of this being and anti anxiety medication, it had turned into a "I just don't give a crap" medication and as a wife and mother I did not want to live that way any longer.

Doc prescibed Wellbutrin with the goal of tapering off the Effexor but ended up in ER with severe case of hives. Hives were all over including scalp! Went to ER when spread to my neck and lips.

So, I was stuck with the Effexor. As stated, committed to a full year.

This is an insidious drug.

The obvious physical sypmtoms remained including the "Oh my gosh the world is spinning!" feelings when I was late taking my dose.

What I mean by Effexor being an insidious drug is the fact, that for me anyway, I barely noticed how detached emotionally I had become. I knew I was missing deadlines and forgetting to follow up at work and I had a "it is what it is" attitude when called on this. To be honest, if not for my boss having experienced this with his spouse while she was on Effexor I doubt I would still have a job!

What really disturbs me though is the lack of engagement I have had with my husband and 8 year old daughter. I have not really been "there" for such a long time now. On an intellectual level I recognised this on several occasions. And at times was able to "suck it up" and force myself to play with my girl or talk to my husband (after years of griping that he didn't talk enough to me!).

When interacting with my little family (4 of us including the cat) a majority of the time I swung between not caring much (wanting to stay in the bedroom to watch TV on a Saturday morning) and flying off the handle - intense snapping, almost to the hostile point.

The straw that broke the camels back came just as I approached the one year mark for taking this stuff. After blowing up at my 8 year old for trying "to get my attention by misbehaving (go figure that one Einstien!) I went and read through the possible side effects of the medication again and sat with my daughter and apologised. I told her mommy had been taking some medicine ever since Grampa died. Let's look at what it might make mommy feel like. I played it up real good for her making as many jokes about it as I could. "Irritable?... Have I been irritable, no way! Aggitation, aggressiveness! Not me!"

When she asked me what all those words meant I told her cranky, bossy and mean. "That's you Mommy! Let's call the doctor and tell her that you have to throw those pills away"

I promised I would go see the doctor and ask her to help me stop taking them and then I asked her if I had been those things a lot. She told me, and I quote: "I feel like my old Mommy died and you are my new Mommy."

We cried and hugged and I promised her that I would do my best while going off these bad pills but that I might need extra hugs to help me but it would only be a little while longer and her "old mommy would be back"

She poked me in my tummy and asked if that would be leaving too. I have always been overweight but am now tipping the scales with an additional 35 lbs!

I start my taper this week, dropping 1 of the 3 pills for 3 weeks then one more etc till all done. Will be seeing the doc every two weeks to monitor reactions and have been prescribed 5 mg Cipralex.

Wish me, and my little family luck!

Posted by Sharon on May 2, 2007 1:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

My name is Renée and I have been taking effexor XR for the last 6 months. I was so releaved when my depression was lifted by this miracle drug. I felt "normal" for the first time in years. I am an alcoholic and have been sober for the past 5 years but I just could not feel well no matter what I did.

This past week was awful. I felt nauseous and dizzy. The ringing in my ears and the brain zapping that you all have talked about was scary.

I was on my way to the hospital but changed my mind and figured I would check the web on side effects as I had missed a few days of taking effexor and my blood pressure pills.

I am grateful to everyone that has posted as I have the answers I was looking for. I will wait for the summer to be wheened off the drug but I will also look into other options to deal with my depression.

Many thanks to you all!

Posted by Renée on May 2, 2007 6:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

I am on 75mg a day for depression for six weeks now. I have found it to be very helpful -- but I also see a therapist and exercise A LOT. I had some side effects at first -- insomnia, weight loss and constipation. All subsided after about a month. I do seem to sweat more. We'll see about weight gain now, but I think if i exercise and control my caloric intake ti shouldn;t be a problem.

Posted by Dave on May 2, 2007 8:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

I am so glad I've found this web page, Ive been taking 150mg Effexor for Bi-polar disorder, and because it's so expensive I can't continue on it, Since I've stopped taking it when I look left or right I get dizzy, I feel as if I've got the flu, I break out into a sweat all of a sudden, I get very hungry after i've eaten, I feel like crying all the time, and it feels like my brain shivers for a second or so, i've been like this for three weeks, I'm a local preacher and when I preach I feel like crying, I can't function anymore I have only enough energy for about ten minutes then i need to lie down, i'm only 31 years old, I don't know how much longer I can do this, please, if there is anyone who could suggest a natural detox to get this out of my system, I beg you please give your opinion, I have a wife and a 15 month old daughter, I can't work, I lie in bed all day because I've got no energy I feel like i'm dying..... when will this end, I don't know how much more I can take. Nobody told me about these side effects how could the Doctor do this, my life is falling apart, but i'll persevere, they MUST take this drug off the shelves.

Posted by Graeme Hastie on May 2, 2007 12:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

Please, if anyone has read my previous comments, and has gone down this road before, how long do you think it will take before I feel better, perhaps I could take medication to sleep alot and evade the torture, there is no such thing as free medical aid in
South Africa

Posted by Graeme Hastie on May 2, 2007 12:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

Wish I could give you some sort of advice. But I posted the other day and I am going through the weaning process and things are getting really tough for me. I am feeling alot like you. This drug is POISON and there needs to be something done about it. I am still miserable. Kelli

Posted by Kelli on May 2, 2007 1:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

Thanks for listening Kelli, we can beat this, I'm angry that this is happening to me, but i'm humbled by the fact that i'm not the only one.

Posted by Graeme on May 2, 2007 1:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

I came across this site looking for answers. I am 31 and have been on 75mg of Effexor for 2 years now. I recently decided to stop taking this medication after I was out oftown and had to go without it for a couple of days, The effects from that were enough to make me want to stop taking it so I tried cold turkey... HUGE MISTAKE!!! I was sooo sick, I had nightmares everynight, I couldn't hold my eyes open and when I did it was like I couldn't focus. I was terribly irratable, Horrible migranes... So I called my doctor who started me back on them at 75mg then slowly down to 37.5 mg I did that and got down to taking the 37.5 every other day, I was ok with that... I have now been without them for 6 days and I am totally misserable, My nightmares are back, All I want to do is sleep because it's the only time I feel better other than the dreams, I have horrible headaches, blurred vision, I can't seem to get my mind to focus, I'm having severe stomach pains, I am all around isserable but I am haning in there I don't ever want to take this medicine again!! I think I kind of feel like someone trying to get off of drugs and the withdraws they go through!!! WOW, Who would take them in the first place if they thought they were going to go through this!!!

Posted by Kelly on May 3, 2007 10:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

I've had serious breathing problems for the last couple of years, and only now have I realized that it began when I started taking Effexor. My nose always felt like it was closed up. I've had problems with snoring, day-time drowsiness. A couple of weeks ago I stopped taking the Effexor and within a week my breathing problems began to subside. I'm now breathing better, and my other problem of excessive thirst is gone as well. There is no other explanation for the dissolution of my breathing problem. I haven't lost any weight. The weather can't be the reason either, because warm weather never helped my breathing before. If you are taking Effexor and have developed breathing problems since having taken it, stop taking it immediately. Don't listen to your doctor if he/she tells you it's due to weight gain, because there's a good chance it isn't.

Posted by Anonymous on May 3, 2007 11:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

Last night, I took my first and ONLY dose of Effexor XR. I've been dealing with clinical depression for many years, and I've tried several different meds with varying degrees of success. My doctor suggested Effexor this time, as it often gives better results in chronic and severe cases. I know from experience that all of these types of medications make me somewhat nauseous, so I always take my meds before bedtime. (I figure if I'm asleep, I won't feel it if I do become queasy.) Last night, though, I woke up about four hours later and had to go vomit. This turned out to be only the beginning of a night spent alternately heaving my guts out and then lying in my bed, sweating and shaking wildly. This routine lasted all night and well into the morning hours. I went right back to my doctor this morning and told her what had happened, and she hardly even seemed surprised. She just gave me a prescription for Lexapro instead, which I've used in the past with decent enough results. I can't believe the way the Effexor made me feel... I don't care if it would eventually make me feel like I'm dancing on the moon-- nothing's worth going through that again.

Posted by Name Withheld on May 3, 2007 3:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor XR (75mg) for over 3 years and thank God for it almost everyday. Before I started taking it, I had about 6 years of unexplained health problems (severe dizziness, limbs going heavy, severe nausea, heaviness in my chest, loss of balance, heart palpatations, etc...). My Doc put me through every battery of tests she could and after almost a year could not pinpoint what was wrong with me. Out of desperation, she sent me to an ENT and they did some pressure testing on my ears and presto, my problem was found. My symptoms were said to be caused by an impairment of the communication between my inner ears and my brain. My Doc said that a study had come out detailing some previously "undiscovered side effects" of Effexor XR. One of these symptoms was to rectify the impairment I was thought to be suffering from. So she prescribed 75mg of Effexor XR. The change and effects were almost instant (within the 1st 24 hours). Now you have to understand that my symptoms were so severe as to keep me from functioning almost at all. The depression from what was happening and not being able to find a solution as I got worse was no help either. Since being on Effexor XR, my quality of life is 1000% improved. All my symptoms dissappeared and I have gained my life back! The only side effects I have really "suffered" from the Effexor XR is some loss of labido (I am a 40 y/o male). The benefits of this drug compared against its "side effects" are miniscule at best for me. I have my life back! THANKS WYETH!!!

Posted by Daren Steadman on May 4, 2007 7:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

I've experienced delayed ejac. (which if my girlfriend tells me a story, I can get over and reach orgasm) My scalp itches and is really dry, but the worst side effect is that I get very painful boils around the anus area. I mean PAINFUL. Not a lot, just 2 or 3, but they last about 2 weeks and are excruciating. I'm coming off this stuff now and hopefully these symptoms will leave!

Posted by chris on May 5, 2007 6:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

I've been depressed and I think very anxious for most of my adult life and have also been on Prozac. In certain times in my life I've been on nothing, but have always seemed to self medicate with harder, illegal drugs or food. Recently I've tried to stick on the straight and narrow, not resorting to my past habits, and was literally going a bit crazy with my anxiety (tough situation at work, etc). So, I went to my doctor, she recommended Effexor, which I was a bit concerned about, but at that point my anxiety was so severe, and my aggression was at such a point, that I was beginning to lash out at loved ones: not cool. So, I started on the medication - it took about 10 days for the first side-effects to wear off. What it felt like was that in-between stage when you take LSD, where you don't know if you are tripping or not, but you know something is up. So that only lasted a short time, and now I'm on 2 doses of the 37.5 in the morning and 1 dose in the evening. I've noticed that I've had low anxiety levels, enough that I've actually gone out in public and have been more social, and more relaxed. My mood is a lot better, and I wouldn't say that I've lost any creativity or personality, it has just lifted a weight of expectation and concern off of my shoulders.

With that being said, I believe that I've had anxiety driven depression for a long, long time, where some of my side-effects from my anxiety and depression have been weight gain, aggression, anxiety, depression, insomnia, brain zaps, hypochondria, socialphobia, and suicidal thoughts. So, effexor, in comparison, has lessened those tendencies, and helped me be more productive. This is a very strong drug, and I would not recommend it to someone who is situationally depressed, as you have to weigh your own side-effects versus effexor's.

Right now my side-effects are still dry mouth, and a bit of tiredness. But I've had to go off caffeine because the effexor combined with caffeine makes me a bit too jumpy. All the dry mouth phenomenon does is make sure I drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. But it isn't the drug for everyone, that's for sure. But it has definitely helped me.

Posted by Anonymous on May 5, 2007 4:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on effexor 75mg/day for the past two years. I haven't really ever had problems with it other than crazy vivid dreams....which sometimes can be negative, but mostly they are just interesting to dissect.

my problem is this. recently (one month ago) i went to the hospital with severe constipation (my stomach was super swollen)...after some meds which softened the stool, it subsided and i felt better, however, a week ago ; my stomach swoll up again and i went to a gastro-enderologist who told me that a huge side effect of effexor, and other anti depressants is constipation. something i never knew, or was aware of...and although people mention it, it doesnt' seem that huge of a side effect.

i'd just like to know, has anyone else suffered so much that their stomach has swollen up and had to visit the hopital for pain?

thanks!

Posted by val on May 7, 2007 3:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

I've stuggled with depression for years and years, it has caused me to miss work many days over each year and severly limited my motavation. Went to my family Dr. today with an openmindedness to meds to treat depression. The Dr. gave me EFFEXOR XR, and I asked him about side affects. The Dr. said side affects faded in comparasin to what the depression is doing in my life. He also told me to not research the meds on google as most people out there did not know what they were talking about. I cannot in a right mind put anything into my body in which I don't know much about (side affects etc). WOW, Taking these meds are now totally out of the question and I'm going to start looking for a new Dr. Next time I get a perscription from a Dr. I'm going to ask him or her if he/she would perscribe the medication to his/her own child.

Posted by Tom on May 7, 2007 1:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

Yes, Val, Effexor has wrecked my stomach. Constipation, colonoscopies, swelling, bloatedness, and pain. It took me a long time to make the connection and realize it was the Effexor.

Posted by anon on May 7, 2007 9:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

Effexor withdrawal is an unbelievable price to pay and it didn't even work that well. I'm on Cymbalta now which is helping, but I'm only 8 weeks into it. I hope to God it's not as bad to get off of. It was really easy to switch to.

Posted by Anonymous on May 7, 2007 9:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

As a follow up to my earlier postings this year, I find that as long as I abstain from alcohol consumption, and have a pretty good diet and pretty good excerise, that I'm doing pretty well.

I do suggest that all of you take a look at an article in the May 6, 2007, The New York Times Magazine, by Bruce Stutz, "When My Life Fell Apart, I Started Taking an Antidepressant--Then Got Off It On My On."

I truly do not know of any time in the near--or distant--future when I would be in a position to go through the Hell that he describes accompanied his escape from Effexor.

And given my recent positive results, I do not know if I would even want to escape.

However, it does greatly concern me that if I ever quit taking Effexor, it appears quite likely that I would be incapacitated for, at a minimum several months, and possibly quite longer.

Posted by Noboby on May 8, 2007 4:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

Dec-02-04 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) directed manufacturers of all antidepressant drugs to revise the labeling for their products to include a boxed warning and expanded warning statements that alert health care providers to an increased risk of suicidality (suicidal thinking and behavior) in children and adolescents being treated with these agents, and to include additional information about the results of pediatric studies. FDA also informed these manufacturers that it has determined that a Patient Medication Guide (MedGuide), which will be given to patients receiving the drugs to advise them of the risk and precautions that can be taken, is appropriate for these drug products. These labeling changes are consistent with the recommendations made to the Agency at a joint meeting of the Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee and the Pediatric Drugs Advisory Committee on September 13-14, 2004.
If you are an adolescent and your doctor is not advising you that SSRI drugs increase the likelihood of suicide then he/she is being negligent, IMO. It's only a matter of time before this warning will also include adults. Do you really want to voluntarily take a drug that has an increased risk of suicide as a side effect?

Posted by Bob D on May 8, 2007 4:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

Here is a link the shows that Effexor is on the list of "Black Box" warning drugs.
http://www.moodcure.com/antidepfrmrisk.html
If your doctor is switching you to another SSRI drug to wean you off a problematic one, it is only going to be like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. All SSRIs and SSNRIs have these horrible side effects, the worst one for Effexor being the difficulty in discontinuing (if you live that long).

Posted by Bob D on May 8, 2007 5:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

I've been on Effexor for 8 years. Yep. 8.

I've decided to try and go off the drug - not cold turkey mind you, but over the past year I've reduced my dose from 150 mg to 75 mg to 35 mg. Now Im done taking the drug and 2 days after my 35 mg ended I am still feeling crappy - nausea, dizziness, confusion, light headed. Can someone please tell me this will end? I can't take much more.

Posted by Chris on May 8, 2007 11:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

ANON,

you're stomach got wrecked too! i'm totally surprised that there is such a serious connection between it and effexor, i guess it's just something i didn't really expect.

i'm being seriously treated for the constipation, apparently it's been making my bowel system lazy for months now and i'm totally FULL, if you catch my drift....that means laxatives all the time.....

i don't want to live like this.

what did you do?

Posted by val on May 9, 2007 1:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

Stomach & bowel - Only 5% of the body's serotonin is in the brain, the rest of it is distributed throughout the body, where... 90% being associated with:

"The majority of it is in the gastrointestinal tract, where serotonin modulates the rhythmical movements kneading food through the stomach"

Posted by Someone on May 9, 2007 3:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

Does anyone have any good ways to get rid of this dizzy, fuzzy feeling? HELP!!!

Posted by Katiedid on May 9, 2007 11:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

Folks, lots of things I have to say here. Been largely taking Effexor since my 2nd year of college (went across the country for college and got quite depressed 3 weeks after my 1st year began. Runs in the family too).

1. Effexor works for everyone differently. Some people fit into clothes better than others, some people like the taste of a particular food better than others, some people like different sports. It's the same with anti-depressants! Our brains, bodies, and genetic make-up are different so it's not a one size fit all.

2. It helps people and it doesn't help people. It has largely helped me in returning me to what I consider to be my real, optimistic, fun personality. I tried Serzone and another drug, but it didn't work. However, I'm sure the other two worked for other people but I'm not going to bash those other drugs.

3. The side-effects are usually different for people. My libido is still healthy but the #1 problem I have is sweating. It makes me sweat too much, makes me constipated sometimes, and I think I'd probably lose 10 pounds if I got off of it, but the alternative is thinking life sucks. I counter the constipation by drinking lots of water and eating a good amount of fiber. Can't do much about the sweating except for not wearing too many lawyers. Have to exercise more and watch what I eat to keep the weight off.

4. Withdrawing from Effexor doesn't have to be painful. As (mostly) Americans, we want things so quickly that we don't have patience. If you you want to decrease or end your dosage, DO IT VERY, VERY SLOWLY. If you're at 150, go down 37.5 mgs and take at least a month to do it. Go down 37.5 each time over a month. When you get down to 37.5, open the capsules and pour out half so you're taking 18.75mg. I CAN'T STRESS THIS ENOUGH. I have gone off Effexor at least twice but both times I was very careful to do it over a span over 3+ months.

Of course, I'm back on it and have endured the side-effects because the cure is much more tolerable than the disease. I appreciate reading other comments and would like to see a psychiatrist again but Effexor can be a tool (as well as a weapon). It can give you great power to have control and positive momentum in your life but with it, one needs to take great care in researching it's side-effects and the slooooow process in weaning oneself off of it. I'm thinking of going down another 37.5mg since it's hindering my ability to get fitter.

If it's making it hard for you to sleep, take it in the morning. Everyone is different, but I benefit from taking mine at 11am.

Just found this site, so please write back with any questions. I have a good deal of experience with this drug (8+ years) and it's been largely positive. More than anything, please, please do your research. You only have one brain/body so might as well know as much as you can about it.

Be strong, fight on, and take care.

Posted by Chris on May 9, 2007 8:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

My doctor put me on Effexor a year ago for depression. I began with 37.5 mg. and increased to 75mg where I stayed. It has not only relieved my depression, but has greatly helped me in dealing with stress and anger. I now have an ability to laugh at things that previously would have had me very anxious. It is not a "happy pill". I still have the same cares and concerns that I always did, but I can deal with them in a healthier way. I had tried counselling in the past and though it helped greatly, it was not enough on its own, though it may not be for every-one, it certainly has been very helpful for me.

Posted by Lois on May 9, 2007 10:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

HI,

I have a long history of depression. I have been on several different ones for 22 years. I was on Effexor XR for 6 years. Last fall I felt it wasn't working anymore and so my doctor switched me to Cymbalta. I quit the Effexor cold turkey. The Cymbalta made my body ache so bad for several months that I spent several thousand dollars being tested for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, etc, etc, etc. I did not realize it was the Cymbalta until my Dr. decided to switch me to Welbutrin to see if my depression would get better. Since being on Welbutrin, I have spent lots of time in the hospital. I finally, one month ago, went off of the anti depressants cold turkey, Yes, I felt like I was literally going to die for a whole month, but let me explain here. My insides have completely quit working. This apparently is due to all the Anti depressants I have taken over the years. I am so constipated now that I have to be hospitalized to get any thing out. The anti depressants slow down your intestinal system very much and over the years (22 for me) have finally completely stopped me. I am only 37 years old with 6 children I am still raising. Because of this horrible future I have now, I have chosen to find other ways to deal with my depression. Interestingly enough, I feel much better emotionally OFF of them than I ever did ON them. I do not think this is for everyone but please please be careful taking these meds. Especially because the dr.s will just switcharoo all they want and try you on the next one and the next one. Question? Was I ever really depressed enough when I was first given the meds at age 15? Looking back I am not so sure now, but wonder if I have really needed to be jerked around for 22 years and now have my insides completely quit, when I may have been misdiagnosed in the first place.

Posted by Janae' on May 9, 2007 11:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

My brother died 4/25/07 from multidrug poisoning; alcohol, coccaine, and Effexor. On 4/18/07 he was prescribed 75MG of Effexor for anxiety attacks after a visit to the emergency room. The same day he called me in the evening and said he was very sick. He had trouble breathing, felt fatigued, had a severe headache, and felt an electrical shock-like sensation from his head down his spine. He said he throught there was something wrong with his heart. I strongly suggested he call his doctor and reminded him he should not drink and take anti-depressents. I remember he said they doubled his medication. At the time I did not know what anti-depressent he was taking. On 4/21/07 my brother was brought to the emergency room at 6:15PM unresponsive and with severe brain damage due to lack of oxygen to his brain. You see, my brother was a known alcoholic and drug user. The hospital where he went to on 4/18/07 knew him very well. I have questions as to why they would perscribe this medication knowing his history of drug/alcohol abuse. Everything I have read leads me to think Effexor should be taken off the market.

Posted by Chris on May 10, 2007 8:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

MY DAUGHTER WAS FOUND DEAD. NO HEALTH PROBLEMS. ONLY MED SHE WAS PRESCRIBED-EFFEXOR. AUTOPSY REPORT READS: MEDICAL EXAMINERS OPINION: HYPERTENSIVE CRISIS CAUSING IRREGULAR HEART BEAT. EFFEXOR?

Posted by REBECCA YOUNG on July 31, 2012 12:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

I am on day 2 of taking 37.5mg of venlaflaxene. I am a 34 year old male, single, living away from family but with a good support system of friends and occasional counselor visits. I take my pill at night (around 10pm) have no trouble sleeping but after the first night noticed a loss in libido. Other side effects I'm feeling are headaches and bit of a dazed feeling througout the day. I drink regulary but decided to quit alcohol so that I can measure the full affects of the drug.

After the reading the posts I am concerned but I am willing to give it a go for the first month to weight the pros and cons. I have noticed that I'm not feeling extreme highs and lows that I used to feel. I still have a lot of internal dialog and am senstivie to other people's negative comments but they don't seem to hit as deep as before.

I will keep updating my experiences over the next few weeks.

Best of luck to everyone,
Kris

Posted by Kris on May 12, 2007 9:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

As for constipation/bowel issues, try drinking tons of water. Sometimes I even take half dosage which increases my bowel movements if I'm feeling constipated. A sure thing if both of those fail, buy some prune juice and drink a glass or two.

Be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables since fiber helps too (besides being good for you).

Posted by Chris on May 12, 2007 7:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

To Mr. Nobody, or anyone else,

Recently back on Effexor XR for clinical depression that hits me whenever I feel financial stress and personal failure. I first when on it after being laid off in 2002. Been trying to make a living independently since. Interested in corresponding with the poster named Nobody as I am also in a high stress, high performance related role. In my case it is finance related. I need to have strong motivation and focus and do not know if it is the Effexor or the depression that is distracting me.

Reading all the other posts about side effects is disturbing as well. My biggest concern is weight loss (down 16 pounds), dry mouth, and loss of libido.

In my experience, the withdrawal is difficult but can be managed, but I am a long way from going off it again at this point.

Comments anyone?

Posted by Confidential on May 13, 2007 12:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

Confidential, stress creates anxiety and anxiety is directly related to depression. You didn't say how many milligrams you are on but I doubt it's the Effexor. A common symptom of depression is an inability to concentrate and low motivation.

If the anxiety is more of the problem, talk to your Dr. about buspar (buspirone). It is more of an anti anxiety drug and can complement Effexor.

As for weight loss and libido, try lifting weights. Eat a good amount but lifting weights will help testosterone and thus libido plus it could help with motivation.

Posted by Answer to Confidential on May 13, 2007 3:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

Anyone that is considering to start taking Effexor should be aware of the horrible side effects and expect to be taking it for the rest of your life. The withdrawal is torture. It is almost impossibe to discontinue use of this drug. It will ruin your life and also have you wanting to commit suicide. It is POISON.

Posted by Jen on May 13, 2007 11:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

I started taking Effexor 10 months ago, while going through a very difficult patch in my life. I was very depressed and my doctor felt stongly that I needed something as he said to take the edge off and help me deal with life. I was started on 37.5mg and after two weeks was increased to 75mg. At first the side effects were very mild, but about two months into taking Effexor the side effects started. The first was the teeth going numb, it was a very strange but I could deal with it. The second effect was blinding headaches, inabilty to sleep, the shakes, and sensitivty to light. Instead of helping with the depression the medicine seems to increase the feeling of hopelessness. I decided the side effects were too much for me and decided to stop taking the medicine. Going through the withdrawls was horrible! The headaches and shakes were nearly unbearable, and I'm happy to say after a week it stopped and I feel so much better.

I know that this medicine helps many people, but anyone thinking about taking Effexor needs to read up on it. I am glad that I came across this page, I wasn't sure if it the medicine or my imagination.

Posted by Phillip on May 14, 2007 4:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

I've been on Effexor for the past 5 months. I feel that, initially, it had some effect on my mood, but in retrospect, I can't see any significant improvement outside my regular cycle.

In fact, things have probably gotten worse. Headaches, the inability to concentrate, erratic insomnia, frustration, lack of patience...They're much worse than before I started taking the meds. And while I feel I'd be better off without it, I'm apt to follow the prescription until it's done.

Posted by Timbo on May 14, 2007 9:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

Ive been taking effexor xr for teeth grinding in my sleep.I never felt anxiety really while awake. I have add also. Dr tried me on celexa and paxil but had allergic reaction. effexor doesnt help with my add it seems to be worse.I dont think Im grinding though.I have noticed I clench my teeth in my sleep.He started me out on 75mg first month now on second month and he got me up to 150 mg.I get confusion and take extreme naps.sometimes I sleep 14 hours a day and very hard to snap out of it when I finally wake I cant seem to get anything done.I dont think dr. has me on right med.I was never this fatigued before If i took a nap it was a short one and I could recover.Has anyone had this before? I really dont want to feel like this

Posted by kim on May 14, 2007 6:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

Confidential, even as I observe I'm better, I still have situations where I just do not want to go to the 150% effort that in the past I've provided in my law practice. Now, if it is go home at 7:30, vs stay till 10 and meet a deadline, I'll say "screw it, my personal life is more important, and if the client can't deal with it, they can go elsewhere." This is not an attitude I recommend, and at times I wish I could muster that deep desire. I think that gradually it is coming back, but it is not back yet.

Please let me know how I may be of further assistance to you.

Also, has anyone had "tingling in your fingers"? For the past 2 weeks, my left little finger and the 1/3 of my next finger feel like they are asleep--all of the time. It goes down the outside of my hand to my wrist. I assumed it was from exercise, yoga, working with my hands, etc. Then, I read on is forum where tingling is one of the side effects.

Also, if you have had similar tingling, but no longer have it, can you pinpoint the solution?

Any ideas about long term issues related to the tingling, other than being a bother? Is this permanent?

I notice that my libido remains low. I've just crossed the 61 days of no alcohol--other than wine in communion. Yesterday, I have to confess I had a pretty good swig, and it tasted good.

I'm no longer tempted by spouse and friends drinking, but I sure wish I could persuade my spouse to stop. It is pretty sad. Please see my earlier postings regarding how alcohol totally turns me inside out while I'm on Effexor.

I now find that it is bothersome to be around people that are drinking a lot.

Thanks.

Posted by Nobody on May 14, 2007 9:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

WOW! Its amazing reading some of the stories on here... I do agree that Effexor is not for everyone - and I fall under the 'not for everyone.' I have gained almost 40 pounds over the past year that i've been taking effexor. I was on it for anxiety & mild depression. I suffer from migraines and have read that its used to treat them, well i've had my usual dose of migraines - Effexor did nothing to stop them. I stopped taking Effexor (150mg) about 2 weeks ago - and yes it was/is horrible when it comes to the side effects - but emotionally & physically I feel amazing. I would like to recomend seeing a counsellor while coming off of this medication. I thought i was depressed so I took effexor - now i feel better than ever without medication - all I need was to talk to someone (a professional). Depression, nervous breakdowns, suicide all runs in my family. Please, if you are really that bumbed in life go see a professional - i never thought I would feel the way I do right now. If you don't find talking with a counsellor helps then seek a different counsellor! Everyone deserves to be happy with themselves. I came from a shitty childhood - and i've learned that I don't need to suffer anymore for things I never had control over. Don't let $%#t control you.
Good luck to everyone - On and off the meds - If they work for you - then don't stop! All that matters is your happieness.

Posted by Andrea on May 15, 2007 6:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

Does anyone get a bit tired when decreasing their dosage? I'm going down 37.5mgs to 225 mgs and seem to lack some energy. Everything else is just fine (pretty much used to the excessive sweating now). Thanks!

Posted by Chris on May 17, 2007 1:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been of effexor now for 6 months. Developed tinnitus (ringing in the ears) when i started withdrawl. Tinnitus seems to be permanant.
Anyboby else with this problem.

Posted by Mark S on May 18, 2007 6:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hi I posted a while ago.I slept all the time on effexor and it did not help with my add stymptoms I called my dr.and he said keep taking 150mg effexor xr once a day and gave me a script for metadate cd 20 mg Im on day 2 and I feel better I was not sure if i should stop taking effexor or not. So far so good.

Posted by kim on May 19, 2007 10:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

Kim,
This site http://www.webmd.com/drugs/drug-20820-METADATE+CD+Oral.aspx?drugid=20820&drugname=METADATE+CD+Oral
says this about metadate:
Misuse or abuse of methylphenidate may result in serious (possibly fatal) heart and blood pressure problems.
Is your doctor warning you about possible side effects?

Posted by Bob D on May 21, 2007 4:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

I was put on Effexor for about a month and at first everything was okay. I was so depressed at the time that I was barely eating anything. I lost about 15% of my body weight over a few weeks. I was suicidal. Effexor brought back my appetite. I was starting to eat again and the future looked hopeful. I was moved gradually from 37.5 mg to 225 mg. And that's when things went horribly wrong. At first it was just the feeling of being "in a fog" and not really being attuned to my surroundings, along with headaches if I missed a dose. Then, the obsessive, nonstop, suicidal thoughts - they were so bad that I attempted to take my life and ended up in a mental hospital. I thought, at the time, it was because my depression was getting worse. It was only after I was weaned off Effexor that I realized it was the drug. I hope no one goes through the hell (and I don't use this word lightly) I experienced with Effexor.

Posted by Shannon B on May 22, 2007 5:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

Nice site! Like a support group, I feel so much better that others are going thru what I have been , Hard to explain it to people who don't have the experience of getting off the Effexor.. It has to be similar to withdrawaing from Heroin or Oxy or other illegal, addictive drugs. Anyone get itchy feet after drinking alcohol? How about itchy/crawly skin a few hours after taking it? I too panic if I run low or can't spend the night anywhere if I don't have a pill on me to take. It really sucks!

Posted by Susan on May 22, 2007 8:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

I've been doing pretty good, and continue to do pretty good.
However, this morning I got a reminder of how fragile this Effexor house of cards can be--I left my dose on the bed at home and forgot to take it. I was sitting at my desk wondering why I was having so much trouble getting started, and focusing, and then my spouse called me and told me I had left it on the bed.
I did not get it until about 2 1/2 hours after the time I usually take it.
Once I figured out what I had done, my head was already starting to feel funny--kind of fuzzy and unclear and tight, and within 20 minutes of taking my dose I'm getting the light headed feeling when I move or turn my head--not a brain zap, but something that reminds me of a brain zap. I'm also having some trouble focusing and staying on track. This is in spite of me drinking no alcohol for over 70 days, continuing my healthy diet, and getting pretty good exercise.
I'm going to try and determine when I start feeling as if I had not taken the dose on time.

Posted by Nobody on May 25, 2007 9:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

I am a 26 y/o male who suffers from mild to moderate depression. I have been on Wellbutrin, Prozac, and a whole slew of other drugs before Effexor. Wellbutrin worked wonders for me the first time I was on it, but then I foolishly took myself off of it and it didn't work when I went back on the second time. Eventually the doctor decided to try me on 75 mg Effexor. It didn't seem to do anything, so it was upped to 150 mg. That didn't seem to do much, so it was upped to 225 mg. That finally started to seem like it was working, but then I forgot to refill my Rx one weekend and in just one day's time, I started to experience amazing withdrawal effects. Most have been documented here, but the "brain shivers" are by far the worst thing I've ever experienced. That, combined with the severe dizziness, made it so that I could barely even walk. I had to call and beg a 24-hour pharmacy that was not my own to sell me one pill to get me through the night. I had to have a friend drive me as well. All of this was due to my own foolishness in not taking the literature seriously. This is NOT a drug you can just stop taking and if you do, be prepared to suffer the consequences. As for other side effects, I have gained 35 pounds, I have to urinate frequently, and I am dead tired all the time. On the up side, I do feel better overall. I am now on 300 mg/day. I plan to try this for a little while and will increase my activity level to help offset the weight gain. Otherwise, I'm going to have to sloooooowly wean off of it and try something else. So, my advice would be to try it if your doctor recommends it, but follow the instructions to the letter. Don't just stop taking this drug--it's not like other medicines that allow for that.

Posted by Someone on May 25, 2007 11:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

I was prescribed Effexor due to suffering from panic attacks and found it to be good for some things and very bad for others. Good things were that while I was taking it. I felt like I was charging my body with energy and confidence. Very bad things were nausea and weird dreams and also strange sensations that built up and ended in a shiver or spasm. Stopped taking it and spent 4 days in bed with the darkest depression and flu symptoms. I got over it but I wish my doctor had told me more about the bad things. Get lots of info before taking effexor because it causes many changes good and bad.

Posted by Anonymous on May 25, 2007 12:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been taking this dreadful stuff for 4 days before having to stop..all the side effects started 1 hour after taking the first dose of 75mg.,ringing in the ears, nausea, dizziness, fatigue and sleeplessness. It was like being in a big tiled room with all my thoughts bouncing around in there and my speech became very slurred with so much difficulty speaking that my family thought I was an early alzheimer case at 53..avoid it if you can, i will take my chance with depression and wait for the up of my manic depressive cycle..

Posted by gillian on May 27, 2007 7:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

I first took effexor to help deal with some difficult life circumstances in 2000. It helped me get through the tough time, but I did notice that I was really feeling weird after about three months. I slowly went off of it. This time around I have been on effexor for about a year and half. I suffer from migraines and chronic fatigue syndrome. It does help with these conditions, but when I miss a doss I'm super angry and very tired. I'm currently on 75 mg a day. I would to go down to 37.5. The doctor feels that I will be on this for the rest of my life. I want to find some other options. For my headaches, I was on topamax which is an epilepsy medication and it did help my headaches, but I did not like being on it. So effexor is it for me, at least for now.

Posted by Juls on May 27, 2007 6:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

Has anyone else taken Effexor with another SSRI? Is this safe? I am going to be getting off of it and I am curious to see if I need to wait a certain amount of time before starting another SSRI or SNRI...

Posted by P on May 30, 2007 5:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

Very scary indeed. I am trying to come off the effexor XL. Dont need the night-time ones but still the day time. Have had TERRIBLE migrains (with sickness and diarhoea). Have been on the pills for a long time. So dont think they work the same. Having read the notice board begining to think alot of "problems" I have had are now down to having taken the pills themselfs. Would like to think I would have no more problems when reducing the daytime course of pills (75g). Has anyone any tips on how to cope with it all.

Posted by Isobel on June 1, 2007 8:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

All I can say when I read these posts is, "Wow!". I feel so lucky to not be going through the trauma others have been going through with the Effexor. I came across this website when trying to research the 'vivid dreams' aspect of the drug. Lo & behold, so many of the other things I've been feeling have been mentioned as well. I find it very difficult to determine what is 'me' and what is the drug. I've been fairly depressed for a while now & have tried a few different meds after years of fighting off the need to take any sort of prescription drug. Counseling didn't seem to cut it and it just seemed like ridiculous self-pity. Fast forward to stepping up to the maximum dosage of Effexor in about a six month time frame. At first, it worked wonderfully. It was the first time I felt like something made me feel like what a "normal" person would probably feel like. Then it just stopped feeling like anything so I stopped taking it for a few days here & a few days there. I was having very intense dreams & night sweats & some temper problems. All I dismissed as just being 'me'. During my next visit to the psychiatrist, I mentioned the realistic dreams and how I'd have to go back to bed after the alarm went off in the morning just to wake up on a different, less-wearing note. Fortunately I have a job where I do not have to be in at a specific time, but I do still have to work a full 8 hours, meaning if I start at noon, I work until at least 8 pm... and sometimes would mean I work until 9 or 10 at night... simply because I can't get out of bed in the morning. And I thought I had sleeping issues before this drug! Discontinuing the Effexor, the problem has escalated. I stopped taking it cold turkey & have been lucky to not have nearly as severe of problems so many here have had. I did my research on the Effexor as I began the medication, but in no way did I ever get the impression I'd be having these exhausting dreams or other side effects to the degree I've been experiencing them after only 6 months of medication. Yes, it states you might have to be on it forever once you start taking it, but when doctors are prescribing it they most definitely do NOT go into the degrees of the effects as they are listed on this website. These experiences are the reason NOT to go on this anti-depressant. I deem myself fairly depressed but intelligent and logical. This drug will have you second-guessing your emotions, physical being, and day-to-day decisions. Think very hard before you turn to this drug as for help! You may end up with heavier things on your mind than what you started with.

Posted by anonymous on June 1, 2007 6:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

I've been on Effexor for about two months and will be getting off of it as soon as I see my doctor next week. I've had minor weight gain but that's not my real concern. The serious problem I've had with it is memory loss/concentration problems. It is threatening my job and in speaking to a co-worker today I realized that the memory problems I've been having for the last couple of months have only started happening since I began taking this drug. I was written up today for making six major errors at work (that cost the compan money) and as we were discussing them today, I honestly had no memory of two of them ever happening!!! So, in a few days I'm seeing my doctor and getting off this crap for good. I started taking it for hot flashes but my job is NOT worth the minor relief.

Posted by Snurf on June 1, 2007 9:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

Oh yeah and I forgot to mention as far as side effects, I can't remember some peoples names now. My hands are always sweaty, I feel very paranoid about all kinds of things, and my hands shake. I also think I am saying inappropriate things to people but not sure.

I originally went to effexor after a couple of years with this doctor and trying several other drugs for anxiety and depression. I tried most of them over the years with other doctors but this doctor was a new attempt to address my problems. Paxil was the worst for me. Just a horror story. I was totally turned off SSRI's and then tried remeron which did nothing AT ALL for my mental state but gave me the most painful, bloody diharrea that I've ever had in my life. It also dried out the skin at the base of my nails. What a shit drug that was. Anyway we worked slowly toward the benzos and started with sublingual ativan. Didn't work too well with me at all. I could feel almost no effect upon my anxiety. It took a while but then finally got onto the xanax. Now that one helped a LOT. especially when I told him that it took 2 or more to have an effect. he upped the dose and I've been on it solid for six months. Works wonders. But then he gets this stupid notion that he shouldn't keep me on xanax and wants me to try a SNRI or effexor. I agree as it is one I had never tried before and I still felt hope from the xanax. The only thing he told me about it is that some people get brain zaps from it. I hadn't read this website so knew nothing and told him - well that sounds interesting. Anyway I'm realy screwed right now.

Posted by Buggered on June 2, 2007 5:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

Thank you all for your comments. My doctor recommended I take Effexor XR because my Prozac got very expensive (generic doesn't work for me; they are NOT the same). I took one 37.5 mg pill yesterday, and my calves both broke out in an itchy red rash. I am stopping the pill because your horror stories convinced me this isn't a good thing. I'll find a way to pay for my expensive but very effective Prozac. Thank you all again, and my prayers are with you to find health.

Posted by CC on June 2, 2007 8:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

gday all again, i posted about a week ago, i just want to update everyone, its been over a week now i have no longer been taking the drug, i can tell you i feel 100 times better now than 3 days ago, the brain zaps are all but gone, i feel more awake, i am feeling far more positive and feeling alot less depressed, i guess the way to get of the drug is simply just go reduce your amount, then go cold turkey, after reading everyone else`s posts on side effects, it made me more determined to get over it, i decided in my head that i wont let this pill take over my life. so with all the side effects i knew it wasnt me and it was the drug, iam getting better and better each day, and i just want everyone to know it does get better and stay positive, when u feel down and out after you stop taking the pill convince yourself its not you and the drug and dont let it win. cheers everyone, ps i dont think i`ll take a anti depressent again.

Posted by mark on June 2, 2007 11:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have taken Effexor on and off for many years. Check out my blog at http://theanxietyoutlet.blogspot.com/
and share your thoughts and stories with me....

Posted by p on June 3, 2007 9:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

hi everyone i am a 19 year old female... i dint read all the notes on here but i have to say that reading this stuff makes me feel like i am totally crazy or insaine because i take a larger dose then all the stories i have read. I have been on effexor for about 4 years or more. i have sevier anxiety disorder, OCD, social fobia/ anxiety disorder and depression. I dont think i have had alot of side effects the only one that i am most worried about is bruising, because i have noticed lately that i am getting sevier bruises and have got comments that " someones beating me or something" because my arms are bruised and my legs are covered in them. i think it is just because it is thinning my blood to much so i am bruising easily... i was wondering if anyone had any further information for me... like i am aa clutsy person but not to cause this much dammage. also I dont know if anyone has had it go this way i have a severly high labido and i always have but not to this extent its something that is a consistant drive for me and on my mind all the time... although i am still counted as young and that could be why.. i think that there may be an alternet reason for this ... any input would be greatly appreciated...

Posted by shannon k on June 3, 2007 9:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

In a follow-up to #284, I would like to know if any of you have had the red itchy rash that I have as a side effect. It came up again today, but only on one leg this time. I've never had it before, so I must assume it's from the Effexor XR.

Posted by CC on June 4, 2007 5:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

Just curious and researching...Could someone please describe what a "brain zap" is? I know someone who started taking effexor recently and they seem rather "brain dead", lethargic, and out-of-it. Or perhaps i'm missinterpretting their being brain-dead, lethargy, and "out-of-it" as fatique, weekness, and drowsiness.

Posted by Curious One on June 4, 2007 11:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

A brain zap is usually seen in withdrawal or poop out - "electric zap-like sensations in the brain". They can be in the body too.

The "brain-dead, lethargy, and "out-of-it" description, covers some of the side-effects of Effexor. People can become zombified, uncaring, perhaps their gait changes, they are slowed, and vvveeeeerrrry tired.

The person on the drug may not be fully aware of the change. Or aware of it at all.

You might find it helpful to research:

a) medication induced apathy
b) frontal lobe syndrome / amotivational syndrome
c) drug-induced parkinsonism

...in relation to the SSRIs and SNRIs; Effexor/venlafaxine is an SNRI, but it seems that the symptoms show great overlap.

e.g. try plugging the following into google: "amotivational syndrome" venlafaxine; "amotivational syndrome" SSRIs

If a person is exhibiting one of the neurological side-effects, it seems they are at more likely to have some of the others: tics, twitches, trembling hands, rattling limbs (particularly at night), apathy/fatigue, jaw movements/yawning fits, muscle spasms, neurologically driven agitation...


Posted by Someone on June 4, 2007 2:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

I've been on this drug for about 3 years. At first it was a huge life-saver, in that it lifted me out of a total antisocial depression.

However, slowly but surely the depression has lifted only to be replaced by apathy that's just as insidious. I no longer have the motivation to do much of anything and on the weekends all I do is sleep all day. When my cousin hung himself to death, I was completely apathetic to it, I hope completely because of this drug.

I'm scared to quit though - I missed it one night I spent at a girl's house and I felt a horrible migraine the entire next day. I also had a bad experience quitting Lexapro cold turkey and was unbearably disoriented and dizzy for almost a month.

Effexor and Cocaine apparently have a cancelling-out effect on each other. I did some coke for the first time ever the other day, and for an hour or two I ACTUALLY FELT NORMAL. Really, a huge epiphany that I need to get off Effexor and try to live a normal life away from drugs (legal OR illegal)

Posted by M on June 5, 2007 3:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

WOW! DAY 8 OF WITHDRAWL FROM EFFEXOR XR FOR 5 YEARS AT 150MG EVERY MORNING. DOWN 37.5MG EVERY THREE DAYS. NOW AT 75MG. DREAMS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN EPICS SINCE STARTING. HAD A HEADACHE LAST NIGHT. OTHER WISE, I FEEL ABSOLUTELY GREAT! BETTER THAN I HAVE FOR THE LAST 12 MONTHS ON THE DRUG

Posted by JAC on June 5, 2007 10:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

LET ME JUST SAY THAT I'M 42 YEARS OLD. I HAVE HAD ANXIETY ATTACKS SINCE I WAS 18 THAT ALWAYS MADE ME FEEL LIKE I WAS ABOUT TO DIE. I WAS PUT ON BUSPAR WHEN I WAS ABOUT 24 AND I TOOK IT WITH NO REAL PROBLEMS EXCEPT HAVING BREAK THROUGH ATTACKS RIGHT BEFORE PERIOD TIME UNTIL I WAS ABOUT 30 THEN IT (AS MY DOCTOR EXPLAINED) BECAME TOXIC TO ME WITH THE SAME DOSE THAT I HAD ALWAYS TAKEN. I CALLED THE DOCTOR BECAUSE I FELT LIKE I WAS LIVING INSIDE A DRUM...PEOPLE AT WORK STARTED TELLING ME THAT I LOOKED LIKE I HAD BEEN SMOKING DOPE ALL DAY. ANYWAY MY DOCTOR CHANGED ME TO EFFEXOR, THAT WAS 12 YEARS AGO, IT WAS A MIRACLE DRUG TO ME. I WENT A FULL TWO YEARS AT THE 75 MG DOSE WITH NO BREAK THROUGH ANXIETY ATTACKS. I HAVEN'T REALLY HAD ANY BAD SIDE EFFECTS FROM TAKING THIS MEDICATION AND I MUST SAY I HAVE NO INTENTION OF GETTING OFF OF IT. COMPARED TO HOW I FELT WITH THE ATTACKS THIS IS A WALK IN THE PARK. I HAD GOTTEN TO THE POINT THAT I COULDN'T FUNCTION IN DAILY LIFE BEFORE I STARTED TAKING THIS MEDICATION.I HAVE BEEN TAKING THE 150 MG XR FOR ABOUT 8 YEARS NOW AND HAVE MAINTAINED THIS DOSE. I HOPE THAT THE PEOPLE MENTIONED HERE WILL CONTINUE TO GET BETTER FROM THE SIDE EFFECTS AND FROM THE CAUSE OF THEIR PROBLEMS. TAKE CARE!

Posted by TERESA on June 5, 2007 12:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

I know I'm yelling, but DO NOT GO OFF COLD TURKEY! My psychiatrist forced me to do this at 450 mg/day. Hello, psychosis! I went back on a couple years ago to kick Paxil, and am now kicking Effexor in favor of Surmontil, which I took to great effect and no side effects before this whole SSRI thing started.
I can't believe people are given this for hot flashes and night sweats. It causes the damn things. Plus the 60 lbs. of weight (and I'm 5'2").
For those trying to kick, it really helps if you scale down while scaling up on a new med. (I'm clinical, ain't never getting off). For the others, all I can say is you have to keep trying meds until you find yours, and the benefits outweigh the side effects. Good luck, all!

Posted by Jennifer on June 5, 2007 2:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

I'm 17 years old and suffer from extreme anxiety disorder, and clinical depression.

I got my first prescription for Effexor yesterday, and haven't started it yet. I wanted to read up on it first.

After reading what everyone else has said about it, I'm wondering if it will even be worth it to go on these things.

Wish me luck.

Posted by Leah on June 6, 2007 5:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

I'm 52, going thru menopause, moodswings were pretty bad so I've been taking it for 2 months now and all was great. Totally evened me out, no side effects. Last few days tho my moods have crashed several times, I feel like kicking someone or something, feel flat and get tired. Also I have lower tolerance to alcohol so I think I'll just have to cut down on that. I also started to get a slight head tremor - just a quick subtle shake of the head. Taking 75mg 1 x a day. Not sure what to do after reading the other postings.

Has anyone in a similar position as me, for menopause related mood swings, found another drug they've had success with?

Posted by JustFlat on June 7, 2007 5:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

I started taking Paxil when my wife committed suicide 8 years ago, and my doctor felt I need some help with obsessive thoughts in addition to the counseling I was in.

I was on a low dose 20mg but still had a problem with being sleepy and groggy in the morning. I really had not worked with a psychiatrist in the interim I just continued getting prescriptions for Paxil from my primary care doctor.

Finally I found a new psychaitrist in my new town and was very gradually weaned off Paxil and on to Effexor CR. So far the results have been very favorable.

The bottom line on any of these medications is that they are all very powerful meds and the most important thing is not, first and foremost what pill you are taking, but having a strong and interactive relationship with your clinician so that you can work together on finding the med that works best for you. Don't do what I did which is just stay on the same drug which wasn't doing much, out of habit.

I sat down with my new doctor and we had a detailed conversation about what my background was and what I was feeling, and she was able to suggest something which works much better!

Posted by Al on June 7, 2007 5:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

For those of you who experiece lethargy and apathy--I also had this early on. I've been on Effexor XR @ 225mg/day for about a year. For the last 9 months, I've also been taking 200mg of Provigl. It turns out I have some sleep apnea. The Effexor/Provigl mix is working well for me. However, when I was on this mix, but also consumed alcohol, things were bad. Lethargy and apathy were rampant. I've been off of alcohol now for almost 90 days. Within 14 days, I noticed my lethargy and apathy were significantly decreasing. Then and now, I continue to have significant weekly excercise, yoga, increased focus on spirituality, and a vegetarian oriented diet (some meat, but little red meat)and taking nutritional supplements. Over the past 90 days, I've consistently felt better than I have for the past 5 to 10 years.

The peace of mind and calmness I now have is something I've never experienced before. I'm pretty happy with myself, even though there are a lot of things in my life that make life fragile. I'm learning to take one day at a time. I suppose this is a good perspective to finally develop, since I'm nearing the age of 50.

As I've mentioned in prior posts, I remain concerned about the long term aspect of having to continue Effexor/Provigl "forever," but for now, I'm just relieved that I'm doing well.

Two things that have cropped up in the last 90 days: (i) I'm have a rash in the entire armpit under both of my arms. I've changed deodorants, first using Thai spray, and now a skin friendly substance--to no avail. Since I also have an autoimmune skin condition (which has been completely under check for 4+ years due to another prescription), it could be related to that disorder, but I do not think so.; (2) my left little finger and next finger are tingly all of the time, and have lost some of their strength and dexterity. I'm getting a nerve test next week--two doctors think it may be "ulnar tunnel syndrome." However, when something out of the ordinary happens, my first thought is whether a med I'm taking is causing the problem.

For those of you who are "self medicating" with other drugs, I wish I could help you refrain from them--I've done that in the past, too, and in retrospect I beleive that this "self-medication" became a big part of my problem. I know it is difficult to turn away from the "self-medication,"--but if there is a way for you to refrain, please do. I wish I had found a way to refrain from the "self-medication" in the past 30 years, as I think I would have felt better a whole lot sooner.

Good luck.

Posted by Noboby on June 7, 2007 8:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

Diagnosed with Anxiety, Depression and PTSD - Been on Effexor for about 6 months. For the first 3 weeks the side effects were pretty evident - scariest of all was extreme confusion at times and a general feeling of being "stoned", as well as some nausea and lethargy.

After the initial side effects subsided - I find it actually worth 3 weeks of grossness. I feel very calm (almost too calm sometimes) and experience far less panic attacks and shorter stints of depression.

I have not gained or lost any weight and do not get those brain zaps that many others talk about.

However I frequently get incredibly soaking night sweats, to the point of needing to change my bedding! If I miss a dose the night sweats are worse.

Since being on the medication, I have horrible dandruff (never had it before)and unfortunately medicated shampoo doesn't work. I can't find dandruff as a side effect anywhere.

All in all I would recommend Effexor.

Posted by ads on June 7, 2007 5:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

Diagnosed with Anxiety, Depression and PTSD - Been on Effexor for about 6 months. For the first 3 weeks the side effects were pretty evident - scariest of all was extreme confusion at times and a general feeling of being "stoned", as well as some nausea and lethargy.

After the initial side effects subsided - I find it actually worth 3 weeks of grossness. I feel very calm (almost too calm sometimes) and experience far less panic attacks and shorter stints of depression.

I have not gained or lost any weight and do not get those brain zaps that many others talk about.

However I frequently get incredibly soaking night sweats, to the point of needing to change my bedding! If I miss a dose the night sweats are worse.

Since being on the medication, I have horrible dandruff (never had it before)and unfortunately medicated shampoo doesn't work. I can't find dandruff as a side effect anywhere.

All in all I would recommend Effexor.

Posted by ads on June 7, 2007 5:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

Me again.

I took my first Effexor XR pill today.
Sometime tell me if this is normal please, but even after my first pill I'm noticing nausea, extreme restlessness, (It's 4am here in Canadian, and I have school in 4 hours)jaw grinding, yawning, and irritability.

I thought these things only happened after the "4-6 week" period where the pill takes it's time to get into your body?

And to "Someone", I don't live in the USA. However, my doctor did tell me that this medication should work just fine for me as for someone who is an adult.

hellllp!
I need to know if this is normal, and if it will get worse.

Posted by Leah on June 8, 2007 1:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

You are in Canada?

Google on 'Health Canada' and then head over to the site. Then use the Search facility (at the top of the Health Canada page), and plug in 'Effexor'... it will bring up the relevant documents. You will also find the equivalent 'Black Box' warning there for your country - look for warning info surrounded by a black box. This is important precautionary information, there for your safety (so nothing to get worried about).

As stated, you should report your side-effects straight away to your doctor, noting the increase in restlessness and irritability, and that your jaws have started grinding and yawning.

The initial agitation and irritability associated with the onset of Effexor can subside over the first few weeks, individuals who have been through this may then go on to report a highly positive on-drug experience. This is perhaps the 4-6 week period to which your doctor may have been referring. (e.g. see post 305, just above yours).

However this is not true for all, in that the agitation/akathisia adverse response does not remit - which is why the safety information emphasises that certain reactions need swift reporting.

The Wiki will give you a definition of akathisia. And references.

This info (or something like it) should be on the patient sheet/insert that came with the drug. If you received no safety information, then a swift google for Canadian sites may bring up your relevant patient information leaflets - or ask your pharmacist for it.

Posted by Someone on June 8, 2007 4:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hello and thanks to everyone for their interesting testimonials. I'm a 43 year old mechanic, married with 4 children. I had a panic attack at work 6 months ago and saw my Doctor right away. I told her I was tired and worn down and that I didn't know why. Also I was having 1-2 beers a night so I could wind down and sleep. She prescribed Effexor. I was a mumbling zombie for 2 months. No more panic attacks though! I think I know what a frontal labotomy feels like now. I was told that I should stay on it for 2-3 months. I recently asked to get weened off but she decided to do some blood tests first. Turns out my iron levels are in the basement. No wonder I have felt even more tired since taking this drug. I have decided to get off this on my own gradually. I have been Effexor free for three days and it is awful like everyone said.At work yesterday I kept hearing a funny metallic noise that I thought was a truck engine coming apart. I finally realized that the noise was accompanied by the electric jolts I was experiencing since coming off Effexor. I am so thankful that I was able to read about all this on this site. I will NEVER again take a man made drug other than beer again. As for my doctor only doing the blood work after I'm on this drug, time for a new doctor. I could have saved myself a whole pile of grief. I now realize that the medical establishment is just a conduit to supply drugs for companies like Wyeth. I think I'm better off without both. Good luck to you all.

Posted by nathan on June 9, 2007 11:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

From personal experience,
I'm convinced venlafaxine should be taken off the market immediately.
I began taking it over 2 years ago & have been miserable the whole time.
I thought for certain I was dying from cancer. I finally figured out it was the venlafaxine causing all the symptoms I was experiencing: trouble breathing, trouble swallowing,
extreme weakness, bloating, constipation, stomach pain, joint pain, & many other symptoms. My gums, throat, and stomach all swelled up.
I had to go to the hospital to have an upper endoscopy to open my throat. It had swollen shut. Also, my stomach had a lot of swelling and I had an ulcer. The opening from my stomach to my intestines was smaller than the size of a pinhole, due to swelling, which made it nearly impossible to pass my food.
I have not taken it for 2 weeks & I'm still having a terrible time breathing. I have asthma or asthma-like attacks. I also have other severe withdrawal symptoms. Regardless of what your doctor tells you,
PLEASE DO NOT GO ON IT.

Posted by Dean (Madison, WI) on June 10, 2007 2:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on effexor for 4 years now. Latly I have been taking Effexor with a multivitimin. I am having lighheadedness. Do you think vitimins are not good with effexor? Or maybe my dosage of effexor is too high. I am on 150mg. In the winter 150mg is great, but I was thinking maybe 150mg is too high for the summer.
Let me know

Posted by bev on June 12, 2007 9:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hello to everyone,

It has been four months now since I have been off effexor; with my at one time being on 150mg dose.

Since being off this drug I have felt worse than I ever have in my entire life... I really did not think I was depressed when the doctor prescribed this drug, but ended up following his advice and took it for a year and half.

The first two months were the worst. After reading about symptoms other people have had it confirms what that little voice inside me was saying, that this drug messed me up.

My trouble is now, that it has been four months and what is happening now is that I will have several "good days" where I feel functional and normal (except memory loss, inability to find the word I want to say, sweating at odd times, et cetera). And then all of a sudden one day I wake up with such a deep and horrid sadness inside it is all I can do to make it through the day. Those bad days are akin to those first few days off the medication, crying non-stop, anxiety, mind troubles, such a profound sadness that I wound if it is worth it to continue to breath, and am non functional to a scary degree.

Is anyone else having these problems this far out from taking this drug?

How do you cope? Have you been able to explain it to your family?

My doctor keeps pushing for me to take it again and wanting to add and try other pills since she is convinced I am depressed (had neck surgery and a car accident all in one year, this is when they put me on the anti-depressant, so I could handle things *rolls eyes*)

My husband is great and supports me not being medicated again, but on those bad days I feel like a junkie-- and have caught myself getting ready to dial the doctor and just "give in" in order to not have those bad days again.

Any and all advice comments will be sincerely appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Warm regards

Posted by laurelle on June 12, 2007 12:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

I am due to start Effexor XR 37.5mg any day now. My doctor has prescribed it too me for occasional panic attacks. I pretty much only get them when I go out of town (weird eh?) I do get them other times but not enough to bring me down, make me depressed, or so scary I can't handle them myself. Has anyone used this medication for the same thing?? If so, is staying at 37.5 and not increasing it benificial, or will I still get all the side effects?? I work in a pharmacy. I know this medication works for thousands of people whom find it works amazingly. But all I can find are bad things?? It's causing me anxiety just contimplating using this medication. I have no depression, only occasional panic. Someone please help me make an informative decision :)

Posted by Chantal on June 15, 2007 6:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

Chantal,

To make an informed decision, you need to do your own research, so you can balance up your own benefit vs. risk equation. So... get a pencil and paper out, and start the homework.

Firstly, do your research on what the drug is approved for in your own country. e.g. If you are in the USA read Patient leaflets, or read up on the approved uses via somewhere like a drugs' info site, FDA site, or ask your pharmacist (handy) to give you the info.

Secondly, check out the non-medication treatment routes and make sure these options have been explored to your satisfaction e.g. if you are in the UK (or, indeed, even if you are not) the MIND site (google for: mind uk) has excellent information booklets on conditions and treatments. Have you been apprised of the Cognitive Therapy route, or bibliotherapy... have you been given a list of recommended books/reading, or have you already been made aware of these possibilities and have decided they are not for you? You state this is an intermittent problem, striking at already known set(s) of situations/triggers (i.e. 'out of town')... so you already recognise what can bring it on.

Thirdly, under the basic guidelines of informed consent, a patient might expect to be given information on Effexor withdrawal - it is acknowledged as the worst of these type of antidepressants from which to withdraw - and the side-effect profile. You work in a pharmacy... ask if you can access the reference texts?

Lastly? Pick up the phone/get on the net and find some solid first-hand information from a good support group/organisation for anxiety/panic attack sufferers.

Then, you can make your informed decision.

Posted by Someone on June 16, 2007 2:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

I've been taking 225mg/day Effexor XR for the last couple of years. Compared to Paxil and Celexa its been great. The only thing I don't like about it is when I forget to take it the headaches are horrible!

Posted by me on June 18, 2007 8:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been taking Effexor for about 3 months.I was so ill when i started taking it.Muscle weakness, tremors, head aces, nausea, and no sleep.I am currently on 150 mg and feeling quite ill.It has helped my panic attacks which were quite servere.I know that this drug will be really hard to come off as it was awful when i had to come off zoloft....if you can get help without drugs I highly recommened it.These and other drugs are so hard to come off that the side affects are horrific.Get a second opinion if you can

Posted by JD on June 18, 2007 6:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

I started taking efexor - xr 75 mg a few months ago and have just in the last month moved up to 150 mg . i had a few side effects when i first started like constant yawning which gave me a sore jaw , feeling "a little out of it" and low blood pressure but these all past within the first week .
After veing on them for about 5 weeks i started to feel the full effect of them and was feeling great i had heaps of energy and was in a constantly good mood , but after about 3 months of being on them i noticed that my depression was starting to come back and i wasnt feeling as good as i should have been but i thought that this was a normal thing where you haveyour good days and your bad days but after 2 weeks it started to get worse so my doctor moved me up to 150 mg and now i feel NORMAL im not so hypo and crazy as i first was when i started , im happy with efexor but wouldnt recomend it to everyone as people are different and dont have the same needs as others do
Some of the other side effects i had were , waking in the middle of the night after 4 hours sleep and bursting with energy and not being able to get back to sleep , irregular orgasims but these started after about after a month and stopped after about another 3-4 weeks . and the last side effect i have is waking up in the morning and feeling numb like as if you slept on you arm all night and not being able to move it but this was all over my body but this now happens very rarely but other than that im happy with it

Bottom line if you dont like it after about 2 months get off it other than that its great

Posted by Sydney Australia on June 19, 2007 8:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

Thank you Someone for your well thought out reply and for pointing the way to the Paxil Progress site.
While it is a daunting fact that I may have withdrawl symptoms for many months more, it is also heartening to know I am not alone and I am not crazy.
Again thank you for your help, it Has made a difference in my world:))

Posted by laurelle on June 19, 2007 8:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hi Everyone
I'm updating my progress following my post no. 71 dated Jan 31 2007. It was:

"I just got prescribed venlafaxine 2 days ago, and haven't started yet. I wanted to research online first as I'm nervous about ADs after bad reactions to SSRIs including suicidation and self-harm (never had before SSRIs). I'm seriously concerned about the possible worsening of manic & suicidal symptoms on effexor. I suffer from daily extreme mood swings from sad & suicidal to ridiculously irritable, argumentative and loud, followed by extreme remorse and sorrow, then forgetting all about it. These shifts happen very suddenly, several times a day. The doctors can't agree on whether I have Bipolar or not. Although treating the depression is #1 priority for survival - death is permanent- if I go anymore "high" & irritable I think I'm going to lose the people I love, which will feed my depression even more. The new psychiatrist I just saw wants to try effexor first then add sodioum valproate as a mood stabiliser later. I too read in the official info that effexor can worsen hypo/mania & psychosis, but haven't seen that so much in the comments. I was on anti-psychotic meds for almost 14 years from age 19 to 32 but was taken off 4 years ago following recovery, and have not had return of psychotic symptoms. Needless to say I don't want to risk that either. If anyone would like to share their experiences of this I'd be grateful to hear about it before starting on effexor. Thanks."

So, back to today.

Well, I decided to give Effexor a try and started on 75mg. The first 2 weeks had an initial sedative effect, which made me very sleepy, which in my case was a good thing, as I'd had long-term severe insomnia. Having loads of sleep in itself improved my mood, but we were aware it was the inital sedation rather than the anti-depressant effect.

The sedation wore off and after 1 month on 75mg, I was upped to 150mg. Very obvious side effects at that dose, so went down again to 75mg after 2 weeks. The side effects then were:
tremor all over, particularly hands;
excess sweating, especially at night;
severely dry mouth, very obvious with rasping speech;
maybe one or two others that I've forgotten now (that's effexor for you!) - actually, joking apart I've just remembered another side effect which is ironically that I can't remember words and names for the first time in my life! That is a very weird one for me as I'm known as having a meticulous memory.

Anyway, back down to 75mg until 2 weeks ago. On the 75mg I did not notice any side-effects at all. But at the same time, I noticed no discernable benefit from Effexor. Previously when a medicine has been effective it has been very obvious, the change, but not this time.

Although, things have been improving for me but this is really down to lifestyle changes not effexor, so I decided not to take them any more 2 weeks ago.

I was very surprised, even after reading this site, by the extremely obvious withdrawals I've been going through the last two weeks.

Can I just thank "Someone" for pointing us to the "Paxil Progress" website - and I urge all of you to check it out - because it is very clear and specific in describing common withdrawal symptoms and means of coping with each one. As Someone said, just google "Paxil Progress" and you'll find it.

The withdrawals I had were very obvious, and confirmed by that site.

OK Here goes:
1st of all, please remember I had no side-effects during treatment at 75mg and this all started when I stopped!

1. Dizziness.
Oh my my. I can't tell you how bad. I haven't driven my car in two weeks, that's how unsafe it feels. A bit like being on a boat, or at the end of a roller coaster ride when it stops and you're still swimming.

2. "Whoosh!" feeling when moving head or eyes from side to side, (well described on paxil progress as like in star trek when they're moved by stretching then catching up. Makes you really dizzy too.

3. Worsening of eyesight. It has been really tough on me to have to get up and closer to the computer screen cos i can't read it anymore.

4. Sore eyes with light. So sore it brings tears to my eyes, and I have had to wear an eyemask to bed to try and get some sleep.

5. Acutely sharpened hearing. Really! Everything has become so clear and noticable and loud in a very obvious way. Noticing things like how loud the birds are, the humming of the fridge, the neighbours, everything.

6. Horrific, vivid, scary, terrifying nightmares. Yuck. Waking up but not properly, half delirious, completely out of it, just like an alcoholic going through the DT Horrors, a scared state between waking and sleeping. This makes going to sleep scary and the insomnia is back with a vengeance. The last week I had literally 3 or 4 hours sleep a night, leading to major exhaustion.

7. Aches and pains down my arms, my neck and my back that I did not have before.

8. Noticably reduced appetite.

9. Memory loss, as I mentioned, particularly forgetting words and people's names, very distressing for someone as pedantic as myself!

10. Confusion. Dazed, wondering what I'm meant to be doing, what was I in the middle of? That kind of thing.

11. Tight, focussed headache around the top and front of my head, like being strongly lightheaded, but cold, not hot.

12. Painful bloating and water retention, in my stomach, but also swelling up my fingers and toes.

13. Intense, severe abdominal pain, so bad I'm bent double and cannot straighten up. Feel like I'm going to be sick but not vomiting. Takes my breath away and just have to try and ride it out. Have had a hot-water bottle tied round my waist because of this 4 days in the last 14.

14. Worsening of PMT/PMS with tearfulness, irritability and just general feeling sorry for myself!

15. Generalised nausea waves most of the time.

WOW! Sorry it is such a long post, but it really is that long a list of withdrawal effects. This is after taking effexor 75mg daily for 4 months. I dread to think how bad withdrawals are for those of you on higher doses or longer term. My thoughts and sympathy are with you.

It does keep me going to know that these are withdrawals, that they will pass and that I was wise to get off them.

Thanks also to the organisers of this site and to everyone who's posted. Without all of your comments and sharing, I wouldn't have had a clue what I'm going through here but with all the explanations, it does help me to try and stick in there.

"This too shall pass."

Posted by Tracy on June 19, 2007 9:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

I've started effexor the same time I found this page and it has worked wonders. I think I'm at around 9 months now on it and couldn't be happier. The first two weeks were strange but got through it in pretty good standing.

+1 for effexor!!!

I lost my perscription on month and it took almost two weeks before I finally got around to getting another one and filled it. In that time I had no trouble not taking it...I almost feel that people look for reasons to slip over to the dark side so to speak. Keep your heads up!

Posted by Jeremy on June 20, 2007 3:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

I was originally prescribed Effexor at the age of 17 and took it for 6 months. In that time I noticed no side effects and had no problems going off the drug.

I'm 24 now and have just been prescribed Effexor again, have been taking 75mg for a week. Once again, no side effects other than positive changes. I was late taking a dose this morning and didn't experience any discontinuation symptoms.

I must be one of the lucky ones. Other AD medications seemingly cause horrible side effects with my body, but the Effexor has never caused me a problem.

Posted by Dagmar on June 22, 2007 10:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

I was diagnosed as bi-polar about 5 years ago, but was already on & off anti-depressants for many years before that. I've been playing "medication musical chairs" for years, sometimes needing only mood stabilizers & a benzo for anxiety, but often an anti-depressant as well. Effexor has 2 important qualities to me: it doesn't conflict with my other meds, and it works ... for ME that is. Yes, the side effects going on & off it can be horrible. And it can not work at all ... both of these are contigent on the person taking the medication. With all the antidepressants I've tried, this is the one for ME, regardless of some common, but difficult side effects at times. So problems with this medication, in my opinion, are the same as any other: you don't actually have a chemical depression that requires meds; Effexor is just not the right one to manage your depression; or the side effects are too strong to make it worth YOUR while, in particular. I just went back on it ... feel like puking every second, tired all the time, and dizzy as all hell. But I know it will fade in a week or so and work. To me that's worth it. Sorry, but everyone just has to try meds until they find what works. Good luck!

Posted by rose on June 22, 2007 3:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

I've just started to use effexor and after reading this post i'm begining to wish i never. on my first day i had jaw locking which was abit rough. i suffer from severe clinical depression with suicidal tendancies and have tried a host of AD's none of which worked, the psych assured me effexor would be effective and only 10% of people have difficulties with this med, so far every site i've been to has had alot of neg reports, i feel a bit let down beacuse i wasn't fully informed about this med but i can't make any positive or negative (apart from the jaw) comments till i've had more time. i will repost, i hope all the people who have had negative effects are well and happy now.

Posted by Tara on June 24, 2007 4:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

I am a 49 year old female who has been taking the generic form of Effexor for one month. My doctor suggested starting to take 1 75MG pill every morning for 1 week, then go to 1 75MG pill in the morning, and one at night. The first morning, I took 75MG and threw up 4 times within 1 hour of taking it. My Dr suggested only to take a 1/2 pill the next morning, and then step it back up to a whole pill in one week. I was afraid to, so I have stayed on 1/2 a pill (37.5mg) a day now, and it has been 4 weeks. I felt like my anxiety symptoms were gone within the first week. My only side effect has been yawning, which I have experienced with being on Paxil and Zoloft previuosly.
I have had no ear ringing, no insomnia, no constipation, no dimished libido, no weight gain,no bizarre dreams, or anything else mentioned. Perhaps higher doses of the medication is what is causing this? I am staying on a 1/2 pill a day, no matter what is suggested. I feel great , and as long as I take my dose every morning, and with food, all is wonderfull.

Posted by Emma on June 24, 2007 8:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

I'm a 41 yo male and have been taking Effexor XR for about 5 years, I have experienced complete apathy for the last several years and when a dose is missed or 2 or more days elaspe between refills, then it's a lightheaded dizzy feeling that goes away in 20 minutes after dosing. I'm going to speak with my doctor about a weaning schedule as I am only taking 75mg per day. I'm concerned about the apathy and don't particularly like the feeling of being completely emotionless.

Posted by Troy on June 25, 2007 9:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

In the last half hour having surfed in desperation, I have learned that I am not the only person in the world who has experienced horrendous side effects when attempting to come off Effexor XR. And my dosage is low compared to some - 75 mg. I have come off other anti depressants and tranquillizers in the past (cold turkey) with slight discomfort but this!!?? I cannot believe, when I am a person who will not put any chemical into my mouth or my childrens' mouths without research, that I allowed my GP to talk me into taking this dreadful drug to treat depression (so it was said) anxiety and panic attacks. Having taken medication in the past I really did not want to go that way again but I was assured that it was not addictive and I suppose at the time because I felt so lousy, I decided to try it. I did draw the line when the first suggestion of Prozac was made but to my cost, I don't know that the alternative is any better.
Still experiencing panic attacks, I decided to come off as I did not want to increase the dosage. This expensive drug should be taken off the market or a DIRE WARNING regarding withdrawal symptoms printed on every dosage direction label.

Posted by Barbara on June 25, 2007 12:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

Tomorrow is my last dose of Effexor. Pray for me! I've spent a month tapering off from 300mg. All the usual side effects, but nothing too serious.
I am also tapering on to a new med (Surmontil, a TCA). I really recommend using one med to drop another, even if you want off completely. Just don't do it with Effexor, Paxil or Prozac, or you'll end up back where you started.
Does anybody else think it's weird that my spellcheck knows Prozac?
To end on an up note, I've lost 7.5 lbs. Up yours, SSRIs! Only 60 more to go!

Posted by Jennifer on June 25, 2007 10:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

I was used to of Effexor from March 2000, Effexor side effects are so horrible which i had faced while use. if miss the dose i felt brain shock,confusion,shivering and dizziness i asked to my physic who was the No 1 physic in Pakistan,Karachi. He always told me i ll be recovered , so i notice my self if i whole rely on the doc he told me same thing till my all life so i decide to tapper down the medicine in March 2003 i slow down tapered the medicine and success fully i leave this medicine in may i bear so many exams but i decide my self i ll leave this medicine in any cost whatever i be die .now i m happy and enjoying my if any body have to need help to me he or she can contact with me my email address is shahidmb@gmail.com

Posted by Muhammad Shahid on June 26, 2007 7:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

I've been on Effexor for depression and anxiety for a total of about 6-1/2 years--2-1/2 yrs on 75mg, 1 yr off, 4 yrs back on 75 mg, and this past yr on 150mg.

At the very beginning, it made me extremely sleepy, but after that wore off (after a couple of weeks) I didn't necessarily think it was doing much of anything. No apparent positive effects, but no side effects either-- unless I missed a dose, which cause the horrible withdrawl well described on this board. I somehow managed to get myself more or less together over the next couple of years, which my doctor thought might have had something to do with the Effexor, but I decided to go off it anyway. He advised me to just cut back to 35mg for a week (which wasn't so bad), then quit entirely... WRONG!!! After much suffering, I went back on 35mg and weaned myself off it S_L_O_W_L_Y , literally opening up the capsule and removing a few more grains of the medicine every day. It took over a month, but I finally got off it this way with NO further withdrawl effects. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS METHOD TO ANYONE TRYING TO GET OFF EFFEXOR!

I was pretty much ok for about a year, then things got bad again, and my doctor convinced me to go back on it. Again, no dramatic positive or negative effects, though I started thinking it might be making it a little more possible to drag myself out of a downward spiral when one came on, than without the medicine. I continued to struggle with moderate depression/anxiety, though I've always been high-functioning. My doctor just kept saying, if it might be helping and isn't causing problems, stick with it.

Something traumatic happened in my personal life about a year ago, and my doctor had me double my dose to 150mg, to no apparent effect other than making withdrawl symptoms come on much faster and much worse if I missed a dose. I've continued having a rough time, and in recent months started having persistent suicidal thoughts, and couldn't help wondering whether this might be related to the increased dose. I carefully (and comfortably) weaned myself back to 75mg, but was surprised to find my depression and anxiety suddenly get MUCH worse. Surprised b/c when I quit completely for that year, there was definitely no major psychological effect, if any. Anyway, I immediately went back to 150mg and am doing ok at the moment!

While this makes me much more nervous about quitting, I still want to, and something that happened the other day has me particularly motivated. For about the last 5 yrs or so I've been smoking weed almost every night, and while I seem to have an unusually high tolerance, I do get high. I did my fair share of acid and 'shrooms before going on the Effexor the first time, but haven't really had the occasion or access since, except for some 'shrooms a friend gave me about a year ago. They didn't work, though, and I just assumed they were too old or something (my friend didn't eat any). Then last week another (extremely drug-experienced) friend tried to introduce me to Ecstasy. We did it together and he was really rolling on one hit--it was definitely good stuff. One did nothing for me, and two just got me about as stoned as a nice joint. After doing some research I now realize: A) it was very stupid not to have considered the possibility of drug interaction first, and I'm really lucky I didn't end up with serotonin syndrome, and B) the 'shrooms were probably fine, and Effexor apparently makes me "immune" to both 'shrooms and Ecstasy. I don't intend to do hard drugs on a regular basis, but it's not really ok with me that I can't... ever! I'd be very curious to hear about other people's experience with psychedelics/Ecstasy on Effexor.

Posted by Anya on June 27, 2007 10:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

Re: Anya and the Ecstasy

Let me yell to make my point: PEOPLE WITH DEPRESSION CAN'T TAKE ECSTASY!
All the popular meds (Prozac, Paxil, Effexor, etc.) work by keeping serotonin in your brain longer. Ecstasy is like taking a big old ice cream scoop to your serotonin. Even taking it once can screw you up forever. Take it a lot and it's a one-way ticket to the rubber room.
Really, all recreational drugs are crap for depressives, because we just get worse when the high goes.
Anya, why haven't you tried any other meds? Paxil was great for me until it pooped out, Prozac did nothing, and Effexor just kept a lid on things. You just have to find yours, and it doesn't sound like Effexor's it.
Keep smoking the weed, do occasional 'shrooms if you want, but if you like your sanity, don't do X.
It's fun to be mentally interesting!

Posted by Jennifer on June 28, 2007 4:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

i am a 53 year old female who was placed on these drugs as we lost our beloved grand daughter 3 years ago.at the time these drugs and berievement counciling saved me.i have been on efexor for 3 years now firstly 75mg efexor xr now im down to 37.5mg the side effects are horrendous.sweats,headaches,nausea,aches,cant sleep,feel like ive got the flu,cant think straight,vision distorted,lack of labido,and generally feeling terrible.cant think how im getting through my day!i work with special needs children in special needs schools and i used to love it now i dont remember half i have done and am like a zombie!can anyone out their help!
desparate to come off this horrible drug!

Posted by kathryn glen on July 1, 2007 4:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have just recently started taking Effexor XR for about 1 month now. I was put on it after a bad depression after coming off of my Oxycontin addiction. Even after the initial withdrawals were gone I was severely depressed and felt like a worthless lump. I didn;t want to do ANYTHING. My social life was in ruins. Even now, about 6 months clean, I get crazy cravings for OC when I see or do certain things that remind me of it. The Effexor has helped alot. The first day I had pretty bad nausea and I vomited. After that it got better over time. The major side effects I have noticed are some nights I have restless legs(I hate this, had it last night), blurred vision, GAS like never before. The worst side effect would have to be the drowsiness. Being a former Oxycontin addict, I am used to the extreme drowsiness but this is different. In my job I recently was written up for falling asleep in one of the classes I help instruct for the government. If I am up and doing something it's ok. But If I am sitting still or laying down, it takes about 10 minutes and I am out! I dread the withdrawals if I ever have to face them. Having went through the horrible 1 month withdrawal period from Oxycontin I can't imagine what this would be like.

Posted by David on July 2, 2007 5:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

What a relief, finally, all my symptoms make sense, and am not the only one suffering side effects, am on EffexorXR 75mg, once a day, a doc once mis-prescribed and put me on 300mg twice daily, I was a complete mess, body was agonisingly in spasms, electric shocks, confusion, suicidality. Was seeing him for suicidal tendencies, go figure hey. Will try and slowly ween myself off this horrible medication, night terrors, constant tiredness, fatigue, brain goes into a state hard to describe, agitated and everything is like a fog, not brain fag, brain fog, depression sometimes gets worse with the resurgence of suicidality, tremors constantly, sometimes the whole body, I hate the mental confusion it gives me, and the insomnia, diagnosed as sleep apnoea as well, along with pain meds for spinal fusion that has failed, wow, am I doing well, at least I have prayer now, and that helps me thru the really bad times, good old medication, damned with it and damned without it.

Posted by WazOz on July 4, 2007 6:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

Has anyone ever tried to go 'cold-turkey' with them?

I am on 75mg per day (from 225mg 3yrs ago) If I dont take them I get dizzy and 'brain zaps' but I am curious if this would pass after a couple of days??

Any feedback would be good.

Thanks

Posted by M MacDonald on July 5, 2007 1:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have only been taking Effexor for a couple of months (slowly building up to 150mg daily) but the side effects are awful.

Tinnitus is HORRIBLE; high-pitch squeal in my ears is constant. I cannot afford to damage my hearing; I'm a bilingual teacher and voices are the among first things that drop out of the range of hearing. I can only pray it's not permanent.

Apathy -- I simply can't get up and do anything. I wasn't this way before I started the drug for panic. Can't get motivated with a huge pile of work in front of me.

Headache, constipation, and terribly dry mouth also are convincing me to quit. I'm dramatically tapering the dose down and watching carefully for side effects. I hope to be off this drug in a short time.

Gah! Never again.

Posted by Josi on July 5, 2007 9:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

hi

Has anyone been able to take this drug only as needed for anxiety not as a everyday ritual I do not want to get in the habit if on good days when my anxiety is manageable to take it only when I feel like I am spinning out of control

Thanks
Mary

Posted by mary on July 5, 2007 4:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

Re: cold turkey

Why, yes, I did go cold turkey. My doctor, yes, MY DOCTOR, kicked me off 450mg/day, plus the 3g of tryptophan, risperdal, and clonazepam I was also taking. I lost 15 pounds in two weeks, threw up every time I put something in my mouth, shook uncontrollably, had incredibly violent and sickening dreams that kept going when I woke up, oh, it was a wonderful time.
As to my first two weeks off after tapering down, my headaches are constant,I can cry at hte drop of a hat, and the diarrhea is indescribable.

Posted by Jennifer on July 6, 2007 9:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

Jennifer,

If you go to a drugs interaction checker and put in the compounds you were taking you will find both major and moderate interactions.

Even the Effexor site says: "The development of potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome may occur when EFFEXOR XR is coadministered with other drugs that may affect the serotonergic neurotransmitter systems. Concomitant use of EFFEXOR XR with MAOIs is contraindicated. If concomitant use of EFFEXOR XR with an SSRI, SNRI, or a triptan is clinically warranted, careful observation of the patient is advised. Concomitant use of EFFEXOR XR with tryptophan supplements is not recommended."

There are withdrawal syndromes associated with the Effexor, the clonazepam and the risperdal. To get the consumer drug info leaflets that list the doses, side-effects, withdrawal concerns... head over to a site that has them, like drugs.com or rxlist.com

A second opinion concerning your current doctor's cold turkey approach may be a possibility?

You can find benzo info (clonazepam) at benzo.org.uk, including withdrawal symptoms & advice.

Posted by Someone on July 7, 2007 12:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

I went on Effexor about 9 months ago. I am only on the 37.5 dose. When I tried to increase to the 75 mg, I thought I would literally tear my skin off. Even on the 37.5 dose, if I forgot to take it in the morning, by afternoon I was nauseous, dizzy and feeling lousy. I decided to come off of it since I have gained about 20 lbs. I actually lost about 10 a few months ago from dieting, but COULD NOT lose more. I also gained it right back. Being fat makes me feel worse than the actual depression that I started taking the drug for. I was also tired all day and could not sleep at night. Now, from reading, I realize it caused me to have Restless Leg Syndrome. I had a HORRIBLE withdrawal episode from Paxil about 8 years ago. No doctor or hospital knew what was wrong with me. I thought I was dying...I made my peace with God. When I went on Effexor, I was very hesitant. I know I have memory loss and word retrieval issues since I went off Paxil. My doctor told me "not to worry...this one is different." Well, guess what...it's NOT!! I have been tapering off by about 1/2 dose each week and the withdrawal wasn't bad until today. (I'm down to about 9 mg. a day). Now I'm having the brain zaps, dizziness and insomnia (I haven't gotten to sleep before 4 AM since I started tapering off.) Now I am so itchy, I want to rip into my skin. I am also really nauseous. At least I know what's wrong with me this time and that I'm not dying. The thing that makes me mad is that the doctors do not tell you about the side effects nor about the withdrawal syndrome. WHY??...to make $ from the Pharm. Companies of course. It's just wrong. They take people who are already in pain...and make it worse. Once I'm done with this drug completely, I will NEVER take an anti-depressant again...even if I am depressed. I am going to try a more wholistic approach (aromatherapy, reiki, accupuncture, etc.) and hope that works. I hope I don't have more long term harmful effects from this time. I'm only 35, my memory shouldn't be this bad!! Tell your friends...DON"T start Effexor (or Paxil) and if you're on it...taper off! Don't ever go cold turkey!

Posted by Holli on July 7, 2007 7:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been taking Effexor for about 4 years now and I am currently up to a dosage of 225mg daily. Without this drug I would not still be here to tell you my story and that is the God's honest truth.

However, three years ago I found out I was pregnant and without consulting my doctor I decided to quit the Effexor cold turkey in the best interest of my unborn child. Within 3 days I was admitted to the hospital when severe suicidal tendencies. I had a complete emotional breakdown. My doctors advised me to go back on the Effexor saying that many woman have perfectly healthy babies while on antidepressants. I unfortunately did not. My son was born with three heart defects. First, he had a small hole in the left side of his heart. Secondly, he had a distinctive heart murmur. Thirdly, and most seriously, he had infant tachycardia. He spent time in the NICU and was on medication twice a day for the first year of his life. Now, he is three. The hole has closed itself, the murmur is gone and the Tachycardia has all but disappeared. My docotr now says it is most likely Effexor did that to my son.

If you are on Effexor and thinging about having a child know that it can hurt your baby.

Posted by Brodysmommy on July 8, 2007 1:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

I'm grateful to have found this board. Just reading through a good portion of the post makes me feel at ease. I've been on Effexor 75mm once a day (should be twice) for almost four years. My oncologist prescribed it to combat hot flashes as I cannot take hormone replacements. The weight gain and insomnia have made me more of a shut-in than anything positive. Missing a dosage for 48 hours is brutal; 72 is the beginning of withdrawal hell. Vertigo, diarrhea, hot flashes, deep depression all set in. I want off of it more than anything but can't get past that 72-hour threshold. Honestly, my biggest fear is that I live alone and I don't know how going cold-turkey would affect my mental state. Good luck to all of you.

Posted by angie on July 9, 2007 1:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

As an update from my previous posts--starting around March 15--Effexor continues to help me keep my act together. I'm still noticing meaningful increases in the mental strengths needed to practice law--although I am not where I would like to be.

My temperance continues, as I've consumed no alcohol since 3/13. "Staying on the wagon" seems to be what I have to do if I'm on Effexor, and to not want to feel totally f*&^$d up.

In the past few weeks, I've had impulses to drink a few drinks, but so far my self-discipline has prevailed.
I'm exercising, eating only "healthy foods," consuming no mind altering substances (other than Effexor), and leading a pretty pleasant--and what my spouse calls, from time to time, boring--life.

With all the clean living, it is very disappointing that the reduced libido I previously experienced has pretty much fallen to zero.

Has anyone come across anything that is helpful for a guy on Effexor whose libido has tanked?

Thanks for your help.

Posted by Nobody on July 9, 2007 1:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

Well, after reading several reviews am so glad it happened now and not a few months ago, would of scared me to death reading the different side effects everyone has been experiencing. As far as my time on Effexor XR, it has only been two months and I like it! I take if for the depression associated with Parkinson's, it has been a year for me trying to come to some sort of terms with knowing this is my lot in life, as being only 52, there is still a lot of life left to see.......In my mind antidepressants ment being in a fog, never knowing up or down but have found this not to be true at all. My co-workers see the change in me, and it has all been positive, except the weight. Like may others the pounds seem to be showing up rapidly. In this short time am up to 225 but on a stressful day 300 and on a easy day or the weekend 175, my doctor has given me the respect of deciding what works best for me. It seems like a few have already pointed out, we are all different and that along with the reason we are taking the med plays into it all. Just wanted to put in my two cents and point out besides one headache on the third day of taking 75, life has been good....

Posted by anonymous me! on July 9, 2007 8:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

Anonymous on July 19,
I was having similar symptoms regarding being tired, sleepy, hard to get going, etc. My psychiatrist suspected I might have sleep apnea--which I did. He prescribed Provigl, and it has gone a long way, nearly completely making those symptoms dissappear. It also gave me more energy, and I was able to become more active and lose weight. Hope this helps.

Posted by Nobody on July 10, 2007 7:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

Re: post 355

With regards to a decreased libido and irregular orgasms I began taking Ginko Biloba in slightly higher doses than the bottle's suggested intake (took it 2-3 times a day). The Ginko helps with circulation and after about a week of taking it I was having average-normal relations again. I am sorry I can't recall where I read the study that suggested this use, but I do know it helped me and when I spoke with my dr. he confirmed this.
He had also suggested for nights when I knew I wanted to be active to skip a dose that day. For some people this works (when I was on this drug it took 2-3days before withdrawl symptoms would hit).
Hope this helps...as for me off this drug now since end of January and thankful for each day.
Good luck!!!

Posted by Anonymous on July 11, 2007 4:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been taken 225mg of Effexor daily for approximately 3 years. This drug was perscribed for stress and mild depression. I have gained 60 lbs become hypertensive and have absolutely no libido. What a great drug and what a fantastic doctor I have. I am still stressed and at times depressed, but now because I cant get off of this drug and the horrors it is causing in my life. I have tried tappering but I become extremely moody, quick tempered and feel physically ill. Does any one have any help they can offer?

Posted by Dan on July 11, 2007 9:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

Dan, How did you taper? e.g dropped to ?mg, took the drug every day for ?days, then dropped to ?mg.

How long after each dose drop was it before the withdrawal symptoms kicked in? Did you 'miss-a-day' with the pills as a form of tapering?

Posted by Someone on July 12, 2007 4:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

I was a very depressed person and I was struggling all the time with been unhappy, sad, about so many past experences and it was overwhelming to me.
I have been told by my doctor that I have PTSD ( Post-Tramtic Stress Disorder ) I have had it for many years, and when I got on Effexor XR I was not getting better until I got to a higher dosage. That is what help me out. I am currently on 450mg of Effexor and I do not feel depressed at all. If I slowly come down I will get depressed and will have suicidal thoughts, so this is where I am at, if anyone would like to ask me any question or if you need help or advice please feel free to email me.

Posted by Bruce on July 12, 2007 10:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

Been on Effexor for about 4 months now........just recently since 5 years ago, I tried to masterbate, and when I did finally climax, it was as though I had run 100 miles.....couldn't catch my breath. Just recently went on testerone gel,which the doc put me on. Anyone else experience such severe shortness of breath??

Posted by Donald on July 12, 2007 3:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have a question. I have been prescribed Effexor for anxiety/situational panic attacks. I just want to know how well/not well it worked for everyone just using 37.5mg?? And if you experienced many side affects. I do understand that everyone is different, but I'd like to know what the majority of people think. If I need to be on this, I don't want to be on the prescribed 150mg. Please let me know what you think :)

Posted by Christine on July 12, 2007 4:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

I took the first 37.5 mg dosage five days ago. Two hours later I was deathly ill with extreme nasea and for the first few hours I was so drunk that I couldn't pick up my son from daycare. That was Monday. I missed most of the rest of the week of work and now it's Friday and I am STILL nauseated! After only one pill? Have had diarrhea most of the week too. Hate to think what 75 mg would have done to me. Have thrown the whole month's supply out.

Posted by Gina on July 13, 2007 6:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

I've heard of people taking grains out of capsules to help come off of this medication, do you think this would work the other way around?? Start it by first taking grains out and working your way up?? I don't know, maybe that's stupid. I live in Canada and I get my medication for free, so this might be easier for me to attempt then anyone else. If I do this, I could post my progress. In response to your post Gina, I think you've helped me to make my decision to do it this way. I can't do without medication because my anxiety is so severe. I don't care if I'm on this for the rest of my life, as long as the panic attacks and anxiety go away.

Posted by Christine on July 13, 2007 4:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor for about a year now, and recently I have begun breaking out in terrible hives and facial swelling. I don't know if this has anything to do with the medication. Has anyone else had this problem?

Posted by Cecilia on July 19, 2007 3:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

This drug effects many people in so many different ways.I have been on and off the medication (mainly off)over the last 10 years of my life (im 40/male).I had the usual side effects when commencing the drug (nausea,inability to reach orgasm ect..) the nausea and other side effects passed in about 2 weeks, only 2 remained, dry mouth and difficulty reaching orgasm.I have to say that when I first started the drug it was not made in the XR formula, and yes for me it lifted major depression like none of the others could for me. Interestingly, when the manufacturer stopped making the effexor tablets and only had the drug available in the XR capsule, I filled my script at the chemist not even thinking that the change of the drug to capsule form would not make any difference....wrong!!! I went from the tablets which were treating my depression very well to within 3 days of taking the same dose XR capsule, I went straight into severe discontinuation syndrome...my psych said it may be my individual physiology and that the drug is not getting past the blood/brain barrier. The manufacturer was contacted immediately as I live in Australia and there is no generic effexor tablets. They noted the side effects and my situation and made a decision that I should open the capsule and grind the contents and dissolve in fluid...I have to say I did this just a dose strong enough to stop the severe brain zaps and tapered off over a period of 2 weeks, I was only ever on 37.5 mg daily maximum as side effects were too extreme on a higher dose.For me yes the tablets lifted the major depression but the capsules XR formulation were a nightmare...I would not wish the discontinuation syndrome on my worst enemy!! When the brain zaps went and I stopped the "ground up" drug completely...I had never felt better in a long time.

Posted by John on July 20, 2007 8:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

I just started Effexor for depression. My doctor had me on Lexapro for the last year or two and it just wasn't cutting it anymore. So we decided to change meds. This week, I'm taking 1/2 Lexapro and 1/2 (75mg) of Effexor to try to counter the withdrawls and startup symptoms of each med.

It's not bad, although I am completly exhausted, all day long. With 4 kids, that's not a good thing. Fortunatly, my husband is wonderful and is letting me sleep it off. Today was day 4 and I slept until noon, then back to bed after breakfast from 2 until 7. It's after 1 am and I can't get to sleep. My head hurts a little, but not up to 'bad' yet. I'm hoping to fall asleep before that happens. And the yawning is annoying.
We'll see how the next few days go. I'm supposed to go upto 150 in two more days, when I go off the lexapro completly. I'm a little nervous, but hopeful. Of course, reading sites like this one makes me much more nervous! :)
Wish me luck!

-Cheryl

Posted by Cheryl on July 22, 2007 1:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

I was on effexor rx for 2 years (150mg). The side effects were ridiculously unpleasant, especially the horrible night sweats (and the tooth grinding in my sleep), which seeped completely through my matress. In -40% cel weather i needed my window wide open because of the heat flashes during my sleep, which forced my husband to sleep in another room, on the couch.
(Did i mention i met him 1 month after starting them and married him 3 weeks later?) Definitely out of my regular behavioral pattern. They made me overly aggressive, and if i missed a dose on one day i would get very annoying (what seemed to be) electric jolts in my head. If i missed a dose 2 days i not only had the jolts, even worse then the day prior, but i also had to deal with heat flashes that made me feel like i was going to pass out in which i would run to the bathroom and cover myself in ice cold water to avoid passing out. Ultimately, i decided my life was ok and decided to quit them on my own, as my doctor did not wish me to. So i got a doctor to give me a decreased dosage of 75 mg per day for one month. I still had withdrawal symptoms from just lowering the dosage, bu i could somewhat handle them as i was accustomed to them at this point. However i went straight off at 75mgs, and i dont suggest it. I ran into someone back then who told me that he was studying this drug and getting off it is the same as getting off heroin. i feel sorry for people who wish to get off heroin now, because i cant imagine being any sicker then coming off those pills made me. I got ulcers, heartburn, those damm electric jolts in my head, (oh yeah everytime i tried to smoke i got even worse, so i quit smoking, WOOHOO.) a sort of bowel inflamation that cause stabbing pains in my left side, that made me unable to breathe properly or walk because of the pain, and of course the ridiculous heat flashes followed by diarhea. The only thing i actually liked about effexor were the incredibly vivid dreams about being a spy id have at night. Needless to say, when after about 8 months of dealing with these side effects, i finally became somewhat lucid and got a divorce.

Posted by Marie Claire on July 22, 2007 10:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

WHAT IS THE PROPER NAME??
Electric brain jolt shivers shocks etc etc I've seen and myself made reference to these symptoms on numerous occasions I originally referred to them as fever jolts when I first ever felt them as a child having nothing whatever to do with medication side effects. Okay so here we patients are struggling to describe a symptom which many experience but there is no proper name or explanation?? What is the specific name for the symptom? And does it involve metabolic changes as in body temperature as I suspected year ago? Who knows? Anyone?

Posted by Ron on July 22, 2007 11:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

In response to Ron's question about the brain shocks- they're called brain zaps. I was happy to have discovered the name for them and find some research on them. This helps me communicate to my family what I'm experiencing and also helps me to understand. Try these links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_zaps

http://www.labelmesane.com/about/brain_zaps.htm

I also found this explanation by a poster on another site...

Depression is often a result of lack of serotonin, dopamine and other neuro-transmitters in your brain. These transmitters pass signals from brain cell to brain cell. Sertotonin and dopamine are responsible for regulating mood and emotion.

Normally, the brain recycles these transmitters...that is, once they pass from one nerve to another and do their job, they turn back around and go through the transmission again. This is referred to as "reuptake" and ultimately lowers the concentration and effectiveness of the transmitter.

Anti-depressants like Effexor work by removing the recycling mechanism, blocking the reuptake process. This makes the transmitter stronger. The increased strength of the transmitter increases activity in the part of the brain which it effects, which in this case is the part of the brain that produces happy feelings.

When you stop taking Effexor, the "block" that has been placed in the return pathway of the transmitter is removed. This can have an effect like opening a floodgate. A concentraton of transmitters has built up behind the block, and this concentration is suddenly flooding into your brain. It is confusing because although it HELPS your mood to have MORE serotonin, it becomes counter-productive when there is this sudden increase that happens with withdrawal. This flood of transmitter produces a concentrated rise in the excitability of nerve cells. These nerve cells in your brain are suddenly dealing with more transmitter being circulated, which increases the rate and number of electrical impulses whizzing around in your brain.
In other words, there is a very unnatural amount of electrical activity going on. I think this is why the effects feel so "zappy" and so much like electric shocks.

Also, I know that too high a concentration of dopamine causes what they call "overactive brain"...hallucinations, difficulty telling reality from imagination. This is probably what causes the vivid dreams and nightmares.
--------------
Makes sense to me- hope it helps!

Posted by Lisa on July 23, 2007 7:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

I just thought I'd share my effexor experience:
While on Effexor I gradually became more and more apathetic. It happened gradually over time, so I didn't realize what was happening for a long time. I got to the point where I felt nothing at all and as a result felt completely out control - which started causing more panic. Just to feel something, I started to self-mutilate myself - scratching and punching myself. I felt like I wasn't even in my body.
I lost all my taste receptors - i.e. I stopped salivating ( I didn't realize this had happened until I got off Effexor. One day I saw a pickle and salivated, only then did I realize that I hadn't salivated over anything in over a year ).
The good news, I weaned myself off - i.e. going down 1 dose every two weeks until I went cold turkey ( my only bad experience with withdrawal was when I went off the drug completely, I had 3 days of nausea and exhaustion ( I pretty much slept the whole time ) after that I was good ) - once I was off the drug, I haven't had depression once. I.e. that place where you go when you're depressed, down, down, down into that dark hole - my body wouldn't let me reach it anymore. Effexor has definitely changed my brain chemistry. I can't get deeply depressed any more. I still get anxious and panicky sometimes - mostly panicky about the anxiety causing me to become that depressed again, but so far so good. It is a little frightening how much the drug must have changed my brain chemistry though, as I can no longer multi-task and my brain functioning has gaps now. I.e. I never used to lose focus and could keep multiple thoughts going at one time, but now I can't do that anymore. I don't think as clearly and my short term memory is shot ( sometimes people ask me what I did the week before, and it used to be I'd have to think about it and it would come to me eventually but now, those memories are somethings completely inaccessable with no hope of retrieval ).
I also have noticed my appetite has changed. I used to be a sweets freak. I.e. I'd prefer dessert over supper any time, it was a complete consistency with me from 0-30 years of age. Now, I'm completely different. I'll take a steak over ice cream any day. It's kind of scary what this drug has done, and I would definitely recommend trying everything else first before taking this one.
Oh, and one more thing. I chose Effexor because I was told it was the only drug that would not make you fat ( gaining weight always caused me to be more depressed so I didn't want to risk using something else ). But once I started feeling nothing on the drug I started eating more - gaining about 25 LBS. So, if that's your reasoning for using this drug I'd still recommend trying something else first.

Just my two cents,
Jen

Posted by Jen on July 23, 2007 9:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

Has anyone had trouble with this medication during pregnancy?? I'm on 37.5mg XR. I will be getting married in Nov and we plan to conceive soon after. Please, anyone who's been pregnant with this medication, please let me know if you've had complictaions, or if you know anyone who has.
In return, here is a tip for those of you having trouble with achieving orgasm on this med. Toys! I'm serious! Their is a wide variety of toys out there that can bring you to orgams in minutes, somtimes seconds!! And its fun and interesting for your spouse or boyfriend.

Thank you

Posted by Julie on July 24, 2007 5:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor xr 75 mgs. for about 8 mos. Put on it after 2 baby. last 5 mos have been great. all of the sudden i feel kind of foggy and drugged. weird. anyone else had this happen since taking it for awhile. I haven't missed one dose or upped anything. the only thing is i took 2 37.5 mgs a couple of days instead of the 1 75mgs. i feel like i am going crazy or something.

Posted by Donna Potts on July 25, 2007 12:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

When I was around 12 or 13 my doctor put me on Effexor for depression. They made me fell out of place, disoriented, I couldn't concentrate, and I just felt very weird. Over about 4 months my depression got worse, which caused the doctors to increase my dosage, which just made my feelings worse. I was unmotivated to do anything, I started skipping school becuse I could not bring myself out of bed. I began having visions of killing myself, and hurting others. My parents took me to the emergency room where I was able to lie my way out of getting hospitalized, and again another increase in the meds. After about a year I began breaking out in hives, which lead the doctors to slowly take me off of the meds. After awhile I began to feel normal again. For the longest time I thought there was something wrong with me, that I really did have problems, only after reading several articles on anti-depressants I am beginning to realize it was the meds. We were never told about these side effects. Now I am a 20 year old psychology major, and I am very aware of the dangers of these "helpful" medications.

Posted by Jamie on July 29, 2007 11:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

JULIE-

I was on Effexor when I was pregnant and my son was born with THREE different serious heart problems! My OB-GYN said it was likely the Effexor that caused them. However, my sister was on Effexor when she had her two kids and both are fine.

Posted by Anne on July 29, 2007 3:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

JULIE-

I was on Effexor when I was pregnant and my son was born with THREE different serious heart problems! My OB-GYN said it was likely the Effexor that caused them. However, my sister was on Effexor when she had her two kids and both are fine.

Posted by Anne on July 29, 2007 3:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hi,

I am looking for advice from anyone who has quit Effexor cold turkey. My doctor put me on it two months after I had my son last November. It wasn’t making me feel better, so he kept upping the dose from 37.5 to 150 mgs. I knew deep down that this drug was not helping me, so I would skip doses basically until my husband and I would start fighting, and he would say, “you’re not taking your medicine” after he would notice my change in moods. He tells me I need to be on medicine and that I am crazy and it really bothers me, especially now that I am trying to get off it. I’ve tried to explain about the withdrawal but I don’t think he really gets it and thinks it’s in my mind.

I have always been thin and even thought I have been eating better than I ever had before, I still had like 25 pounds of baby weight to lose. My sister-in-law who is in grad school for psychiatry was alarmed when I told her I was on Effexor and the dose was that high. She told me that is what they often give anexoria patients to help them gain weight and the drug was probably why I was having trouble losing weight. That was the breaking point with this drug and I just stopped taking it cold turkey about 9-10 days ago.

It has been hard but I am toughing it out. I have flu-like symptoms, chills, I am very irritable and angry, and have tingly feelings in my brain and crazy dreams. How long will the last. I have survived this far and I just want this drug out my body. I wasn’t on anything before I got pregnant or while I was pregnant, of course, and I just don’t want to be taking anything.

I don’t see that doctor anymore. He is bad news. He got his license pulled by the DEA – so I am helping someone out there has some advice about how to get through—CAN ANYTHING MAKE IT BETTER AND HOW LONG WILL WITHDRAWEL LAST BEFORE IT’S OVER? I made it this far, so I am hoping the worst is over. I can make it through this if I know the withdrawal is almost over.

I would really appreciate any advice. Thanks so much. This board has really helped my realize how serious withdrawel from Effexor can be and that it’s not in my head.

Posted by Kim on July 30, 2007 1:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor for 3 years after trying just about every other possible antidepressant. I am 47 and have had anxiety and depression since I was 18 years old.

Paxil worked the best for me to cure anxiety and depression, but I put on 40 pounds. I've tried Welbutrin, Zoloft, Buspar, Paxil, Effexor, Prozac, and while the first 3 drugs don't help at all, the second 3 drugs help quite a bit, but my weight went from 135 to 180 and has stayed that way for 11 years.

My doctor says weight gain is not listed as a side effect of Effexor. Well, for me it is a side effect. Since I have to be on this medication - it's the lesser of all of these evils - does anybody have any suggestions for helping my weight *I'm close to obese category? Is there a drug I can take with Effexor that can help to counter this? I exercise and attend Weight Watchers. Weight comes off at the rate of about .02 pounds a week, and it's very difficult to keep off.

Thank you.
-- Lori

Posted by Lori on July 31, 2007 9:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hi I started effexor last week and have been pleasantly surprised at how quickly it helped me out of a very dark depression. I have had headaches and jaw clenching and am very worried about weight gain but it is a relief to not feel so dark and suicidal.

Posted by ppq on August 1, 2007 5:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hi. I'm hoping that some of you might be able to tell me if this sounds at all familiar, if you have experienced this.
I was on effexor for about 3 years. My doctor prescribed it to me for my migraines. My migraines stopped, I gained about 35 or 40 pounds, had night sweats, mood swings, etc.
I stopped taking the effexor cold turkey when my husband and I moved across the country and were in between jobs with no insurance.
I had no idea that the effexor had had any side effects on me. I did not even attribute the weight gain to the effexor until I rapidly began to lose it after stopping the medication.
I also had no idea that there could be side effects from stopping the drug. I did not at the time attribute any of my behavior to the stopping of the effexor. I became easily excitable, restless, couldn't sleep, began walking for hours through the city we moved to at night (at all hours - 1am, 2am, 3am, 4am), I didn't want to be at home, couldn't focus on even watching a movie, began arguing with my husband. I became extremely enraged with my husband. Our marraige completely collapsed, and it was completely my doing. I saw it all as his fault. I had never, ever even once before in our 8 years together even thought about leaving him. The idea of any serious problems between us would've been impossible to me. But, I left him. We seperated. I became like a completely different person in some ways. I'm still me, but I'm different. I don't know how to explain it.
That was 3 years ago.

Posted by Maggie on August 8, 2007 11:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

Wow! Thanks to everyone who posted. My doctor just gave me the sample packs. I took 1 capsule 3 or 4 hours ago and I feel lousy. I was warned, I could deal with feeling lousy for a week or so, but the doctor did not say anything about the withdrawals. They sound awful. I don't need this in my life. I was going to take it for hot flashes and ocassional anxiety. I think I will do yoga instead. I feel awful for the people who have had so many problems, but at least your postings are helping someone else. Hope you feel better soon!

Posted by Natasha on August 10, 2007 2:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hi everyone!
It's nice to find a site with mixed feelings on this medication.I'm interested in finding out more about the 37.5mg dose. Has anyone stayed on this dose and been able to get through their panic attacks? I really don't want to go any higher then 37.5, so please, if you are only on this dose, I'd like some advice.
Thank you :)

Posted by Nadia on August 13, 2007 4:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

My husband takes Effexor for anxiety, as the anxiety was putting a serious strain on our marriage. Now I do not know if the Effexor is making things even worse! He STILL has anxiety, seems to ALWAYS think he is right on every issue (was somewhat like this before, but it has become heightened and intolerable!), has become verbally abusive towards me, and constantly does crazy, irrational things that make no sense. I am blaming this on the meds, since things were not as bad before he was on this. When he missed his dosage for a few days (unintentionally), he wound up going to the Emergency Room, as he thought he was having a heart attack! (the diagnosis was "Effexor withdrawal"!) Does anyone else have this problem with this drug, or lives with someone that does? He refuses to see that this drug is doing this to him. He blames it on me, as, like I said before, he seems to have a unusually strong sense that he is NEVER wrong since being on this drug! He was NOT like this before he took Effexor -- life was not perfect, by any means, but it was not as bad as what I am living through with this! HELP!! Any advice, comments, or suggestions???

Posted by Sick-of-It Spouse on August 14, 2007 7:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

My husband takes Effexor for anxiety, as the anxiety was putting a serious strain on our marriage. Now I do not know if the Effexor is making things even worse! He STILL has anxiety, seems to ALWAYS think he is right on every issue (was somewhat like this before, but it has become heightened and intolerable!), has become verbally abusive towards me, and constantly does crazy, irrational things that make no sense. I am blaming this on the meds, since things were not as bad before he was on this. When he missed his dosage for a few days (unintentionally), he wound up going to the Emergency Room, as he thought he was having a heart attack! (the diagnosis was "Effexor withdrawal"!) Does anyone else have this problem with this drug, or lives with someone that does? He refuses to see that this drug is doing this to him. He blames it on me, as, like I said before, he seems to have a unusually strong sense that he is NEVER wrong since being on this drug! He was NOT like this before he took Effexor -- life was not perfect, by any means, but it was not as bad as what I am living through with this! HELP!! Any advice, comments, or suggestions???

Posted by Sick-of-It Spouse on August 14, 2007 7:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

My husband takes Effexor for anxiety, as the anxiety was putting a serious strain on our marriage. Now I do not know if the Effexor is making things even worse! He STILL has anxiety, seems to ALWAYS think he is right on every issue (was somewhat like this before, but it has become heightened and intolerable!), has become verbally abusive towards me, and constantly does crazy, irrational things that make no sense. I am blaming this on the meds, since things were not as bad before he was on this. When he missed his dosage for a few days (unintentionally), he wound up going to the Emergency Room, as he thought he was having a heart attack! (the diagnosis was "Effexor withdrawal"!) Does anyone else have this problem with this drug, or lives with someone that does? He refuses to see that this drug is doing this to him. He blames it on me, as, like I said before, he seems to have a unusually strong sense that he is NEVER wrong since being on this drug! He was NOT like this before he took Effexor -- life was not perfect, by any means, but it was not as bad as what I am living through with this! HELP!! Any advice, comments, or suggestions???

Posted by Sick-of-It Spouse on August 14, 2007 7:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on effexor for quite a number of years but have found that they numb me to the degree that I no longer enjoy doing the things that used to bring me great joy and pride. They have helped me with my anxiety and at times of grief I find that I can cope much easier whilst on them but I feel like a robot with no feelings; I am unable to cry, to feel great joy and yet the depression still seems to be lingering so I have decided to stop taking them and it has now been 2 days and I am having terrible headaches and dizziness....I may go onto another type of antidepressant, this remains to be seen.

Posted by Lauren on August 16, 2007 11:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on effexor for quite a number of years but have found that they numb me to the degree that I no longer enjoy doing the things that used to bring me great joy and pride. They have helped me with my anxiety and at times of grief I find that I can cope much easier whilst on them but I feel like a robot with no feelings; I am unable to cry, to feel great joy and yet the depression still seems to be lingering so I have decided to stop taking them and it has now been 2 days and I am having terrible headaches and dizziness....I may go onto another type of antidepressant, this remains to be seen.

Posted by Lauren on August 17, 2007 12:04 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on the generic for Effexor XR for about six months for perimenopausal symptoms. The first two weeks were terrible. All I wanted to do was sleep. I lost my appetite and lost 10 pounds (that wasn't so bad). I now experience jaw clenching, jolts and fitful nights trying to sleep. I also have very vivid dreams (when I do doze). Although I am having trouble sleeping, I feel pretty good during the day and the other symptoms are minor to me. However, over the last month, I have popped a blood vessel in my eye two times. This has never happened in my life and I wonder if this drug has anything to do with that. My hotflashes are starting to come back and I am torn between uping my dosage or getting off the medicine and trying something else. Has anyone else had eye problems with Effexor XR?

Posted by Mary on August 17, 2007 7:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

Has anyone cut back about 1/3 in dosage? If so, did you have brain shivers, etc? Any effect + or - ?

For the past 2+ months, I've had greater difficulty staying focused on work, and being interested in work. I have trouble getting things done. To an extent, I just don't care.

I've been very healthy, and other than the work issue (and "just around the bend" big financial problems, and semi-big marital issues---both of which are starting to rear their heads since I got some other more monstrous problems resolved)I'm doing pretty good.

I'm active, enjoy life in

I asked my psychciatrist if due to my better physical state, whether I might now be "overmedicated" with 225MG/day. He said maybe.

He suggested I reduce to 150mg/day, which I started today. My head feels somewhat "tight," and I'm a little more on edge. No brain shivers yet.

I began wondering if the "withdrawal" kicks in when going, say, from 225MG to 150mg--and whether it would need to be tapered off more slowly than a 75 MG jump.

Thanks for your help.

Posted by Noboby on August 17, 2007 11:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hi everyone,

I'm a 25yo woman and I've been on Effexor XR 150mg for six months because of lifelong severe anxiety and obsessive-compulsive thought patterns. I can't even begin to say enough good things about this drug. After 25 years of almost constant panic and agitation, Effexor has given me the ability to BREATHE, you know? I can actually approach the world and see it as manageable, instead of as this difficult monster I always had to negotiate and cower from.

But everyone's brain chemistry is different; for some people, obviously, Effexor is the wrong answer. I was just lucky that it's a perfect chemical fit for me.

I have had no problematic side effects. I've had some minor stomach problems that may or may not be related, but they are very manageable. I had some inability to achieve orgasm at first, but that problem has been solved; my husband thinks it was a matter of waiting for my body to get used to the dosage.

Everyone's reactions will be different; I'm just glad that I found a drug that could make such a positive difference in my life without interfering in other ways. Also, it's important to be working with a good therapist for behavioral solutions to anxiety ALONG WITH the drugs!

Posted by Lisa on August 19, 2007 11:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hi everyone,

I'm a 25yo woman and I've been on Effexor XR 150mg for six months because of lifelong severe anxiety and obsessive-compulsive thought patterns. I can't even begin to say enough good things about this drug. After 25 years of almost constant panic and agitation, Effexor has given me the ability to BREATHE, you know? I can actually approach the world and see it as manageable, instead of as this difficult monster I always had to negotiate and cower from.

But everyone's brain chemistry is different; for some people, obviously, Effexor is the wrong answer. I was just lucky that it's a perfect chemical fit for me.

I have had no problematic side effects. I've had some minor stomach problems that may or may not be related, but they are very manageable. I had some inability to achieve orgasm at first, but that problem has been solved; my husband thinks it was a matter of waiting for my body to get used to the dosage.

Everyone's reactions will be different; I'm just glad that I found a drug that could make such a positive difference in my life without interfering in other ways. Also, it's important to be working with a good therapist for behavioral solutions to anxiety ALONG WITH the drugs!

Posted by Lisa on August 19, 2007 11:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

Oh my God, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I just found this site and it does more than explain what happened to me it also is a legal defense. Last year I went on e. for about 6 months. In that time I had brain zaps while I was driving and got thrown in jail twice. I do not drink, but they arrested me for meds. I saw bright lights comming at me. IEverything spun to the left. My right eye exploaded in pain and I passed out and went off the road. I was incohearnt, and they threw me in jail with 21 drunks. When I got out I went to my doctor who took me off efex. all at once. I started going through withdrawels and got another DWI. I was so sick in withdrawals I looked drunk. I have two counties prosicuteing me for DWI, it is tearing my family appart, I am disabled and this is the hardest thing I have ever been through. I now know, thanks to this site that the reason I acted the way I did was because of this drug. I was constipated so bad that I was not having a movement for 10 - 14 days at a time. In fact, until now I thought that somehow that caused me to flip out. I am pissed! no one told me this was such a screwed up drug. I lost 6 months of my life and allmost my entire family. I am really pissed. I am so thankful I found this site.

Posted by rick on August 19, 2007 11:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

Oh my God, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I just found this site and it does more than explain what happened to me it also is a legal defense. Last year I went on e. for about 6 months. In that time I had brain zaps while I was driving and got thrown in jail twice. I do not drink, but they arrested me for meds. I saw bright lights comming at me. IEverything spun to the left. My right eye exploaded in pain and I passed out and went off the road. I was incohearnt, and they threw me in jail with 21 drunks. When I got out I went to my doctor who took me off efex. all at once. I started going through withdrawels and got another DWI. I was so sick in withdrawals I looked drunk. I have two counties prosicuteing me for DWI, it is tearing my family appart, I am disabled and this is the hardest thing I have ever been through. I now know, thanks to this site that the reason I acted the way I did was because of this drug. I was constipated so bad that I was not having a movement for 10 - 14 days at a time. In fact, until now I thought that somehow that caused me to flip out. I am pissed! no one told me this was such a screwed up drug. I lost 6 months of my life and allmost my entire family. I am really pissed. I am so thankful I found this site.

Posted by rick on August 19, 2007 12:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

hello. i originally posted on july 9 and this is a follow-up of sorts. after having enough of the effexor side-effects i decided to switch to another brand, welbutrin at 150mg a day. i've been on it for less than a week and cannot tell if it's working due to f'ing effexor withdrawal. i weened myself down to 75mg every other day, then 35mg every other day. i haven't taken effexor for well over a week now but even at a low dosage it has my mind and body jacked up! it's terrible to think you could get addicted to something "legal". at times i have to laugh about it because what else can you do? i have visions of myself running to the effexor bottle looking for just one more! *sigh* something has to give here because this is ridiulous. if i go to the bathroom one more time i'll lose it. any and everything i eat is going through me. the hot flashes are in full-effect and don't get me started with this "vertigo/brain fuzzies" thing. on a lighter note, hope everyone is doing well.

Posted by angie on August 19, 2007 6:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have read all the comments on this board and have found them to be very informative. Comment 39 by Brian is most closely related to my Effexor experience. I have been on and off Effexor since 1997. I was up to 225 per day and recently tapered off to nothing per Dr. 's intructions. Even after the 2 weeks off I still have some annoying symptoms. My view based on my experience is that the negative side effects of this drug accumulate over time. I think many who use this drug go through a roller coaster trip over the long term. I was on Effexor then off Effexor then on Effexor and this pattern continued for 10 years. The dosage would also increase in this way. I would begin at 37.5 after 2 years be at 75 and need to taper off. After 6 months I would start again and go to 150 and then after 2 years I would again taper off. I did this another two times and then recently I went as high as 225. At this point I was experiencing bouts of depressive sleeping, inability to focus or finish tasks, generalized feelings of disinterest in normally enjoyable activities, hypermanic episodes that took on the symptoms of indiscriminate, spending sprees, and then the decline in the ability to do normal living tasks. This included missing work, avoiding domestic chores, eating and gaining weight,not taking care of my dog, not returning calls, and eventually not answering the phone at all. Finally the comfort of isolation was my last resort and I was doing this on a high dose of 225 the most my MD would prescribe to anyone. At that point I asked him to please get me off the Effexor. He was very agreeable to this. Now with about three weeks of being off the drug I am feeling like I learned something about Effexor and that it simply does not work for me as it once did. My sleep is not yet normal, my activity is way up, I feel happy and engage in fun things I used to do. I have anger/rage fits and suspect Effexor may have given them to me permanently. My libido has returned. I think I need more time to see the withdrawal symptoms as they disappear. Another point I want to make is this. Initially Effexor was prescribed by a Psychiatrist. I would see that MD every 3 months. After a time my primary MD began simply renewing the script. This I think is not a good idea. If you have the insurance to cover it, stick with the Psychiatrist because they are better at asking relevant questions about the drug effects than the general practitioner MD. is. So I will check back in here from time to time. Thanks for sharing your experiences too.

Posted by Bill on August 20, 2007 12:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hi again, I want to ad this to my post 381. Yesterday I discovered this information. I have not taken E. for over a year now. My doctor did not tell me it had any side effects when he put me on it and no warnings when he stopped me cold turky. I got very very ill, I had most of the side effects listed above. I thought my brain was going to expload. I was so sick to my stomach for months that I would spend hours in the bathroom with nothing except intense pain, sweating, cramps, vomiting. I thought I was dieing of cancer about a million times. I WAS SICKER THAN I H AVE EVER BEEN BEFORE FOR WEEKS AT A TIME. I WAS IN WITHDRAWALS AND DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS GOING ON. MY ENTIRE BODY, EVEN MY SOUL HURT LIKE I WAS ON FIRE. MY HEAD HURT ALL THE TIME LIKE IT WAS BEING SQUEEZED IN A VICE. IT NEVER ENTERED MY MIND THAT IT WAS A MEDICINE BECAUSE MY DOCTOR DID NOT TELL ME IT COULD THE eF. I WENT TO HIM FREAKED OUT I WAS DIEING AND HE SENT ME FOR A BRAIN ELECTRO TEST AND A BRAIN CAT SCAN. THE CAT WAS NORMAL, BUT THE ELECTRO TEST SHOWED THAT ONE SIDE OF MY BRAIN WAS WORKING AT A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT SPEED. THEY SAID THIS WAS NOT NORMAL AND DID ANOTHER TEST WHERE THEY SHOT A STREAM OF INTENSE HOT WATER DIRECTLY ON MY EAR DRUM AT A HIGH VOLUME, THEN VERY COLD WATER FOR MINUTES THEN HOT AGAIN. tHIS TEST IS CALLED A BALLANCE TEST AND TRUST ME, DON'T HAVE IT UNLESS THEY TELL YOU YOU WILL DIE WITHOUT IT, IT REALLY HURTS. MY REAL POINT HERE IS AT NO POINT DID I HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON AND WHAT MY BODY WAS CRAVING, EVEN IF IT WAS A CRAVING, I THOUGHT I WAS DIEING OF A WEIRD SICKNESS. IT'S BEEN A YEAR SINCE I TOOK MY LAST EFF, BUT MY BODY, NO NOT BODY, MY MIND HAS CHANGED. YESTERDAY AS I READ THESE POST IT WAS LIKE GETTING HIT IN THE FACE WITH A SHOVEL. I HAVE BEEN MEAN AND UNFAIR TO MY WIFE AND I WAS SURE IT WAS HER. MY MIND SEEMS TO DWEL ON, OR PLAY THE SAME LOOP OVER AND OVER AGAIN. FINDING WEIRD REASONS TO THINK MY WIFE OF 30 YEARS IS OUT TO GET ME. HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO UNAWARE. I AM AFFRAID NOW THAT i KNOW THE TRUTH, IS MY CHANGED FOREVER. WILL I EVER BE ABLE TO TRUST MY THOUGHTS AGAIN. WHAT DID THESE BUTT HEADS DO TO MY BRAIN? WHY DIDN'T MY DOCTOR TELL ME THE RISK. WHY DID HE STOP ME COLD TURKEY? I SEE HIM ONCE A MONTH, HAVE SEEN HIM A DOZEN TIMES SINCE HE TOOK ME OFF OF IT AND HE ALLWAYS ASK ME HOW MY LEGAL PROBLEMS ARE GOING. WITH ALL THIS INFORMATION ABOUT EFF. AND HOW BAD IT IS HE MUST KNOW, WHY DIDN'T HE TELL ME THOUGH. HE HAS BEEN MY DOCTOR FOR 20 YEARS AND I TRUSTED HIM. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO. I WAS A VERY SUCCESFUL, WELL KNOWN SCULPTOR FOR 40 YEARS. NOW I AM A HASBEEN, ON DISABILITY, I HAVE LOST ALLMOST EVERYTHING I EVER HAD TRING TO GET BETTER. I CAN'T EVEN AFFORD RUNNING WATER FOR MY FAMILY.MY WIFE AND SON AND FRIENDS HAVE LOST FAITH IN ME, MY MEMORY, MY ABILITY TO DO THE SIMPELEST THINGS OF LIFE. i FIND IT ALLMOST IMPOSIBLE TO HAVE FUN ANYMORE. aLL OF THE THINGS I USED TO FIND FUN JUST BOTHER ME NOW. MY GOD, I AM NOT ME ANYMORE BECAUSE OF THIS SHIT AND A BAD DOCTOR. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO. I AM NOT RELIGIOUSS, BUT PLEASE PRAY FOR ME. THIS IS LIKE THE TWILIGHT ZONE AND I KEEP WANTING TO WAKE UP. PLEASE SOMEONE TELL ME SOMEDAY I WILL RETURN TO GOOD OLD ME. PLEASE TELL ME WHERE DO I GO FOR HELP. IS THERE ANY HELP. AM I JUST A FRAGMENTED PIECE OF ME FOREVER. WILL I EVER BE ME AGAIN???

Posted by rick on August 20, 2007 7:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hi again, I want to ad this to my post 381. Yesterday I discovered this information. I have not taken E. for over a year now. My doctor did not tell me it had any side effects when he put me on it and no warnings when he stopped me cold turky. I got very very ill, I had most of the side effects listed above. I thought my brain was going to expload. I was so sick to my stomach for months that I would spend hours in the bathroom with nothing except intense pain, sweating, cramps, vomiting. I thought I was dieing of cancer about a million times. I WAS SICKER THAN I H AVE EVER BEEN BEFORE FOR WEEKS AT A TIME. I WAS IN WITHDRAWALS AND DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS GOING ON. MY ENTIRE BODY, EVEN MY SOUL HURT LIKE I WAS ON FIRE. MY HEAD HURT ALL THE TIME LIKE IT WAS BEING SQUEEZED IN A VICE. IT NEVER ENTERED MY MIND THAT IT WAS A MEDICINE BECAUSE MY DOCTOR DID NOT TELL ME IT COULD THE eF. I WENT TO HIM FREAKED OUT I WAS DIEING AND HE SENT ME FOR A BRAIN ELECTRO TEST AND A BRAIN CAT SCAN. THE CAT WAS NORMAL, BUT THE ELECTRO TEST SHOWED THAT ONE SIDE OF MY BRAIN WAS WORKING AT A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT SPEED. THEY SAID THIS WAS NOT NORMAL AND DID ANOTHER TEST WHERE THEY SHOT A STREAM OF INTENSE HOT WATER DIRECTLY ON MY EAR DRUM AT A HIGH VOLUME, THEN VERY COLD WATER FOR MINUTES THEN HOT AGAIN. tHIS TEST IS CALLED A BALLANCE TEST AND TRUST ME, DON'T HAVE IT UNLESS THEY TELL YOU YOU WILL DIE WITHOUT IT, IT REALLY HURTS. MY REAL POINT HERE IS AT NO POINT DID I HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON AND WHAT MY BODY WAS CRAVING, EVEN IF IT WAS A CRAVING, I THOUGHT I WAS DIEING OF A WEIRD SICKNESS. IT'S BEEN A YEAR SINCE I TOOK MY LAST EFF, BUT MY BODY, NO NOT BODY, MY MIND HAS CHANGED. YESTERDAY AS I READ THESE POST IT WAS LIKE GETTING HIT IN THE FACE WITH A SHOVEL. I HAVE BEEN MEAN AND UNFAIR TO MY WIFE AND I WAS SURE IT WAS HER. MY MIND SEEMS TO DWEL ON, OR PLAY THE SAME LOOP OVER AND OVER AGAIN. FINDING WEIRD REASONS TO THINK MY WIFE OF 30 YEARS IS OUT TO GET ME. HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO UNAWARE. I AM AFFRAID NOW THAT i KNOW THE TRUTH, IS MY CHANGED FOREVER. WILL I EVER BE ABLE TO TRUST MY THOUGHTS AGAIN. WHAT DID THESE BUTT HEADS DO TO MY BRAIN? WHY DIDN'T MY DOCTOR TELL ME THE RISK. WHY DID HE STOP ME COLD TURKEY? I SEE HIM ONCE A MONTH, HAVE SEEN HIM A DOZEN TIMES SINCE HE TOOK ME OFF OF IT AND HE ALLWAYS ASK ME HOW MY LEGAL PROBLEMS ARE GOING. WITH ALL THIS INFORMATION ABOUT EFF. AND HOW BAD IT IS HE MUST KNOW, WHY DIDN'T HE TELL ME THOUGH. HE HAS BEEN MY DOCTOR FOR 20 YEARS AND I TRUSTED HIM. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO. I WAS A VERY SUCCESFUL, WELL KNOWN SCULPTOR FOR 40 YEARS. NOW I AM A HASBEEN, ON DISABILITY, I HAVE LOST ALLMOST EVERYTHING I EVER HAD TRING TO GET BETTER. I CAN'T EVEN AFFORD RUNNING WATER FOR MY FAMILY.MY WIFE AND SON AND FRIENDS HAVE LOST FAITH IN ME, MY MEMORY, MY ABILITY TO DO THE SIMPELEST THINGS OF LIFE. i FIND IT ALLMOST IMPOSIBLE TO HAVE FUN ANYMORE. aLL OF THE THINGS I USED TO FIND FUN JUST BOTHER ME NOW. MY GOD, I AM NOT ME ANYMORE BECAUSE OF THIS SHIT AND A BAD DOCTOR. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO. I AM NOT RELIGIOUSS, BUT PLEASE PRAY FOR ME. THIS IS LIKE THE TWILIGHT ZONE AND I KEEP WANTING TO WAKE UP. PLEASE SOMEONE TELL ME SOMEDAY I WILL RETURN TO GOOD OLD ME. PLEASE TELL ME WHERE DO I GO FOR HELP. IS THERE ANY HELP. AM I JUST A FRAGMENTED PIECE OF ME FOREVER. WILL I EVER BE ME AGAIN???

Posted by rick on August 20, 2007 8:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

As a follow up to my post 377, I realized by about 1:00 p.m. last Friday that cutting back from 225mg to 150mg was not going to work. I started getting brain zaps, and feeling fuzzier, so I took the additional cap. By the end of the day, I was feeling pretty much back to the the way I was that time the day before--while not on task, at least not in withdrawal. I'll be contacting my Dr. to see what he suggests, and let you know. It looks like cutting back is not going to be very easy for me.

Posted by Nobody on August 20, 2007 8:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

As a follow up to my post 377, I realized by about 1:00 p.m. last Friday that cutting back from 225mg to 150mg was not going to work. I started getting brain zaps, and feeling fuzzier, so I took the additional cap. By the end of the day, I was feeling pretty much back to the the way I was that time the day before--while not on task, at least not in withdrawal. I'll be contacting my Dr. to see what he suggests, and let you know. It looks like cutting back is not going to be very easy for me.

Posted by Nobody on August 20, 2007 8:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

As a follow up to my post 377, I realized by about 1:00 p.m. last Friday that cutting back from 225mg to 150mg was not going to work. I started getting brain zaps, and feeling fuzzier, so I took the additional cap. By the end of the day, I was feeling pretty much back to the the way I was that time the day before--while not on task, at least not in withdrawal. I'll be contacting my Dr. to see what he suggests, and let you know. It looks like cutting back is not going to be very easy for me.

Posted by Nobody on August 20, 2007 8:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

I am 18 years old a & have been on Effexor xr for about 31/2 yrs. I just recently took myself off of them about 3 months ago. the withdraw from the Effexor and the other medications made me feel like garbage. I feel now though and I like to function on my own without artificial interference. Many people, I feel, are wrongly prescribed by certified professionals, which makes me wary when I am seen by a new doctor.

Posted by Chris Thompson on August 21, 2007 10:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

Dear Bill at Post 383:

What was the "plan" where you tapered off from 225mg?

That is exactly where I am, and what I hope I can do.

I began by moving from 225mg to 150mg--last Friday, per my psychiatrist orders--and the brain zaps started by 1pm, and I was feeling crummy. So, I immediately bumped it back up to 225 before 2 pm.

I also suffer from a number of things you mention:

"At this point I was experiencing bouts ...... inability to focus or finish tasks, ....... and then the decline in the ability to do normal living tasks. This included missing work, ......................... not returning calls, and eventually not answering the phone at all"

Was your depression tied to many negative factors in your environment?

What is your prognosis now that you are off Effexor? Are you taking anything instead?

What, in general is your diet?

Do you consume alcohol?

Are you in good physical shape?

Thanks for your help.

Sincerely,

Nobody

Posted by Nobody on August 22, 2007 4:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

Dear Rick at 385:

You are in my thoughts, and I am visualizing you as getting better. I feel for you and your situation, and wish you the best, and hope things improve. Hang in there. Please try to find a professional to help you. God bless you.

Sincerely,

Nobody

Posted by Nobody on August 22, 2007 4:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

Nobody 390

225 to 150 for two weeks. 150 to 75 for two weeks. 75 to 37.5 for one week. 37.5 for one week.

It is not likely that you will step down from Effexor without experiencing some discomfort.

The other questions are not something I wish to disclose.

Posted by Bill on August 23, 2007 1:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

Thank you everyone - I am so greatful for having read many of your issues and comments. My physician suggested trying Effexor for menopausal symptoms - night sweats, migrains, vertigo, sleep disturbances. Doctor said it was much safer than HRT. After having read many postings I'm convinced she has no idea about what she's prescribing. I don't have depression and the side effects may be worth the price for the severly depressed but I don't think prescribing meds like this for me is even ethical!

Posted by Lynda on August 23, 2007 6:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

I took effexor xr one year ago and was on it for about 11 months. I remember at first the side effects included sweats and nausea to begin with. The highest dose I was ever on was 150 mg and I can say this drug did wonders for my anxiety and depression. The only thing I didn't like and made me wean off of it was the weight gain. i am in my 20's and have been thin all my life until I took this med. I gained about 25 pounds and that was with working out consistently so I decided to go off it. Ive been off for about a year but am experiencing a lot of anxity again and am thinking of going back on effexor since it helped so much - except for the weight gain. Ive lost weight since I've stopped taking it but not the same as I weighed originally. i guess i have to decide if i'd rather have my peace of mind or be thinner. i do remember the withdrawal symptons and those awful brain shivers/electric zaps and feeling like i was in slow motion and very nauseaus - bad nightmares. Although i did have relief from my anxiety i remember thinking if i ever had symptoms in the future i woudlnt think twice about going back on effexor xr as the positives outweighed the side effects in the end. now its just a matter of going to the dr for a prescription which i don't want to do...sigh since i will probobly ball my eyes out when doing so! ugghhh....

Posted by cher on August 24, 2007 6:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

For anyone considering tapering (which should only be done with the blessing of your physician), check out the following forum: http://hopenhealing.proboards105.com/index.cgi?

On this site, you can find a much more gradual and controlled plan than any I've seen, and I am going to present it to my psychiatrist for his approval and to, hopefully, see if it works.

Going from 225mg to 150mg did NOT work for me, per my earlier posts.

Bill, thanks for your response. In retrospect, I realize that I was insensitive in asking all of the other questions. Part of it was being a bit overly excited about someone who has successfully made the transition, and trying to determine if I have things going on that might inhibit the transition, or make the transition easier. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Nobody

Posted by Nobody on August 26, 2007 11:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor XR 150 mg for 4 months now, I am wondering...has anyone experienced brain tingling(zaps) while taking this med or just during withdrawl? I love the medication as far as how it makes me feel, however, Im not liking the 14 pouinds and the tingling on my brain! I originally started taking this drug for anxiety and panic attacks. My mother passed away last year and I was turned into a hot mess, I have tried everything out there and this is awesome! But....I dont want to feel terrible about the weight either! I appreciate having these posts to read from everyone.

Posted by Amie on August 26, 2007 2:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

Amie, yes, I get them occasionally even though I'm taking my dosage at the same exact time each day. They are very mild and short, and are not repetitive. I still get them, just the same.

It seems like they are most likely to occur if I stand up and then move quickly.

Posted by Noboby on August 27, 2007 7:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

Wow, I had no idea that what i was experiencing was so common. I was on effexor for the last 5 years. 150 mg q day. At first it was great. Handled my anxiety and depression and felt like me again. Well somewhere in the last 2 I have found myself 30 pounds heavier and nasty mood swings. If I missed a morning med I would become a different person. Easily enraged and found fault with everyone and everything and didn't want solutions, I wanted to punish. I became abusive and someone I couldn't stand. I am one week without Effexor. My head rings and pounds but would rather deal with that than the mood swings. My DR suggested just upping the dose. After reading comments here no way. He cut my dosage in half for a week and now going with out but adding Lexapro. I am skeptical but so far doing better. It's a marathan not a sprint and the long haul will hopefully continue better. Best wishes in all your battles.

Posted by Mark on August 27, 2007 1:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

i have been on the lowest dose for about a month now, all i have experianced is yawning and minor headaches.

Posted by lianne on August 27, 2007 1:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

Well, I have taken Effexor for about 1.5 years and it sure helped the depression I had. I had ramped it up to 150 mg twice a day. I had some of the side effects like flashes, great dreams (my wife said I was laughing out loud at times!), dry mouth, etc. but nothing really serious though the flashes or zaps were nasty, if not scary. Whenever I got them I ran for the pills.

Once I felt comfortable that the depression was gone, I have been weaning myself off Effexor. It has been about 3 months now since I started discontinuing the medication. I decreased from the 300 mg/day to 75 mg/day without much problems. But trying to get off the last 75 mg/day proved to be more difficult. I had first reduced the frequency from taking 1 per day to taking 1 every 2 or 3 days for 2 to 3 weeks, then 1 every 3 or 4 days for another 3 weeks. Then I stopped altogether. Sure enough, the flashes and zaps came back! As luck would have it, I was out of town and hadn't taken Effexor with me. It was so bad that I had to go to an out-of-town pharmacy and get the prescription remotely refilled. That was about 8 weeks ago. I am still on Effexor now but what I do is open up the capsule and dump out more and more of the little pills, close the capsule and take it. By now I am probably down to 10 mgs every 4 or 5 days. At the rate I am going, it will probably take another 2 to 3 months before I can stop taking it altogehter without the zaps. But as long as the depression stays away, I don't mind, it's just an inconvenience. I don't think my septic system minds either. My depression appears to be gone (how do you really know for sure). However, those great dreams I had with the Effexor are gone, too. I surely enjoyed them! Well, you can't have everything. I know it can be tough to get off the Effexor but taken the long and slow road works for me. Good luck to everybody else out there!

Posted by Rick on August 27, 2007 10:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

Questions on quiting Effexor...it's ONLY been 1 dAY BUT i'm at a loss for words on how even to discribe what I am feeling. I see thru reading some of the post on here you are the ONLY people that can understand what I am feeling!

I can't stop crying, i'm an emotional wreck!!! I'm embarrased to tell my boyfriend or mom how I feel right now but I REALLY think I could be loosing my mind!

I feel paranoid, scared, confused, mad.. no actually irrate. My head is "wushing/buzzing" and when I stand up I am so dizzy i run into things. I keep thinking just go get your prescription and take them but "NO" I want this shit out of my sytem..I WISH I never started taking it!!

Any thoughts on quiting cold turkey..it's a 3 day weekend so now is the best time for me to stick it out. Will I be able to make it or would the best solution be having my doct slowly reduce my dose? I heard that can take years and you still have the side effects?

Posted by Trish on September 1, 2007 7:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

Effexor what can I say that hasn't been said....I don't know but for the last 15 years of my life I have taken this medication. And to fidn out that this is making me feel worse. I wasted 15 years of the doctor telling me that it was not the pills making me worse, and I kept saying it is. I feel like screaming !!!! I was on 425mg and I have been weaning myself down off this junk and I am at 37.5mg and it has been HELL for me and my family. The withdrawls from this medication is 100 times worse than what they put you on it for in the first place. I don't understand why this drug is allowed....I get the brain zaps. fuzzys whatever you call them and they make you sick to your stomach.....dizziness is unreal.......do not drive a vechile feeling this way....I went to the bank the other day and I swear the people thought I was drunk in there, I stumbled and back up and hit the wall, I couldn't focus, it was sickening...........this is the worse of all worse medications I have ever been on and since I have been weaning off them, my life feels like.....I am FREE....but it's a battle to get off these things..........if the doctor has put you on effexor lately....STOP and get him to prescribe something else...........even better, start exercising......best antidepressant out there and it works!!! DON"T TAKE THIS STUFF......you think you are depressed now....just wait

Posted by Kathy on September 4, 2007 11:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

Effexor XR made me completely apathetic about life. I wasted 5 years doing nothing, caring about noone, and ruining a relationship. The first few months coming off of the drug (December '06 - July '07) were emotional Hell, and prayer and trusting in God is the only thing that got me through. In retrospect, I should have just dealt with my issues rationally and made better decisions that did not conflict with my morals (which caused most of the itnernal strife). A lot of the peace we can't find can be regained by just doing the right thing. Guilt does a lot of damage. "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalms 147:3

Posted by texasjulie on September 7, 2007 7:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

I went and saw a shrink today. I am currently taking .25 Xanax for anxiety, and I feel whole lot better. (My PCP prescribed the Xanax.) So I tell the shrink that I am on Xanax and seems to be working just fine. He then pushes Effexor on me, and I sort of refused it, I recently went through a week of hell with Lexapro side effects. I told him that I did not want to go through that again, I missed a whole week of work because of the Lexapro side Effects. I told him I want to take a different approach on trying to get through my anxiety (i.e. Therapy, me getting more exercise ect...) He then told me that I need to establish myself with a proper medication first. I took the sample and went back to work. I remembered that I did take Effexor a few years back and I went through some of the side effects mentioned here. I cannot afford going through that again, I am a delivery driver and I cant put myself in that position where in going to be getting dizzy and nauseous. I came home and searched for side effects on this drug and after reading other people's horror stories with this drug, I flushed the pills down the toilet. I will try to go about another way on dealing with my anxiety. I feel as if that Doc was just pushing those pills on me.

Posted by Edward on September 11, 2007 3:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

In an earlier post, someone suggested 2X+ doses of gingko biloba in dealing with the decreased libido that many experience from Effexor.
I am finding that these increased doses of gingko biloba (about 6 of them per day, instead of 3) provides a noticable and pleasant improvement.

Apathy towards work remains an issue for me.

I'm still strongly considering tapering off ever so slowly from my 225mg dosage to see if this reduces my apathy.

Posted by Noboby on September 12, 2007 3:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

Brain zaps. Has anyone experience strange sounds during the zaps? If it is quiet, I don't experience this, but if there is any background noise, it is almost like an instant echo during the zaps. REALLY strange, and no, I'm not hearing voices. Anyway,out of fear of what this drug might be doing to my brain long term, I started weening about 2 months ago, taking as little as possible, just enough to keep the nausea down, but have been 'zapping' every day, whenever I stand up, walk, or move my head. I suspect it might be related to a change in blood pressure within the brain, but I don't know, and the fine folks at Wyeth Pharm. seem to want to downplay everything that is wrong with this drug. Its been almost 2 weeks since I last took some. (For weeks, I was just taking about 8 little granules out of an opened capsule each day). The zaps are still here, with no sign of letting down. And another nasty side effect, delayed ejaculation, can be measured in hours, or even days. I do think that effect is starting to subside, but I'm not sure.
To summarize, the drug is very effective at curing depression, but I believe the chance of side effects is far greater than Wyeth lets on.

Posted by NoMorEffexor on September 12, 2007 5:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

tried for a week...very nauseated.. stopping..ick

Posted by spit on September 17, 2007 5:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hi, I thought I'd tell my story to help out others, because I found reading these posts helped me.

I was on Effexor for 2 years. I was on 150mg for about a year, then we went down to 75mg for the rest of the time I was on it. The only side effects when I first went on the pills that I can remember is the weight gain.

Recently, I've decided that I don't want to be medicated anymore and that I was happy enough in my life to be off them. So first, I tried taking myself off the pills cold turkey. BAD IDEA. I was instantly sick, throwing up, nausea, super dizzy. I hated it so much that I had to take my pill. So I went to the doctor and he gave me the 37.5mg pills for two weeks.

After my last dose of the 37.5mg, that is when the hell began. I was NEVER warned about the side effects of coming off. I think everyone should be warned before taking them. It was the worst week of my life. The first 4 days are the ultimate worst. Instantly, it feels like you have the flu....nausea all day, sweating, hot flashes, zero appetite, constant dizzyness. Then the brain zaps....before i went off, i read this website and i was like hmm weird, what the hell are brain zaps. but trust me, u'll know when u start getting them. If you search "Brain zaps" on wikipedia, it'll come up. Other than those symptoms, one of the worst was the insane emotional roller coaster. I kept crying for no reason, crying at the news, etc.

Anyways, it IS bad, no one can understand it other than the people who have gone through it. Many times I just wanted to take a pill, but I didn't. Just fight through it. The worst is only the first few days, you should feel a bit back to normal after a week. Hope this helps! :)

(P.S. I wrote this about a month after being off the pills and I feel absolutely amazing now, happy to be off meds!)

Posted by ~M~ on September 19, 2007 1:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

I am add and my dr had me on effexor xr 150mg. It was the worst experience I ever had.It mad my focus and concentration alot worse made me lethargic to the extreme.and when I got off It finally after 2 months I had brain zaps and body zaps for about as long as I was on the med.I even had the zaps when my Dr. put me on busbar. now I am off that. Finally I have found a therepist and He put me on ritalin I feel better.I am only on 5 mg. 2x a day I feel effexor is one of the worst drugs as far as side effects.I am so glad to be done. I was afraid of having a seisure with all the zaps.

Posted by kim on September 25, 2007 4:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

I started taking the medication 4 months ago.

I was extremely skeptical to take ANY antidepressant when I was diagnosed with slight depression/anxiety. Before taking effexor I researched sites like this one to find actual patient reviews of the medicine. After reading the many horrifying patient reviews I scared myself to death enough to make myself physically sick with the first dose. With encouragement I continued to take the effexor and experienced few side effects including increased headaches, jaw tension, and very slight appetite decrease. Overall, however this drug has changed my life for the better. I am able to stay focused in school and have much more (mental) energy to take on challenging aspects of life.

I recommend at least trying this drug. According to my doctor the side effects will differ from person to person and the only people writing on these sites are the ones who have been negatively affected. Good luck with your decision and please know for as many people who dislike effexor xr, there are 5 more people who it has helped enough they don't even think of needing to write a review on it.

Also, I have not gone off effexor yet and have no idea about the side-effects there. I have, however forgotten to take doses and have not had a problem at all.

Posted by Anonymous on September 25, 2007 9:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

Sydney, NSW Australia

I was not going to write anything, but in reading post# 414, I thought I should contribute. My story is long and detailed- this is the short version.

Before I started taking effexor xr, I was an absolute mess. I didn't know I was a mess. I didn't even know there was medication for anxiety. I had spiralled into a state of permanent anxiety, and I would have 3 or 4 panick attacks every day. I had 'lost myself'. I didn't know what I thought of things, I was confused and had no opinons. I had 2 children under the age of 4. My children weren't aware of my illness as I hid it very well. I was an over achiever in everything I did, whether it was packing a picnic or having friends over for dinner. I put alot of pressure on myself with everything I did. I missed my sons 1st birthday/bapitsm because I made my self sick over it- it had to be perfect. I wasn't going to let anxiety stop me from walking in that church so I made myself get in the car, vomitting all the way. I didn't go inside though as I could not stop vomitting. My sister stepped in for me, I went home, the locum came and gave me a nausea injection. I didn't know but later found out, it had a sedative in it. So slept through my sons special day. I told myself and everyone I had a stomach bug, but deep down I knew.

On saturday July 7 2006, I was at the park with my children, and went in to a panic attack, thinking about preparing for my daughters birthday party the following saturday- it had to be perfect. We went home and I just burst into tears. This was something new as I had never cried or felt depressed with anxiety/panicks. I was not a depressive personality. I was actually a high energy and positive person. I knew this was now serious and I called a few people to come and help (which I'd never done before because i was SUPERMUM! I didn't need help.) I was in a permanent panick attack from the saturday until monday morning when I went and saw my doctor. That's when I started effexor. She worked me from 75-300mg over about 6 weeks. I also went from Ativan to Xanax, to take when I was in a panic and to take at night to sleep. It was the worst 6 weeks of my life (keep reading though because it changed my life). I had ALL the side effects (they only last for 6 weeks):

nausea/vomitting
blurred vision
severe paranoia
increased anxiety
decreased appetite
blood pressure drops
SUICIDAL THOUGHTS of myself only
severe depression to a point that I couldn't speak
emotional numbness

The Xanax was fantastic. I only took 1/4 at night to sleep. I was so paranoid I would get addicted to it, but my doctor told me that if I get addicted, she will get me unaddicted. She also said the paranoia alone of getting addicted to a medication would be enough for me not to get addicted to it anyway.

My mother had travelled from brisbane on the tuesday to come and look after me. No one can go through all of that without a baby sitter with you 24hours/day. I had alot of resent towards her for the way we were raised. I couldn't stand her and the way she made me feel about myself, but I had her there for the sake of the kids. She dropped her whole life for me. She put her husband and job on pause to come and help (and they financially struggle- it's not like they could afford it). I was able to find a newfound love and respect for her.


Even with all these side effects, my doctor told me to perservere. I told her several times that I didn't want to continue with the drug as I was a complete depressed mess. I was a shell. I felt like my spirit had been ripped out of me. If no one was around I have no doubt I would have thrown myself over my balcony. My doctor told me, and I think this important, that IT WAS NOT THE DRUG MAKING ME DEPRESSED AND SUICIDAL, IT WAS THE DRUG STRIPPING BACK THE ANXIETY AND UNMASKING THE DEPRESSION. She told me I would get better, that I was to used to being in control of everything, and to just go with it, to TRUST MYSELF and trust the medication. She had such confidence in her abilites as a GP (she was much more useful than the psyhciatrist I saw 2 times and bored the crap out of me), but she also knew the medication would work WITH TIME. My doctor had had a similar patient not long before, in the exact situation as me (mother of 2 young children) and the same mental state, whom she had helped.

After about 8 weeks, I made an appointment to see my doctor because I was feeling too good! I felt bloody fantastic!! I just felt really good about myself. I felt like I did when I was a kid and everything was great. My doctor asked me alot of assessment questions and at the end she said, 'Megan...this is what it feels like to be normal. You have spent such a large part of life feeling bad, you've forgotten what normal feels like'.

I now have no more hang ups about family crap. I don't live with guilt everyday. I have no depression and no anxiety. I still have good days and bad days like normal people, but I am in control of my thoughts. If I am on a train of thought that I don't want to continue, I just think of something else.

A COMMON SIGN OF DEPRESSION/ANXIETY/ILLNESS, IS WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF DWELLING ON THINGS/CRAP, AND YOU CAN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT IT- EVEN IF YOU WANT TO.

I recomend effexor to everyone. It truly changed my life. I am Megan again, and I love who I am. I love me. I am OK the way I am. Everything doesn't have to be perfect. I even test myself sometimes by doing things half heartedly like, invite my dad and his wife over for lunch and just make sandwiches instead of something great. It's quite funny actually. Life is great (and we financially struggle to- so it's not like we had loads of money to get through this). I don't take myself so seriuosly anymore, and I woke up one morning and, just by magic, the stick up my arse was gone!! I'm sure there must be a 'stickup the arse dislodgement fairy'. I have learnt to let my house get messy. I even leave my dirty dishes and lay on the couch and watch TV all night- I couldn't have done that before. I would have felt too guilty. I used too do the dishes and feel guilty about not studying. I would study and feel guilty about not working. I would work and feel guilty about... and so on.

If you can get through the first 6 weeks, you'll be happy you did. I ended up giving up on eating because it used to make me sick. I stumbled upon MEGA CHOC SUSTEGEN, and I lived on that until I was better, or until I got my appetite back. It has to be the MEGA CHOC one in the poppers. Woolworths doesn't sell it but Coles and IGA do. When I started drinking that, it was an instant improvement and that's when I really started to pick up.

I did put on weight. I went from 50kg to 68kg, but..WHO CARES! Seriously, I'd rather be fat anyday than be burdoned and screwed up again. I don't believe it's the drug that puts on the weight. I eat more than I used to! I used to eat like a rabbit. I'm healthier and I look healthier. I have embraced my fuller body and I actually have boobs now! I look like a woman. And I really don't care what anyone thinks of me.

I don't worry about coming off it. I really don't care if I have to spend the reast of my life on it. If I live my life happy and my children remember me as a content, loving, happy mother, then it doesn't really matter. I have friends and relatives that raise their eyebrows at me and my meds, but that's their problem. SOme people to meds for diabetes, heart problems etc, I take mine for a brain illness. I'm quite open about talking about my medication, and I have helped quite a few people feel comfortable with going on to some form of anti-depressant, and it's changed their lives. There is a stigma attached to it, but by being open and 'owning' your illness, and embracing it and talking about it, that stigma in society will be reduced. The stigma belongs to the people who have a stick up there arse about everything anyway- not just anti-depressants.

So go forth and be brave. Make sure you have a baby sitter. Don't plan anything while you're first starting. Don't go on holidays or to any big events. YOU COME FIRST!

I hope I helped someone. Feel free to email me if you need a chat. xx

tickledpink@aapt.net.au

Posted by Megan Lumley on September 26, 2007 8:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hi, I just wanted to be of some help, if I can, to others who are trying to get off Effexor XR. I'm 49. I was prescribed a 75mg doze about 6-7 years ago to help with hot flashes and mild anxiety after a breast cancer treatment.

I am pretty sure it helped at the time, though it took awhile to get used to it. I'd never taken antidepressants before. After a year or so, I scaled the doze down to 37.5, and maintained it as the "cruising altitude." I did gain 30 lbs, had profuse sweating every day regardless of weather, very dry mouth, and extremely vivid, life-like dreams.

I had the usual problems with missing a doze: I found I couldn't EVER do it. I always made sure I had some in my car, my purse, or stashed away in case I ran out. I was on a very, very short leash.

I decided to get off of it. The only way I could was to empty out the 37.5 mg caps and use a razor to cut the doze in half. I just eye-balled it. I did this for about a week. Then I cut it in fourths, for a few days. Then I said good-bye. This was exactly 10 days ago.

The first 3 days were VERY tough. Brain zaps, lethargy, body aches, and dizziness on top of the list. Very tired. Quite similar, in fact, to being on chemo.

It's a little better now, but I'm unpleasantly surprised to still be experiencing withdrawal symptoms. I was hoping for a speedier transition, in the range of 4-5 days. Ha!

My doc advised me to "watch my mental state" for the next 3 months. That's a lot longer than I would have thought! This morning I found myself battling anxiety, but I am dealing with some serious life issues, so it's not completely unwarranted.

No matter what, I'm absolutely RESOLUTE to get off Effexor for good. I'll report back in a few weeks to let my fellow "cold turkeys" know how it went. Good luck, everybody. It can be done.

Posted by been there on October 1, 2007 8:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

Beenthere,

Your doctor has told you to watch out for the next three months, because withdrawal from this drug is NOT about getting the drug out of the system; it is about the body trying to adapt back to a functioning state without the drug, since at the moment everything only makes physiological sense with xmg of Effexor in the system. Many changes have occurred, including structural ones, and so a gentle withdrawal taper aims to allow a less stressful transition and more time for adaptation. The three-month point, post-drug, is anecdotally associated with another surge of withdrawal symptoms (think of them as waves, waxing and waning...) and it is at this juncture that many will seek help, and be remedicated.

The checklist of withdrawal symptoms may be found by googling: glenmullen antidepressant solution (take the top result); then clicking on the Appendix 1 - Daily Checklist of Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms - link.

:)

Posted by Someone on October 2, 2007 3:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been taking effexor xr now for the past year and a half. I have a very stressful job and life was getting hard to deal with. I was literally getting scared to do anything. I was having terrible anxiety and my face would turn real red and I hated talking in front of a crowd. The medicine has helped alot. I started at 37.5 then 75, not 150. I have lost some motivation at work and I am going to try and stop taking it. I hope like hell I dont have all the symptoms everyone else has had. Someone please let me know if I am making the right decision. I am only 27 and dont want to have to take this the rest of my life.

Posted by Justin on October 5, 2007 6:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

Dear Someone,

God bless you, kind sir. I'm 16 days out, and out of my wits. Fatigue is overwhelming, and my attitude sucks. And that's from someone who made positive thinking her religion! I'm going to read the book you recommend from cover to cover. Are you a mental health professional? You sound like you know what you are talking about. Thank you again for posting. I'll keep checking for more of your posts...

Posted by Anonymous on October 7, 2007 7:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

The comment # 420 was made by been there, not Anonymous.

Posted by been there on October 7, 2007 9:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

I take 300mg of effexor per day and have done for nearly 1.5 years. There's nothing wrong with taking medication for the rest of your life. Diabetics do. People with heart problems, cholestorol, blood pressure, HIV etc.
(previous post#414)

Posted by Megan Lumley on October 10, 2007 9:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

I've just spent an hour reading these posts and so far haven't found reference to the venlafaxine side effect that is driving me crazy.

I have been on generic venlafaxine 150 mg. for a few weeks. Maybe my dose is too high. As with many here, my doctor prescribed it with very little fanfare - after just a minute or two of my telling him I had begun to feel listless with Prozac, which I took for 15 years!

The good news: weaning off prozac was simple with the simultaneous introduction of effexor.

The weird symptom: Strange smells. I can't smell anything normally! I constantly smell a strange, sickly sweet, chemical-like odor. It took me a long time to realize it wasn't "real." (It's an olafactory hallucination, called phantosmia, according to the internet.)

PLEASE, if anyone has experienced this, let me know. It's just horrible.

I am definitely weaning myself off this stuff. But the smells came with the big dosage, not with any withdrawel.

I am a 51 year old woman with a wonderful life, just a lifelong depression that was magically treated with prozac for many years.

SMELLS, anyone?

Thank you.

Posted by Rebecca on October 14, 2007 2:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

Rebecca,

If you have a read of some of the professional effexor/venlafaxine drug information sheets (e.g. at drugs.com), you will find reference to the following under the adverse effects related to 'Special Senses': Infrequent - parosmia.

Would this term also cover the effect you are experiencing? Google: venlafaxine parosmia; to get quickly to these effexor drug info sheets.

Posted by Someone on October 14, 2007 4:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

Thank you, Someone!

I've been googling and googling, and never found a connection! But I don't have the long list that comes with the drug...I'll check out Drugs.com to read it now.

Just looking for confirmation, so I don't have to start googling "brain tumor" and all the other things my mind comes up with.

Thanks again.

Posted by Rebecca on October 14, 2007 5:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

Oops. Parosmia. Not phantosmia. You've cleared it up for me! I thought I had phantosmia - a phantom smell when no odor is present. What I actually experience is parosmia - I smell a funky odor whenever I am near any odor at all. Roses smell like chemicals. Bread smells like chemicals. My computer smells like chemicals. (You get the picture.)

For days after beginning venlafaxine, I kept asking my family, "Do you smell something weird?" Finally I realized it was in my brain.

I know these drugs can work. But I hate hate hate this side effect. No way can I wait 6 weeks for it to dissipate.

I just took a 20 mg. cap of fluoxetine (prozac) I still had. I'm hoping that will help. I've only been taking the venlafaxine for a month, so I'm gonna risk going off rather quickly. 150 mg. last week. 75 mg. for a couple of days. Now 37.5 for awhile, plus the prozac (I'll only take the one 20 mg. cap for now.)

It happens that I am layed up after foot surgery, so can't even get to the doctor tomorrow. He won't call me back if I call. That I know already.

Parosmia. I'm not insane. Thanks once more!

Posted by Rebecca on October 14, 2007 5:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

I just found this. Don't remember who the writer is, but I'm going to try it this way, since I have a bottle of prozac 20 mg. in my cupboard and prozac NEVER hurt me (in 15 years!) like Effexor has.

EFFEXOR WITHDRAWAL

"For three days I took 37.5 Effexor and 20 MG Prozac, then 20 mg Prozac for 30 days,then
10 mg each day for a week, 10 mg every other day for a week, then 10 mg every three days for a week, then once a week for two weeks and I had no problem getting off Effexor or Prozac. I do have a few brain zaps and i take some antihistime and it stops it. you should try this if you really want to get off of Effexor. The Prozac helps alot ..."

Posted by Rebecca on October 15, 2007 2:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

I know this board isn't really active, but it's worth the wait. Just knowing there are so many people out there working through this same situation makes me feel so much less alone. I thank this board for that.

Sometimes boards that have been around so long get slow, even peter out. I hope this one doesn't do that. Every day there are more people like me desperately seeking help.

It's a shame that Dr.s are still precribing Effexor with just the drug rep's recommendations and free pens.

It must work for lots of people. We're the unlucky ones this time, I guess.

Sorry so chatty. I'm home alone and trying to stay sane and busy with my foot up on cushions post surgery. Maybe I picked a bad time to change meds, eh?

Posted by Rebecca on October 15, 2007 2:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have just spent the entire day reading the postings here after trying to find information regarding withdrawal from Effexor. I have been thru a myriad of emotions over the last few hours - so much has been made clear for me, it unbelievable. I have a long story but won't go into all the gorey details. Lets just say that I have been on some sort of AD since being started on Prozac for PMS 30 years ago. I suffer from major clinical depression and have recently been told that I also have BPD - still not really sure what that is! I was put on Effexor about 10 yrs ago after having tried a plethora of other AD's. Some worked, some didn't, but they all stopped being effective after a length of time. I have been on Effexor continuously for a long time. The trouble was, for me, that altho taking it religiously, I still suffered severe depression periods on and off accompanied by serious suicide attempts and long periods of being in psych wards and undergoing ECT.

I have been suffering from a majority of the side-effects I find people describing but it never occured to me that these conditions were from taking Effexor. (Sweats, weight gain, memory loss, confusion in doing regular tasks, rages,insomnia, vivid dreams, crying for no reason, etc etc).

Long story short, I decided for a number of reasons that I HAD to get off this drug. I have been going thru some major stressful issues and, not thinking clearly, I basically went cold turkey. It's been about 9 days now and I truly think I have been to hell and back again, but actually think I might live thru this. I have had the dreaded brain zaps, severe dizziness, no continuous sleep for any length of time, fogginess, crying jags, suicidal thoughts, etc. The upside has been a decreasing need for coffee and cigs, a slight decrease in appetite - but above all - I can see and think more clearly every day. I will NEVER, NEVER go back on this drug. I do have a side-effect that no one else has mentioned and that is insane itchiness of my hands and wrists. I have scratched the tops of my hands so much, I draw blood. Finally found a flu tab in my medicine cabinet and it has helped appease this.

Thanks to all for posting here, reading all your experiences has brought my life back into pespective and knowing that YOU are out there will help me finally realize that I may not be crazy afterall!!!! :-)

Posted by Jasminwind on October 15, 2007 2:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hi Jasmine. You've been through the mill! Hang in there! I think an antihistimine might help with the itchy hands. (That might be an ingredient in your flu tab.)

After reading all this, it seems to me that going off slowly doesn't really work so well. You went off cold turkey and your experience seems pretty much like those who went off according to a very strict and long schedule.

Maybe OFF is OFF. The first days without the drug are going to be hell, no matter what you did the weeks before.

Does this make sense? Is there any reason to do this so slowly, when it feels like torture?

So far for me, Prozac helps, plus I took an ativan and am drinking good green tea. I feel better after a few hours of this.

Have you had The Dreams? Wow. Mine are long and involved - WAY more than ever before. Not really anxiety dreams, and only the very first night was a horrible nightmare. The dreams lately are kind of nice - always have a nice new man who loves me! Funny for an old married woman, eh?

Anyway, best of luck, and stay around, okay? I need company!

Posted by Rebecca on October 15, 2007 2:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

ANOTHER QUESTION:

How does one know which are withdrawal symptoms and which are drug side effects? I took Effexor for such a short time. Now I feel horrible when I take the little half tab (37.5 generic) and wonder if these are side effects I'm feeling, not drug withdrawal.

I'm so tempted to just quit entirely and take a little prozac and ativan instead.

You can see I'm mixed up over this. My thoughts change every few minutes.

Posted by Rebecca on October 15, 2007 2:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

Has anyone come up with ways to reduce apathy?

I've reflected back over my mood for the past 6+ months, and apathy seems to be a constant companion that is always growing in its presence with me.

Its main victim is work. Since I'm self-employed, apathy is having a more gradual effect. Presently, I pretty much don't care about work, and if it does not get done, then so what?

Well, the "what" is, eventually there will be no more work, and soon thereafter, no more income.

I ran out of Provigl Saturday, and as an incidental result I've suddenly started those incredibly vivid dreams again each night, beginning Saturday. Man, they are wierd, but quite entertaining. I guess that is one positive thing.

I feel like I need to try to get off of Effexor. But I am so concerned about the withdrawal from Effexor, and yet I'm thinking that if I don't get off of this stuff, I'll end up in the soup kitchen and under a bridge.

I tried to reduce my dosage back in August from 225 to 150, and started having major brain zaps within 4 hours. So, I chickened out on dosage reduction then.

Perhaps I'll get started on reducing my Effexor dosage, more slowly, per the McMullen book, and very slowly remove a small portion of the "granules" from the capsule?

I've done just about everything I can to try and get things to work, notwithstanding that I'm on Effexor. My diet could not be much healthier. I exercise strenuously weekly, and do some exercise nearly every day. I've fortunately avoided weight gain--and while I've lost no weight, what I have seems to be transforming into muscle. I don't smoke, and don't drink alcohol. I practice Yoga.

I have a lot of stress at home, particularly in the marriage. Which is another reason why I'm reluctant to reduce the Effexor at this time.

And yet I'm still in a quandry.

Man, if I really cared much about anything, I would probably say that all this sucks.

Nobody

Posted by Nobody on October 16, 2007 2:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on effexor XR for about 2 1/2 months, i have serious side effects being on it. I can't sleep at night, cold sweats, dizziness, increased crying, my emotions are up and down so much I can't control it. I want to get off and I am not looking forward to that.. I don't recommend this to anyone, although it has helped my anxiety. The effects you experience taking it aren't worth it. There has to be another way out.

Posted by Tracey Abel on October 17, 2007 9:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

Wow! This web-site is a god send! I have been on this med for almost two years and my weight has ballooned. I have gained 40 lbs. I am 42 years old and never had any weight problems. I have brought this up with my doctor and been patted on the head and told that it's not the effexor. Thank you everyone for sharing that. Just goes to show how little the doctors really know about the stuff they are passing out like candy.
I am in the process of changing to a different medication because if I miss a dose, I am a complete basket-case. I'm nauseated, shocky (I feel electrical shock going thru my body and especially in my head) and I am so depressed I can't even function. It's worse than what I initially took the medication for. I have missed so much work because of this that I'm on the verge of being fired.
The withdrawals are extremely unpleasant but I am happy to be off this crap!

Posted by Cindy on October 17, 2007 8:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

I've been taking Effexor for a few years now for depression after being switched from Prozac suddenly (even though I think I responded better to Prozac). While I don't agree with how I was switched to it (I suffered withdrawl problems from being taken off Prozac all at once), Effexor seemed to work okay.

At any rate, according to my doctor Effexor may be the cause of my frequent urination. Apparently it is a less common side effect. Just my luck since now I'm taking medience for that bladder problem.

Maybe I should go back on Prozac since I didn't have side effects on that medication. Then again Prozac is more likely to cause frequent urination than Effexor according to their site.

Posted by Al on October 18, 2007 6:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hi, i just started taking effexor b/c i've had depression and major anxiety for years and now its gotten teh point where it was ruining my life my relationships..and im on day two with effexor but reading all your comments make me nervous to take it b/c i always am a recovering anorexic of 6 years and i dont wanna start gaining weight on this..its taken me so long to be comfortable at the weight i am..How many of you HAVE gained weight with this?...how many havent you?..

Posted by New on October 18, 2007 9:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

I am a 52 year old male who is active and in good physical health. I have had ongoing problems with anxiety and medium depression for about 12 years. I have tried Prosac, Luvox and Paxil. The Prosac worked somewhat okay the first time I used it. I was on it for about 6 months and went off. When I went on it again a few months later, it did not work at all. The other meds did not work at all.
I went on Effexor about 2 1/2 years ago. I take a 75mg capsule in the a.m and a 37.5mg capsule at night. Within 2 days of starting the medication, I started to feel MUCH better. It was a remarkable feeling since the Prosac took several weeks to work when I took it the first time.
There were some side effects, but they were (are) nothing compared to the depression and anxiety that I experienced before. These include some decreased libido, some mild apathy, and some very vivid dreams. Except for the dreams (which in my case, I'm fortunate enough to say, have not been nightmares) the side effects of decreased libido and apathy have been nothing compared to the diminution of same when I am depressed. For me, the medication has been the best thing that has happened to me in a long time. I was not aware of the difficulty in coming off the medication, but I do not presently have plans to do so. I still have incidents of minor depression and anxiety, but they are very manageable and most of the time I am doing pretty well.
I am adding this comment because the medication has really helped me, and I would like the posting board to have some posts from people for whom this medication has worked. I feel really grateful that I was given this medication.

Posted by John on October 18, 2007 1:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

Today is my first day on effexor and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I believe in giving it a chance. But...here's how I'm feeling...I took my first dose (just 37.5mg about 9 hours ago). Almost immediately I felt agitated and edgy. I feel like I'm in a fog. I've been very tired and yawning alot but when I try to lay down to rest I can't calm down. It's hard to explain, I feel mentally drained like I can't do anything but my body wants to go (I have restless leg syndrome and it's very much like that). Has anyone else experienced anything like this in the beginning and had it go away quickly? I am a full time student with 3 little ones at home and there is NO WAY I can go through too many more days like this. Any help would be great! Thanks!

Posted by Cindy on October 19, 2007 6:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hello, everybody, I'm reporting as promised 4 weeks to the day after quitting Effexor. The 1st 2 weeks were a bitch. Then it got better. Now I'm fine. Moral: it CAN be done. Good luck, and God bless.

Posted by been there on October 19, 2007 7:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

Rebecca-Thank you so much for your advice and I'm glad that you're doing better. After one day on Effexor, I decided to stop. I just know that I can't do it. I'll be going back to the Dr. this week and will definitely be asking for something different. Thanks again!

Posted by Cindy on October 21, 2007 7:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hey Cindy, if you come back here, just wanted to say that of course everyone reacts differently. I know you know that, but I don't want to set you up to think Prozac is the magic cure. I loved it from Day One, but it's not always that black and white.

Have you tried tryptophan? Also Vitamin B-6. Both greatly helped me when I was younger. (I'm 51 now.)

Hang in there, and best of luck!

Rebecca

Posted by Rebecca on October 22, 2007 12:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

Wow... lots to consider here. I started on Effexor about 12 days ago, took 37.5mg for a week then up to 75mg for the past 5 days. I immediately started feeling "anxious" and I'm clenching my jaw day and night. I feel like I'm experiencing an adrenaline rush 24/7. I haven't slept more than 4hrs per night since I started Effexor in spite of also taking a bit of Clonazepam to help me relax and get back to sleep.

I called my doctor today to inform her that I'm going off the drug and to ask how to wean myself off. She suggested that I take half of a 20mg Celexa tomorrow (I took it previously but had difficulty achieving orgasm) then a full 75mg of Effexor the following day then a whole 20mg of Celexa the 3rd day. It doesn't sound like such a wonderful plan after reading all of these posts!

I'm scared of what's ahead of me because I'm leaving on a much-needed, long-awaited vacation (Caribbean cruise!) in less than 2 weeks and I do NOT want to be feeling nauseous when I go!!

I plan to call my pharmacist to ask about taking the Celexa and Effexor alternately; I trust him more than I trust my doctor when it comes to matters involving medications.

By the way, Rebecca... I'm 50 and I've been taking St John's Wort in the 2 yrs that I've been off antidepressants and found it very helpful.

Posted by Cailin on October 22, 2007 7:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

Cailin, I think you have time before your trip to get this stuff cleared from your system after just 12 days on it. But you're smart to start now.

Wouldn't hurt to get a prescription for anti-nausea medication, too. I forget what it's called...works, though.

Good luck.

Posted by Rebecca on October 22, 2007 8:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

Thanks for the encouragement, Rebecca. I have some "Gravol" on hand (USA equivalent is dramamine), maybe that would work?

This is day one with no meds... wish me luck!

PS... to anyone who read my last post, let me clarify that you must NOT take St John's Wort and antidepressants at the same time!!

Posted by Cailin on October 23, 2007 4:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

I was wondering if anyone suffered problems when they had their dose lowered instead of being taken off completely (there are plenty of warnings about that already). I'm doing it now in hopes of stopping polyuria and don't seem to have any withdrawal problems at the moment... unless you count a possible relapse of depression a problem. Though I'm not sure if it's due to the drecrease or my on-going medical mystery. In fairness the "depression" started before my dose was lowered; it's just more pronounced now.

However I'm still experiencing polyuria (more so than ever) and I feel more depressed than I did before. Should I continue this, replace Effexor with another antidepressant (I still feel Prozac worked better for me), or go back to my orginal dose?

Posted by Al on October 23, 2007 11:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

I was wondering if anyone suffered problems when they had their dose lowered instead of being taken off completely (there are plenty of warnings about that already). I'm doing it now in hopes of stopping polyuria and don't seem to have any withdrawal problems at the moment... unless you count a possible relapse of depression a problem. Though I'm not sure if it's due to the drecrease or my on-going medical mystery. In fairness the "depression" started before my dose was lowered; it's just more pronounced now.

However I'm still experiencing polyuria (more so than ever) and I feel more depressed than I did before. Should I continue this, replace Effexor with another antidepressant (I still feel Prozac worked better for me), or go back to my orginal dose?

Posted by Al on October 23, 2007 11:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

I HAVE BEEN REALLY SICK FOR 3 MONTHS AND WONDERING IF IT COULD BE THE EFFEXOR. I'VE HAD EVERY DR'S TEST OUT THERE AND THEY KEEP TELLING ME I'M PERFECTLY FINE, BUT IF YOU READ MY SYMPTOMS BELOW YOU'LL SEE JUST HOW "FINE" I'VE BEEN!

HAS ANYONE ELSE EXPERIENCED THIS SEVERE OF EFFECTS? COULD IT BE MY EFFEXOR CAUSING MY ILLNESS?

I've been on Effexor for the last 3 and 1/2 months. For the last 3 months I have been having the following symptoms:
Severe body pain, hands cramping up and not able to be used at times, Nausea, dizziness, inability to balance, extreme weakness in arms and legs (especially wrists, knees and shins), Sharp shooting pain and tingling in arms and hands as well as legs and feet, eyes jolting and blurry at times, loss of apetite, very bad constipation, night tremors (EXTREMELY graffic and disgustingly violent-very unusual for me, being a sweet 26 year old girl!), night leg twitching/jerking, sleeplessness (four-5 hours usually-and I'm an 8 hour girl), massive moodiness (mood changing on a dime), anemic symptoms...

The worst of all of them is the body (wrist, hands, knees) pain and weakness. I get so tired just from shaving while showering that I feel like I'm going to pass out...YET, all of the dr's say everything is perfectly normal.

Does anyone have any similar stories or suggestions? Thanks so much!

Posted by Kristen on October 24, 2007 1:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

My wife was perscribed a starting dose of Effexor XR of 37.5mg to treat post partum depression. She was quickly increased to 75mg then 150mg/day. She was on the 150mg/day for 2(two) days and started having "electrical shocks" inside her head as she put it. This went on for about 3 hours then she went into a full tonic clonic seizure. She has no seizure history and had her first seizure at 32 years old. It has now been almost a year and she still has seizures regurlarly even though she stopped the Effexor that first day. She lost her nursing license and her drivers license. She is dependant on others to be in the house at all times due to the fact she has cluster seizures that can last several minutes and affects her breathing. She has been told that there is a chance that if she has a seizure while alone she might die.
If you are taking this drug please ask your doctor about all the side effects and the chances of long term complications. Being depressed is treatable but being dead is not.

Posted by Don D on October 24, 2007 10:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

Kristen,

You seem to be describing a typical cluster of symptoms which may occur with these antidepressants. It may be of interest if you gather together some of the professional Effexor drug information sheets and go through the side-effect/adverse effect listings carefully. Sites like drugs.com and rxlist.com have this patient literature available. At drugs.com there are various Effexor info sheets, so work your way through them all, particularly the detailed ones. You may need to make notes & decipher some of the medical terminology.

You will find multiple references to symptoms which seem to mirror those you are experiencing. For example, without going any further than the most commonly encountered adverse effects in the Effexor trials (page 4 of the patient Effexor info, which looks at side-effects, to be found at rxlist.com, specifically at rxlist.com/cgi/generic/effexor_ad.htm: "The most commonly observed adverse events associated with the use of Effexor®(incidence of 5% or greater) and not seen at an equivalent incidence among placebo-treated patients (ie, incidence for Effexor at least twice that for placebo), derived from the 1% incidence table below, were asthenia, sweating, nausea, constipation, anorexia, vomiting, somnolence, dry mouth, dizziness, nervousness, anxiety, tremor, and blurred vision as well as abnormal ejaculation/orgasm and impotence in men."

Asthenia is defined as "Weakness. Lack of energy and strength. Loss of strength."

Among other listed side-effects are: ataxia (wobbliness, incoorordination, unsteadiness), vertigo (dizziness), emotional lability, myoclonus (abnormal contraction of muscles), manic reaction, abnormal dreams, paresthesia (abnormal sensation of the skin, such as numbness, tingling, pricking, burning, or creeping on the skin that has no objective cause), insomnia... and so on.

Serotonergic drugs have long been associated with possible onset of muscle (myalgia) and joint pain (arthralgia). Any google search for: Effexor "joint pain" will bring up more information.

Checking out the rxlist.com sheet for Effexor XR, rxlist.com/cgi/generic/venlafax_ad.htm,
will give you the following side-effect under the musculo-skeletal entries: Frequent, arthralgia. 'Frequent' is defined in this instance as "occurring on one or more occasions in at least 1/100 patients."

If you google for: Glenmullen Prozac Backlash; then take the top result, followed by clicking on the 'Prozac Backlash' book icon, you will be taken to a page where you can read the Introduction followed by Chapter 1 of this award-winning book on the side-effects of these serotonin boosting antidepressants... you may find the references to muscle tics and jerks, and extreme tiredness, of immediate potential relevance.

Your experience of being told you are 'fine' despite listing a myriad of possible side-effects, does not seem to be an uncommon phenomenon. The answer to this 'blame the patient' response (as it is described in literature), seems to relate to the reason for the drug's prescription - with side-effects being interpreted as 'the original problem', as 'anxiety', 'depression', 'bipolar' etc, even though these changes occurred after the introduction of the drug, and were either not previously present, or were of a more minor nature.

If you go to a sister thread on this site, the Cymbalta side-effects thread, and read post 560 by Jessica, you may find a familiar experience. Effexor is an SNRI antidepressant, Cymbalta is an SNRI antidepressant. But any google search on: Effexor (plus some of your symptoms); should bring up similar experiences.

Posted by Someone on October 25, 2007 5:04 AM | Permalink | Reply

To "Someone" who blogged to me...THANK YOU SO MUCH! Your information is invaluable. I will check out all that you suggested and start on my way to a slow Effexor detox. Thank you again!

Posted by Leanna on October 25, 2007 9:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have only been taking Effexor XR 37.5 mg for 7 days now and am supposed to bump up to the 75 mg dose today. I don't think I am going to do that. In fact, I am going to stop taking it completely before I double the dosage. My problem is one that I am uncertain as to its base cause. My neck began hurting last night (seems to be my lymph nodes) and it hurts even worse today. Swallowing hurts. This is all VERY rare for me. When I have gotten ill in the past, my neck lymph glands have gotten tender but nothing like this. I have read the side effects and am uncertain if Effexor is causing this but concerned enough to not take the chance since a possible side effect is lockjaw (which I still haven't figured out how in the world that could be.) Anybody know of this symptom being associated with Effexor?
Bob

Posted by Bob on October 25, 2007 10:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

Bob,

As you say, it may or may not be directly Effexor related. However, from the Effexor info on adverse effects at rxlist.com, there is: "Hemic and lymphatic system — Frequent: ecchymosis; Infrequent: anemia, leukocytosis, leukopenia, LYMPHADENOPATHY, thrombocythemia, thrombocytopenia; Rare: basophilia, bleeding time increased, cyanosis, eosinophilia, lymphocytosis, multiple myeloma, purpura."

Lymphadenopathy is defined as "Abnormally enlarged lymph nodes. Commonly called 'swollen glands.'"

The lockjaw side-effect is described as falling into one of the four closely related neurological side-effects, the muscle spasms (the others are tics, parkinsonism and akathisia/agitation). The lockjaw is an example of a severe presentation of a muscle spasm, but it is estimated that mild-moderate spasms may run at about the 10% level - many patients don't associate lower level muscle tension/pain in the neck, jaw, shoulders with the drug treatment... but when specifically asked by their doctors, the reports steadily emerge.

These neurological side-effects are described as representing "abnormalities in the involuntary motor system" resulting from the drug's action, leading to a "loss of motor control."

Posted by Someone on October 25, 2007 2:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

its a month already since I stop taking effexor..the free once that my dr prescribed to me..he insist that I have depression so I went ahead and take it for a month. then I miss my follow up check up..then BOOM!!!awfullll awful head ache , dizzyness and nausea plus vomitting. at first I didnt evn know whats it from until I read the blogs a couple of days after I run out of effexor.. golly!!!!it was really really awful feeling men!!first I ever had..then I went back to my dr and want me to take some more effexor..but I dont want anymore after reading the feedbacks of it...I dont believe I am depresses..I was upset alright and I cry w/c is normal but since they insist together w/ my husband, ok fine jz to please them..I didnt even know what I get in to..Now I still have those weird side effects but Im holding on to God who make me feel strong and in good health ok cos I dont wanna take those crazy pills(my ever first anti- depressant)..pls pray for me to. By the way I stop it abruptly..do u know what other side effect of it??tnx..

Posted by liz on October 26, 2007 11:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

I'm a 38 year old man. I've gone on and off of Effexor a couple of times and am now back on it after a recent bout with pretty heavy depression. The medicine absolutely helped improve my outlook and got me out of the bad frame of mind.

My doctor recommended this AND 30 minutes a day of exercise.

My side effects have been very mild and are easily managed. Dry mouth and dry skin, decreased libido (no GF right now so that's not that big of a deal) and some initial constipation.

I firmly beleive that the key to success with this medicine is using it as a springboard to living a healthy lifestyle. DRINK LOTS OF WATER AND EXERCISE. Focus on eating healthy foods. I can't stress enough how staying properly hydrated helps with the side effects AND with how your brain & body function.

If you are not urinating every hour and a half or so, you are not drinking enough water. The urine should be mostly clear and you should have plenty of it. I've also found that a Gatorade twice a day helps. Both diet & exercise will help with the constipation as well.

It's clear others have had great difficulty coming off the drug, however my experience was nothing like that. Other than a couple of days feeling tired, I had little or no side effects. After reducing to 37.5 every day, then every other day, then nothing I was good.

JG

Posted by Jay on October 27, 2007 6:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

I've been on effexer xr for about 2 years. I gained about 20 pounds over that time. Other than that it has been a great help . I wouldn't trade it for how I was previous to taking it. The positives certainly out way the negatives. I just think everybody reacts different to all of drugs out there. If you find what works for you stay with it because the next one may not. Unfortunately there is no perfect outcome. Good luck to you all.

Posted by Ron on October 29, 2007 7:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

hi there, I have been taking Effexor XR 75mg for about 30 days now and I have not had any serious side effects yet. until I reached my almost 30 day mark when I noticed abnormal bruising on my arms and legs, areas where I know I have put pressure on and and now have turned into bruises. I have met with my dr. regarding this side effect and according to him there is a 1% chance of this occuring. I have had 3 CBC done and my blood platelet levels were extremely low due to this medication. I have been pulled off the medicine cold turkey and are now having bad side effects pretty similiar to what everyone above has been saying (head zaps, nausea, weak, tired) I was wondering if anyone else has by chance got any kind of bruising like this from this medication? and if so what have you done to make your body feel better due to the side effects???

Posted by sara on October 30, 2007 10:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

hi there, I have been taking Effexor XR 75mg for about 30 days now and I have not had any serious side effects yet. until I reached my almost 30 day mark when I noticed abnormal bruising on my arms and legs, areas where I know I have put pressure on and and now have turned into bruises. I have met with my dr. regarding this side effect and according to him there is a 1% chance of this occuring. I have had 3 CBC done and my blood platelet levels were extremely low due to this medication. I have been pulled off the medicine cold turkey and are now having bad side effects pretty similiar to what everyone above has been saying (head zaps, nausea, weak, tired) I was wondering if anyone else has by chance got any kind of bruising like this from this medication? and if so what have you done to make your body feel better due to the side effects???

Posted by sara on October 30, 2007 10:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

Just a quick one EFFEXOR IS THE EVILEST DRUG on this planet! I've been on it for 14 years and have lost 14 years of my life, I am only 34. I have just started a tapering plan which will take me a minimum of 6 months to get off this crap. I no there are so many people out there trying without success to get off it. I came across the best site, it's truly inspirational and it's enabled me to start tapering and look forward to life and who I am because on this drug I have lost everything to do with me.
Please anyone interested in getting off effexor go to the site (right at this moment it's down but keep trying you won't be disappointed). This site has a guy called Mikemo who was trying to help his wife get off effexor with absolute success; he has developed a fantastic schedule that has worked on all that have used it. Please visit the site you will be blow away.

Tapering Method: http://www.abchomeopathy.com/forum2.php/102450/

93 pages of people desperate for help forum/discussions: http://www.abchomeopathy.com/forum2.php/1663/89
MandyC

Posted by MandyC on October 31, 2007 10:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

This site is great. I wish I had read it before starting Effexor!

I am a 51-year-old perimenopausal woman with depression. I needed treatment about a year after my young child nearly died, got a heart transplant, and then continued having major medical issues. I run a small business and take care of a elderly parent with Alzheimers.

At first Effexor was wonderful at a low dose (37.5) -- lighter mood and it got rid of hot flashes! I heard from my OB/GYN that Effexor is sometimes prescribed at low doses just for hot flashes. I had no problems at all for a few months, but then I started feeling tired and unmotivated all the time. My doctor prescribed higher and higher doses, thinking that I needed a serotonin boost to help me cope with all the stress in my life. Until a couple of weeks ago, I was on 300mg.

It doesn't help me feel less depressed, but it reduces anxiety so much that I don't care about getting up anymore. Like some of the others here, I was always a major self-starter, highly disciplined, productive and efficient, qualities that served me well in business. Now I don't care if I get paid anymore, and there is a large pile of bills and unresolved tax issues that I know I should take care of, but just can't focus on long enough.

Effexor was tried after Wellbutrin, which helped my mood but caused myoclonic jerks (maybe even small seizures) and tinnitus.

Before that, I was on increasing doses of Lexapro, which did nothing but make me feel sleepy.

My doctor thinks that because it only took a year for Effexor to be ineffective, I am in a group of people who might need to be treated as if I am bipolar; she said that the thinking about this in the psych community has been changing lately. I am supposed to taper down to 150mg and also use Ritalin as needed to help me focus. Then she will re-evaluate and see about starting me on something like Lamictal.

I am tempted to just stop all of the drug therapy. I worry that all this trial and error with my mind is really going to make me worse, and if I am not bipolar now, I will be! I want to find out more about how declining estrogen levels interact with antidpressants.

I do try to be as healthy as possible -- I am vegetarian, don't drink, smoke or take any other substances. I increased my B vitamins and take ballet classes for exercise.

For my family's sake I need to stay as alert and on top of things as possible. I hope I can get Effexor out of my system and return to my prior state -- possibly more anxious and sad, but at least living in the real world again.

Posted by portrait on November 3, 2007 10:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

Portrait,

You may find the following book of merit: 'Prozac Backlash' by Dr Joseph Glenmullen, deals with the side-effects of these antidepressants; the book/author won an annual medical achievement award for this work.

The phenomenon of increasing drug doses to maintain effect ('poop out'), lethargy and apathy, weariness/sleepiness are all covered, as are many other side-effects; there also is a short note about the relationship between Wellbutrin/seizures (p125-126).

Posted by Someone on November 4, 2007 3:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

I wish I had read this page a week ago. My Doctor just prescribed Effexor & I began taking it 10/31. I yawn all day & feel extremely tired. Today I have had a constant aching pain in my right leg from the knee to the ankle that is killing me. Not a muscle pain - deep inside like the bone itself aches. I got on here to see if there were in any mentions of blood clots & found all of the withdrawal info & now I'm scared. I guess I will take my dose tonight & call my Dr tomorrow.

Posted by Emily on November 5, 2007 6:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor for about 5 years. Before that, I was on Zoloft since 1993 for depression and anxiety. Zoloft made me gain 65 pounds (nothing more depressing than gaining weight when you aren't eating that much and you can't lose it.) I began having heart palpitations and my doctor switched me to Effexor 75 mg. I was OK for a long while, still couldn't lose the ZOloft weight, and I began sweating and having brain zaps. So --- I Googled Effexor's side effects and found two of those are SWEATING and BRAIN ZAPS! I think I could grow orchids out of my belly button. Brain zaps made me nauseous. I wish I had read about those long ago before the build-up of drugs in my body. I've been taking 32.5 mg of Effexor for about 10 days and feel so much better. Sweating has slacked off, no more brain pain. I'm trying to wean off this stuff. Too bad so many people are going around like Zombies. I wonder if doctors take this stuff themselves.

Posted by Bev on November 6, 2007 1:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

Re previous message -- that should be "37.5 mg" not 32.5. Also, did I mention the weird dreams? If you miss a dose you have really weird, disturbing dreams. Not quite nightmares but you wake up feeling exhausted.

Posted by Bev on November 6, 2007 1:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor for about four weeks now. I recently started having very bad headaches, some bad enough to affect my vision and make me nausous. I wondered if the medication was doing this, or if this was a new problem all together. Some people have mentioned "brain zaps". What are those? It seems an accurate way to describe what my brain feels like (kind of like glass rubbing my brain raw). I also seem to have a problem regulating my internal body temperature. Once I get hot, I can't get cooled down and when I am cold, I can't get warm. Does anyone else out there experience these side effects?

Posted by Laura on November 6, 2007 4:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

Laura,

If you go to a website that has patient drug info sheets available, you can access side-effect information e.g. at rxlist.com, p.4 of the Effexor info guide lists the side-effect data. Migraines/headaches are listed; hot flushes (vasodilation) and cold effects, usually hands/feet, are also listed; chills and fever are noted as 'frequent'.

Brain zaps are likened an electric shock/jolt, and are usually associated with antidepressant withdrawal or poop-out.

Posted by Someone on November 7, 2007 3:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hey,
I've been on Effexor for about 4 months. I'm 17 years old and I am completely my last year of highschool as well as taking a few college courses for a headstart.
For the past month I have noticed myself completely change. I've noticed I am horribly depressed and I've lost interest in school. I'm failing Biology which is a subject I find extremely interesting; however, I can't concentrate long enough on the questions.
I've become an Insomniac. I get on average about 5 hours of sleep per night. When I do sleep I have vivid dreams and it feels as if I am in a deep sleep; however, when I am awake I feel as if I got no sleep.
It feels as if there is a cloud overshadowing my mind and I can't think clearly. Whenever I look at a white background I see flashes of light like when a person hits his head too hard.
This drug is really starting to scare me. My friends have noticed drastic changes in my personality and this is such a crutal part of my life.

Posted by Jessica on November 8, 2007 7:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

a year and 1/2 and i'm still having terrible tinnitus, some shock like sensations to the back of the head when i wake up, and mood swings (almost manic). is there anyone on here who is having these long term effects? i've also just gone off of klonopin that was prescribed to treat the panic attacks the effexor caused!

and i never had any reason to be given this drug, i had irregular heartbeat. and i told the doc i didn't have generalized anxiety disorder, and he said it would help my heart. great, now i have what looks like permanent nervous system damage.

i've cycled thru most all of the classic symptoms. i detoxed (doc's advice) WAY too fast.

i'm going to try Cognitex - you can google it. i'll come back and post to let you know if it helps at all. anyone who's still having effects after years plz let me know.

Posted by Lisa on November 8, 2007 11:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

Is any of u tried something homeopathic

Posted by Dia on November 9, 2007 8:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

I am a middleaged menopausal woman, have taken Effexor 75mg,for a few years,{yes I have memory problems}My Doctor put me on it, for menopause-anxity-OCBehaviour,after nothing "natural" worked, as I am a natural therapy-type-person, & don't smoke, or "drink",I tried to go off a few times, & had those horrible side effects you talk about, but after reading {here} I made up my mind to go off this month,, & have eased off, to today, my only side effect has been the "fuzzy head" , & I am better as each day passes, I am otherwise "healthy", so I think this helps, I will NOT give in, & am determined to stay off Effexor, & thank you lovely people {here} for helping me make MY decison.GOD Bless You All.

Posted by Blondie on November 12, 2007 11:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

I was started on effexor in 2002 after trying several other antidepressants wtihout success. At the time I was not an alcohol or drug user. Within 5 days of starting the effexor I began to crave alcohol to the extreme. After battling this off and in for almost 4 years I stopped taking the effexor, the withdrawals were tough but the alcohol abuse stopped. After 2 months I went back on the effexor, within 3 days I was in a drinking binge again. Once again I stopped the effexor and have been alcohol free for almost a year. I lost 3 years of my life to alcohol abuse (SEVERE) completely unaware of why this had happened to me. Im very interested to know if anyone else has had this type experience with this drug.

Posted by Leslie Neice on November 13, 2007 8:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

I was prescribed Effexor for mild anxiety and hot flashes associated with menopause. I took it for about 8 months and didn't realize the side effects from the drug was what was making me feel so crappy. The yawns I learned to deal with but i did gain weight. But the main thing that drove me crazy was the dizziness, forgetfulness and vision problems. I went back to my doctor to complain of feeling generally lousy and after many blood tests determined I make too many red blood cells. About the same time as all this was going on, I decided to go off the Effexor because I couldn't really afford it - not with all the other tests and copays. I kept feeling worse and worse and up until reading your posts, I thought it was because of my blood problems. Now I'm thinking all of it was related to the Effexor. I've been off it for several months now and I'm feeling a bit better but I'm still light headed all the time and my vision is wacked out. I think doctors are way too quick to put us on these drugs and this one, in my opinion, is dangerous.

Posted by Lucy on November 13, 2007 10:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on effexor for approximately 1 yr. I now have high cholesterol, headaches, left eye pain,
and extreme aniety. I will talk to my doctor today.
Thank you

Posted by Anonymous on November 15, 2007 1:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

I was on Paxil for about 6 years and was recently prescribed Welbutrin which nearly drove me to suicide.I was then given Effexor which triggered mania episodes and after an dangerous case of road rage I resolved to gain BACK control of my life. I tapered slowly off of all medication. I can say that while on the drugs my personality changed so much that I hardly knew who I was. I lacked perspective, went hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt,had very little ambition and regard for anyone, gained weight and basically lost my life,my career and identity. My advice would be this: there is no magic bullet or drug without serious side effects and most clinicians know very little about the extremely complex field of mental health and brain chemistry. The tendency is to throw a medication at you to mask the under lying problem and hope for the best. BE VERY CAREFUL

Posted by Mike on November 17, 2007 7:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

I was put on Effexor XR 75mg in october 06 for GAD w/panic attacks (I was in a car accident a few months earlier and my drug addicted uncle came to live with us, which prompted the GAD & Panic Attacks). i suffered from body shivers, clenched jaw, night sweats, slurred speech, slow movement & insomnia for the first 2 weeks or so, and then the symptoms went away. i also suffered from decreased libido, which didnt really go away. although i had all these symptoms, it was worth it not to feel the anxiety and pending doom that made me want to take it in the first place. i stopped taking it cold turkey in march of this year with no side effects. GAD & Panic Attacks returned about a week ago and i started the medication again yesterday. same symptoms as before. hopefully they will go away like they did the first time i took it

Posted by Christina on November 20, 2007 9:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

I'm a 22 year old male and have been on effexor for approximately 8 months. My current dosage is 150mg. Also, I received cognitive behavioral therapy in conjunction with effexor and found this to be highly beneficial.

There was a post earlier on the page which noted that people dissatisfied with the drug are a lot more likely to post on boards like this. This is very true. In fact, I only came on here because I have been unhappy with this medication during the last few weeks. Thefore, let this be my warning to anyone reading this who is considering taking Effexor: Read other sites, talk to your doctor, see a therapist, seek information beyond this! This drug will work differently for everyone. I've talked to many people who have had positive experiences. This drug can greatly improve you quality of life. At the same time, this drug can cause worse problems than depression and can greatly lower the quality of your life. Just know that this drug does help many people and that these people are not likely to be looking at boards like this. They are likely to be ruminating less, experiencing a heightened mood and generally enjoying life to a fuller extent. In fact, this was me until now and I going to talk with my doctor this week about perhaps returning to a lower dosage.

As far as side effects go, this is what I've experienced:
Dry mouth (barely noticeable and if anything increases my water intake, which isn't a bad thing!), brain shivers if a miss a dose and slight delay in orgasm. I have not gained weight, however.

In sum, please be rational, consider all the aspects of your life which may be causing you distress. I've found too many posts on here calling effexor the most evil drug on the planet. But how many lives have it saved? How many people are much better of because of it?

In general, I would prefer not to take any medications at all. Our brains were not meant to be exposed to medications and we often do not know the full extent of drugs until it is too late. We may never fully understand the brain, just take some time to read a Neurology text book and you will realize the complexity of this organ, how immensely complicated all of our brain processes actually are. That being said, I do not regret taking effexor. I was in a state of depressing where nothing else would help.

There are a lot of unknowns, but if you are in a desperate place, I suggest you take this drug. And above all, do not make snap judgements, take time to consider your problem and talk to a therapist.

Posted by Mike on November 25, 2007 10:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

Life is hard, we all deal with bullshit day in and day out. I was severly depressed and have tried paxil, zoloft, wellbutrin, etc. Hated them all. All they did was mask the pain I was feeling and left me emotionless towards anything. I couldn't even shed a tear! I quit everything and dealt with life. Sure I get depressed, but when I do there is nothing like a high from working out at the gym, taking a walk, or riding my bike. My sister is on effexor and has just started to mix it with deplin. She has been on several different anti depressants the last 10 - 15 years. She won't go to the gym or join any groups. At this point, I feel she revels in her misfortunes and misery...it gives her purpose. The pills make her sleepy, constipated and fluctuates her weight and hormones. She has also isolated herself from all her friends and family (while being on all these different medications). But she is stubborn and thinks that doctors and pharmaceuticals are the answer. There was none of this stuff 30 years ago. It breaks my heart to see people dependent on pills to find happiness. I just ate well, exercised and dealt with my problems. I also stayed away from drugs (marijuana, etc). I wish those of you who truly don't need this stuff will one day find a life that is free from pills and depression. Good luck to you all.

Posted by Joe on November 25, 2007 2:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

im seriouslly glad to say im safely off effexor xr
its been 4 weeks and i feel great anyone can do it just if your on the 37 mg and you stop compeltly dont go up n down
i giev great honour to being off it i feel my normal self again doing things i luv and not anxious it does work i was on it 3 yrs congrads i feel healed.

Posted by Vertiflow on November 25, 2007 7:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

I started on Effexor about a year ago after some very serious family issues caused me to plunge into a deep depression. It worked like a charm. The only issues I have noticed since taking this drug was while trying to go to sleep, I jerk back awake multiple times just as I'm about to fall asleep. Also, my thinking and memory have not been the best since on this med but I'm quite happy. haha. I experienced a significant weight gain, I was quite thin and athletic and now I have a ton of weight to lose. The weight gain was interesting because no matter how hard I tried to lose weight while on the drug, I would take significant jumps in weight overnight without explanation. And it isn't water gain. Now I am left with a body that isn't mine and I have to work my butt off just to get back down to my former weight (kind of ticks me off). None of my clothes fit. I've also had problems with restless leg syndrome since being on this med. Occurs approximately 3 or so times per week when I'm trying to go to sleep. Between this and the jerking back awake, I've been tired! Increased blood pressure also has occurred but I am unsure if this is as a result of the weight gain or the effexor.
I wanted off the meds and the DR has worked me off of them. I tried to stop once before and was not very successful. This drug is VERY addictive. The DR is working me down off of the drug (from 150, 75, 37.5) and today is my second day without any. I was a bit nervous that once I stopped the drug, I would become depressed again but to tell you the truth, I feel great being off of it even with the side effects of stopping the meds.
The biggest side effect I have right now from stopping the meds is a SEVERE case of vertigo. From what I have read in the other comments, it appears I have a good two weeks in front of me with this vertigo.
If I had it to do over again, I would still get on the effexor because pulling out of the depression I was in was far more important than dealing with the side effects I experienced and the vertigo issues now. However, I will say the weight gain really stinks. That is now causing other problems for me but I'm hoping that now that I am off of the effexor, the weight loss won't be so difficult. My DR tried to tell me that the Effexor won't cause more than a 5 or 10 pound gain...BS!!!!! Especially after I have read these other posts. Sometimes I think DRs should really listen more and speak less.

Posted by Lilli on November 30, 2007 6:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hi, I have been suffering from depression all my life. The first psychologist I saw told me that I suffered from something called "dystimia" (don't know if that's spelled right), which is an ongoing depression that never really goes away. Anyway, I started taking Paxil 8 years ago (just before my sister died), and it helped for some time. Then last year I became addicted to pain killers, for which I lost my job and ended up in a facility to try to get off of them. Needless to say, after all this happened, I was at an all time low. I went to a different psychologist, who then recommended me to a psychiatrist to control my medication. He tried me on Wellbutrin (450 mg) along with the Paxil (increased to 70mg daily). These did nothing. He then put me on Effexor XR about 3 weeks ago. When I get through weaning off the old meds and increasing the Effexor, I will be taking 150 mg per day. The only thing I have noticed about the Effexor was just recently - I stay unbelievable hot, and my husband says he has noticed that I am "wired". Anyone who knows me knows that I am not the "wired" type - never have been. So far this is not too miserable - except that the hot flashes last all day long, and everyone in my office stays cold, so I sit on top of a fan all day. Anyway, hopefully this will be the only way it affects me - I do feel much happier and more energetic. I'll keep my fingers crossed...

Posted by mkl on December 6, 2007 12:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

I just started Effexor yesterday after seeing my doctor because of anxiety and panic attacks. I have felt a bit fuzzy, and gettign to sleep last night was hell. I have also been a bit shaky and have had some nausea (problably because I didnt eat it with enough food, but the problem is I dont have any interest in food right now!). The Yawning is driving me NUTS!
I was just wondering if the side effects will decrease in time? My mother has been on it and I know the only side effects she has noticed is weight gain.
Im hoping to be on this stuff for a very short period of time. My doc wants me to go to Cog-Behav therapy. Im hoping after only a few months to go off it, and I dont want to raise above 37.5mg. Im really scared now for the withdrawl!

Posted by Sabrina on December 7, 2007 4:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

I am a 34 year old male that started having panic attacks at age 18. Since that time, I took prozac for several years (worked wonders and had no problems coming off of it). Then (after realizing that I still was having anxiety without an AD) I started taking Zoloft. I was on and off that drug for about 10 years. It helped a lot. I was also given clonazepam to take at night to help me sleep.

After a while, I felt like the Zoloft was losing it's effect on my anxiety on a day to day basis. So, I went to a Psych who raised my dosage of Zoloft from 100mg a day to 200 mg a day. This still didn't help. He then gave me Wellbutrin to take with the Zoloft. This was a complete nightmare. I had increased anxiety (even at a very low dose the 2nd day) so he told me to just stop taking it. He then gave me Effexor...starting me on 37.5, now I am taking 150mg a day. He also eventually completely weaned me off the zoloft. So, now I am taking 150 mg of Effexor and 1.5 mg of clonazepam. I remember having this with the Zoloft; however, I am having increased 'brain zaps.' This is happening not even when I miss a dose (although if I miss a dose, it's even worse). Most of the people that experience this side effect, experience it when they are STOPPING the drug. However, this is happening to me WHILE I AM STILL TAKING IT! Does anyone know how to control this or what it is about? I have a history of alcohol and marijuana addiction. Also, years ago, I was taking a lot of ecstacy. Could this be why?

In conclusion, I feel like I am having withdrawl side effects (brain zaps, fatigue, depression, anger) when I haven't even stopped or attempted to stop taking it!

Posted by Jeff on December 7, 2007 1:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

Jeff,

It might be an equivalency issue, plus/minus a 'poop out' one (i.e. your description of the Zoloft previously losing efficacy).

David Healy has some equivalency figures for the SSRIs/SNRIs (Google: Healy withdrawing SSRIs). Check out the Effexor/Zoloft equivalents.

Poop-out: If you've had these sort of effects before, the withdrawal symptoms, whilst still taking a daily dose, these may indicate that the drug has 'worn off', tolerance is achieved; to maintain effect, the dose may then be upped to regain effect, but then 'poop out' may recur on the higher dose after a period of time.

'Poop out' explanations (+ references), in the book on SSRI/SNRI side-effects, 'Prozac Backlash' by Joseph Glenmullen. It will also explain about Wellbutrin.

You may find some information in the 'Ashton Manual' by Prof Heather Ashton, to be relevant, particularly details in Chapter 1. Professor Ashton's manual is freely available for download on the web, look for the most recently updated version.

I'm no doc, so do your own research! After reading Glenmullen's book, you may find yourself working through your medication history, being able to understand precisely what happened at each stage (may answer the ecstacy/marijuana queries too).

Posted by Someone on December 8, 2007 5:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

I forgot to mention the crazy dreams, lack of good sleep and no energy...I could sleep and nap all day. What kind of life is that? It was that main idea of not being able to do anything that made me want to get off the stuff.

I am also wondering if anyone who has gotten off Effexor and had trouble with weight gain...how long does it take to get the metabolism going? Or does it return? The weight has really bummed me out. Any thoughts or experiences with?

Posted by Kara on December 10, 2007 1:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

hi.
My boyfriend has recently (few months) been given effexor. for a few months now, he's been complaining about not being able to reach orgasm and sometimes has difficulties maintaining an errection. I am convinced this comes from the drug but the doctor won't let him get off it.
Has anyone experienced this also?
please help.

Posted by concerned girlfriend on December 12, 2007 10:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

I started taking Effexor in February 2007 beginning with the 37.5 "introductory special" and working up to the 75mg doses. I started taking it because I had some symptoms of depression (fatigue, lack of interest in hobbies I enjoy, just general apathy). After consultation with my doctor, he prescribed Effexor. I had no problems with the medication as long as I took it every day at the same time (except for the ocassional weird dream). But if I was even a few hours late with a dose, the side effects began, most noticeably the brain zaps. I'm so glad I found this site just for that phrase "brain zaps", because I could never accurately describe what they felt like, but that describes it perfectly.

After about 8 months on the meds, I decided that if I was having side effects after only being a few hours late for a dose, what was this drug doing to my body? I spoke to my doctor and began the tapering process. My last dose of the 37.5 mg was almost a month ago, and I'm still having side effects. Headaches, sleepiness, brain zaps, muscle aches. It's gotten to the point that I was wondering if maybe I NEEDED to be on the A.D.'s.
But after reading others experiences here, I'm certain it's just the continued withdrawl symptoms. My fear is that there has been some permanent damage done to either my brain or nervous system and some of these feelings will never go away.

Thanks so much to all of you who have posted here and shared your experiences. You are a blessing to those of us looking for help.

Posted by Mike on December 12, 2007 11:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hi~
I just started taking Effexor 37.5mg like 5 days ago, and I guess I'm just starting to feel the side effects, but dont get me wrong the first four days were great! My terrible panic attacks went away, i wasnt anxious, but the fifth morning I awoke with the worst panic attack, I immediately took another pill for that day thinking it would go away, but it lasted all afternoon, then I went on this site and realized the 3rd and 4th day I was having pains in the back of my eyes i just though it was from just normal stress...these pills are nice to take...for one day only :o)

Posted by Robert on December 13, 2007 8:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

In response to 497.

Low libido is common side effect. I’m a 24 year old male and been on Effexor for years. No side effects except a continual decrease in libido. Be supportive, there is hope.

If this type of anti-depressant is absolutely necessary try herbal supplements for libido like Ginko Biloba or a mixture of other herbs. Stay AWAY from ANYTHING that has ANY amount of Yohimbe bark as it counteracts the anti-depressant.

If the herbs don’t work, go for a natural testosterone stimulator, Google it. If that doesn’t work tell him to see a doctor for prescribed testosterone. I’m not a doctor, I only have personal experience.

Bets of luck.

Posted by Anonymous on December 13, 2007 10:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hope everyone is doing well.

Anyone looking for more information on anti-depressants go to this awesome site.

http://www.emedexpert.com/

Posted by Friend on December 14, 2007 12:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

I started effexor for two days now, and i feel the sides effects....i cannot sleep i have a hot feeling on my skin...(clod hot) and it makes me panic even more...i think i will stop and ask my doctor what to do...

Posted by Stephanie on December 16, 2007 10:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

I've been on Effexor 75mg for about 6 years and this past year I've noticed tinnitus (ringing in the ears). I thought it might be the aging process (I'm 53) but then found this site and read at least 5 people talking about their tinnitus as a side effect. Some have mentioned their tinnitus as a withdrawal side effect.

I'm seeing my doctor in a week and will tell him I'd like to try and wean off Effexor.

Any thoughts?

Posted by Tim on December 17, 2007 2:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

I am so thankful I found this site. I have been on Effexor for 2 years and for the past year and a half have suffered debilitating brain zaps. My Dr. sent me to a neurologist, ct scans, mri's, and couldn't find anything wrong. He said it definitely was not the effexor. HA HA.
Finally, I know I'm not losing my mind. I also suffer from memory problems and not being able to focus on a conversation. The Dr. said it was age related (I'm only 46.)
I am getting off the effexor as soon as I can get in to see the Dr. I need some 37.5mg. to start dropping the dose.
From now on, I will try to find more natural ways of working out the depression. No more chemicals for me!
Thanks EVERYONE for putting in your two cents worth. I can finally feel good about me.

Posted by Sue on December 17, 2007 5:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

Within an hour of my first (37.5mg) dose, I had a major reaction. I felt wide awake and was very wide-eyed. I douln't stop moving and felt like I was high or on speed or something. I made me cry and I couldn't focus on anything. There were so many symptoms. I didn't sleep for four days. That was how long it took me to get in to see my doctor. I got off the drug and was given something to help me sleep. I had never been more afraid in my life.

Posted by Melissa on December 22, 2007 12:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been reading all of these side effects, trying to decide whether or not to take Effexor. I have had bad panic attacks and social anxiety for over a year now. They have gotten increasingly worse lately, to the point of me being SCARED to even go to the groc store in fear of being alone when I have an attack. So my Dr prescribed the lowest 37.5 dose. I have tried Lexapro before, but after the FIRST pill of the lowest dose, I was sick in bed for 3 days w/nausea/vomiting..unable to work. I cannot be in that condition and miss work..so I never took another one, and have been afraid to take ANY anxiety medicine since. I am trying to research the side effects of the Effexor before starting it, and so far, I'm leaning towards NOT!

Posted by Stefanie on December 27, 2007 9:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

The side effects of Effexor are FAR worse than the benefits... WEIGHT GAIN, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, BRAIN SHAKES! and it's IMPOSSIBLE TO QUIT!!!
******** NEVER TAKE THIS STUFF!!!!****

Posted by Anonymous on December 28, 2007 4:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been prescribed Effexor for 4 years now and I have never felt better.
I am a 48 year old male with a history of substance abuse. Since being on Effexor I have never gone back to using drugs or alcohol. At first I experienced minor problems with impotence and anorgasmia but I found that following a healthy diet and regualr exercise that those problems disappeared.
I urge everyone who is suffering from depression or related illness to not give up. If your first experience with Effexor is not effective, keep trying. Work with your health care provider and in time you should find relief.
I wish all of you the best of luck and hope the you find what you are looking for.
Allan

Posted by Allan on December 28, 2007 8:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

I was doing wonderfully well on Prozac for at least 4 years - old doc retired and new one recommended Effexor for hot flashes & depression- had a major meltdown in Oct. when I ran out and didn't take for 3 days (weeping, brain zap) and have taken faithfully ever since. Then took it after about an 8 hour delay 2 days ago - took it (150 mg) last 2 days but still am very dizzy. Will talk to doc about gradually getting off this #$%@&ing drug and returning to Prozac.
good luck and God bless you all......

Posted by jane on December 29, 2007 10:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor xr 225mg. for about 18 months and when I am 6 to 8 hours late with a dose I experience dizzing "head pulses", nausea and headache.
This drug scares the hell out of me and after reading this web info I am sure as hell going to come off slowly but surely.

Posted by bruce s on December 29, 2007 7:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

I was depressed over a break-up, and a psychiatrist put me on 75 mg of Effexor XR in April 2007, beginning with handfuls of free samples. I experienced constant fuzzy thinking and memory loss. Then, I learned of possible physiological addiction. Holy crap! I tapered off and quit entirely several days ago. While tapering off, I developed dizziness. Upon quitting, I have experienced constant vertigo and tinnitus (swooshing sounds every time I turn my head). Prescribing a drug that can be physiologically addictive is criminal. I no longer trust the medical profession, especially mental health professionals, who drive expensive cars and are in bed with pharmaceutical companies.

Posted by Christine B. on December 30, 2007 8:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

I took a hormone to reduce the size of my prostate prior to cancer radiation. I know of the side effects of the hormone and was advised by friends to consider an anti depressant. I went to my Internest and after breaking into tears he decided that an anti depressant was needed.
He gave me the sample kit of efexxor capsules and I left on a Christmas holiday. I took the effexxor for 7 days and felt no side effects but did notice some blurred vision.
That alarmed me since I have had extensive optical problems. Today I discovered this site and it has scared the heck out of me. My Doctor gave me no information on the drug except it was not habit forming...I have taken 37.5 gms for 7 days and am not going to take the 75 mg today and call him tomorrow for instuctions for quitting. If I would have had the sheet listing side effects I would never have taken this stuff.
I am just greatful I stumbled on this site. I just hope I don't have troubles tonight by not taking the pill. I am 74 years old and have enough problems.

Posted by wayne on December 30, 2007 11:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

I am 54 and I had breast cancer and a lumpectomy 7-7-06, 8 tretments of Chemo, 33 days of radiation which ended 2-15-07 WOO HOO I called my mother and thanked her for rolling me when I was a baby because I looked good bald... When your done your done, they do not send to the any therapy, which I recommend to anyone having gone thru chemo etc. I am not the depressed type, I worked and laughed the whole time I was going thru all this, yes I had bad days, sleep all week-end, but kept that smile and positive attitude not only to keep me going but my family and co-workers, I didnt want anyone to feel sorry for me, or be afraid if this was to happen to them, well around 5-07 6-07 I just was really drinking was depressed, just couldnt snap out of it, my Dr put me on Effexor XR 75MG for hot flashes and depression, and not to worry about side effects. I would have bruse for no reason, just carry a grocery bag in and my are would be black and blue, I couldnt sleep, have leg twitches, still I didnt think anything these were side effects and I could handle them. Well when the word suicide passed thru my brain I knew something was wrong, I figured that It must be because of my job, or not enought sleep, what ever excuse I could come up with, but not the Effexor, but the more I thought about it and the more I thought about ending it, (why I dont want to go, i love my family) something is WAY wrong here. I started taking my capsules apart and dumping out a few grandules, I did 30 days worth of 3/4 med, then another 30days I dumped our a little more, another 30 days, I'm now down to about 1/4 inside that capsule, and on 12-29-07 I quit !!! today is 12-31 and I feel better already, yes I have hot flashes I sprinkle water on me for that, I slept really good, and am keeping an eye on my brusing and leg twitches, I did loose weight and I will miss that. I wish I would of found this site before I started taking these. Next it the tamoxifin. bye bye baby.....Ps I was cancel Free at my last check up in November yeeeeehaaaaaa

Posted by Pam on December 31, 2007 1:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

Lisa here,

I posted in November with long term side effects from EffexorXR, complicated by Klonopin that I was put on to treat the panic attacks that it caused.

I wanted to let you all know that I've been off of Klonopin since September. I was left with bad tinnitus and memory loss. I do want to tell you that for the brain zaps, (still have those occasionally) taking Omega 3 supplements really helps with that. Look for the kind with with as high of DHA content as you can find.

I also started taking a product called Cognitex. This also helps with my general feeling of well being. It has been shown clinically to be very helpful for people with Alzheimer's, so I'm hoping it helps with my memory loss that is very disturbing to me.

I just started with a homeopathic remedy called Clear Tinnitus by Clear Products. It is only my second day, but it does at least take the edge off of it. The woman at the health food store said give it awhile, so I will post again if it really works - I know how aggravating this side effect is.

Good Luck everyone!

Posted by Lisa on January 1, 2008 6:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

wow. this drug is crazy! not us!!! I have been on it for almost 2 years and have recently decided I prefer the mild anxiety and depression. It has made me lazy, joyless, numb - not to mention the night sweats, headaches and dizzy spells. My libido has gone down, which it probably could have used anyway-lol. But, the lack of 'getting over the top' orgasm wise is just not worth it.
My doctor told me not to stop without discussing with him as the withdrawl is intense. Well....trust me when I say, DO NOT STOP without talking to your doc first. You need to wean off of it.
I am currently down to 37.5 every other day and have been for a week or so now. I could sleep all day, get electric shocks, confusion, vertigo, dizziness, numbness and tingling, and just general messed-upness.

My doctor has been great about respecting my wishes to get off of it. I have gained weight on it, which I know is uncommon but disconcerting. I really hate what this drug has done to me. More so than the depression.

I have been feeling so emotional too since trying to get off, outbursts panic, you name it. PMS is nothing compared to it.

I just hope to hell I can get off of it by this time next week. I have a few pills left and god knows, I want off so badly. It is honestly as addictive as cigarettes and is so hard when you feel bad to look at that rx bottle and know that the physical symptoms will go away if I just take one.

My doctor communicated at the beginning of this about the side effects etc., but even after I researched a lot of anecdotal evidence on my own I was unaware that it was like this.

Do NOT start this drug unless it is a life and death (ie suicidal) issue. I honestly think that it is worse than anything I ever experienced emotion wise.

Anyone else feel the same?

(not to mention the exorbitant cost, even the generic is ridiculous)

Posted by J on January 2, 2008 12:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

My husband was prescribed this medication for anxiety a few days ago. I am glad that I took the time to research it a little bit...he will NOT be taking this medication...thanks to all of you for posting this very important info!!

Posted by HEATHER on January 6, 2008 10:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

I asked my doctor about taking Effexor XR because my niece, who has had some problems with generalized anxiety disorder and some minor depression after the birth of her baby, is doing very well on it (150 mg/day). She is very motivated (works two jobs taking care of autistic adults, is taking nursing classes and is raising a toddler). I am 46 and have had generalized anxiety disorder on and off since I was 15 and had a severe post-partum depression and anxiety after the birth of my son. I was treated at that time with Imipramine (200 mg), which had many side effects, such as feeling like you are “going under” on anesthesia and may never wake up, falling forward when standing, ringing in the ears, inability to urinate, constipation, etc. I was so sick I did not even care about the side effects, and the drug ultimately got me back to normal in about five months. After that time, I only took small doses of Klonopin (.5 mg/day) for anxiety. As I am getting closer to menopause, I have had more depression around my period and was hoping that Effexor would help both my depression and anxiety, eliminate my need for Klonopin and possibly ease the symptoms of menopause. In my experience, Effexor has had both positive and negative effects. I started on 35.5 mg and worked my way up to 150 mg. On the positive side, I feel it has made me more calm, more accepting of my work situation, able to take life slower, don’t have cravings or the urge to overeat, gives me comfortable, cozy sleep (at lower doses than 150 mg), makes me feel as though I am living more in the moment and not worried about what to do next and does not seem to lessen erotic thoughts or feelings or the ability to have orgasm (may take somewhat longer). On the negative side, my doctor says that I need at least 150 mg to adequately treat anxiety and I feel better on fewer milligrams than 150 mg. Once I got to 150 mg I don’t sleep as well (wake up more often and am almost constantly dreaming), have no trouble getting up for work, but feel like laying in bed very late on weekends, feel less motivated to socialize, shop, clean my house, read, engage in spiritual work and work out (which I used to do regularly). There are moments now that I feel somewhat more depressed than before I started taking Effexor XR. In other words I feel like I had a joyless life and was just going through the motions of life before I started taking it, and now I still have the same joyless life, but am more accepting of it for the most part. In other words, I don’t feel that Effexor has enhanced my life the way that I had hoped. I am planning to titrate off of it after I see my doctor tomorrow and want to mention also that I did not have any withdrawal effects the last time I went off Effexor gradually. I do not want to discourage anyone from taking Effexor XR if they are severely depressed and need it to get well, like when I was clinically depressed. The side effects make much less difference when you are that ill, however, if you are contemplating using it for mild depression or anxiety, give it a good try, but if the side effects outweigh the benefits, try something else until you find something else that works better for you. Despite the side effects of Effexor XR, they are still not as bad as some of the old anti-depressants such as Imipramine. By all means, treat your depression. Remember, depression is an illness just like cancer (and can be just as life-threatening) and the side effects of cancer treatments can make the patient very ill before they get better, but they also save a lot of lives.

Posted by Michele on January 8, 2008 3:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

I'm a fairly "normal" female in my 30s (if there is such a thing) and was prescribed Effexor because my doctor thought me to be bi-polar as well as manic depressive. I agreed to take the medication because I knew I was depressed, just didn't believe I was manic, nor bi-polar and gave her the benefit of the doubt.
Durring the first two weeks I felt all the symptoms of an individual under the influence of the street narcotic called ecstacy... tight clenched jaw, sweaty palms, heavy eyes and out of my wits happy, but high. I was unable to sleep, I would toss and turn restlessly until the initial high wore off after about 12 hours and then I could sleep for about 4-6 hours. I changed myself over without instruction to taking the drug in the morning versus at night in hopes of acquiring a decent nights sleep, as the routine I was on hindered my schooling, my work and my home life.
The second two weeks were the same because the dosage was increased from 37.5 to 75. So I had all the initial high (narcotic high) feeling as I did in the first 2 weeks, except since I had begun taking it during the day I had began panicing at the thought of leaving the house, the tremors were increasing and I was constantly getting migraines because of the jaw clenching. My Dr. assured me that this is all just the initial feelings and that the side effects would subside once the medication began doing its work and that it doesn't really do what it's supposed to until after the 6th week. Again, I trusted her and continued the medication against my better judgment.
During the 5th and 6th week I was taking 75+37.5 and all the side effects were increased and my mania about leaving the house was limited to dropping my kids off at school and racing home because it was way too overwhelming. By this time I had missed exams and assignment due dates. I didn't have the capacity to think and my memory was significantly depreciating. I spoke to my Dr again and was reassured that it is in my best interest to continue the prescription and see it through the preliminary period since I hadn't been crying.
Yes, I had stopped crying. But I felt as if I was hiding behind a mask and the true feelings were being disguised with the medication and not resolved so I sought out psychiatric advice and was told to immediately quit taking the medication or ween myself down because the side effects I was experiencing were not worth my entire life and all my goals because there is other medication that can help the depression without jeopardizing my future.
After being on the medication for a total of 10 weeks and marked the max dossage of 150mg I cut myself down on 37.5 for a week and the subsequent 3 weeks I took a 37.5 pill when I felt that my head was fuzzy, dizzy or a headache was coming on and it has been 2 weeks since that and I find that I forget a lot of things that should so easily be remembered, my jaw still clenches from time to time, my sleep patterns are still disrupted, I have gone back to crying (just not as much as before the pills) and the vivid dreams sometimes wake me night terrors like a child.
I don't know if I would ever recommend these pills, but then my experience was clearly not successful.

Posted by Corrie on January 9, 2008 12:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

Update: The product "Clear Tinnitus" does not seem to help me. I would not say don't try it, because everyone's biochemistry is different and it may help you. I may try a chinese herbal product.

Also, I am off of Effexor for two years now and off of the Klonopin since Sept. 2007. So now I'm wondering, are these side effects permanent??? Can anyone pls respond if you are having side effects this long after going off? I'm still experiencing tinnitus, memory loss, looping thoughts (ocd-like), confusion, muscle twitching, and panic attacks at night. It's time for a law suit people. I cannot accept this - anyone interested?

Posted by Lisa on January 9, 2008 9:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

i have a ?, if i stop taking effexor without telling my doctor, will the withdrawls be the same as her taking me off them? ive been on it for almost 3 yrs now.im on the 75mg once a day. any advise?

Posted by kasey on January 10, 2008 10:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

kasey,

whether or not you tell your doc is up to you, but do know that most doctors do not understand the true extent of the possible side effects from tapering off of effexor. take it from one who knows, it is a terrifying experience, and you need to be prepared for it. i suggest taking off of work as long as you can get away with.

the longer that you take to taper off of it, the better. try tapering off of it for 6 months to a year, going very, very slowly. i am serious about this - this is similar to tapering off of klonopin & the benzodiazapines. most docs will say taper off in a few weeks, going to an every-other-day schedule.

do yourself a favor and don't even consider this. i did this with effexor and again with the klonopin and it looks like i now have permanent side effects. (brain zaps, memory loss, looping thoughts, and the most annoying - tinnitus) so go as slowly as you possibly can. i would suggest going to the "benzodiazpine island" website (you can google it) and follow their suggestions for tapering as if you were on klonopin - they give details.

good luck to you and take care of yourself. understand that you will get thru it, but that going s-s-s-l-l-low-w-w is of utmost importance. you also might want to consider seeing a therapist while you do it, it would be great to have some support outside your immediate family.

Posted by Lisa on January 12, 2008 2:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

I just wanted to add a couple of other things I've noticed:

1. Once in a while my throat gets very tingly and itchy and feels like it's about to close up.
2. I've not been able to orgasm since being on this drug and even though it's not necessary for me, it's frustrating for both my husband and me and I think it may be contributing slightly to my overall anxiety.
3. I used to be an avid reader but haven't been able to read at all since taking Effexor because I fall asleep as soon as I start reading.

Posted by Erin on January 15, 2008 8:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

I just stopped taking Effexor cold turkey about 1 week ago. Not sure it is worth it! The first week everyone i saw aggrivated me for no real reason. Now into the second week i'm tired all the time and not into anything i used to be, gym etc.. I have several other side effects but my question is how long does the withdrawl last? I can deal with this maybe for another week. I would hate to start taking Effexor again just because the withdrawl period is too long.

Posted by Tony on January 15, 2008 9:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on 75mg effexor twice a day + 5 mg zyprexa for 8 months with no side effects until now. I have developed muscle pain all over that feels worst whenever I lay down to rest or sleep. Has anyone else ever had this?
In 2006 I was taking effexor 225mg + 160 mg geodon and the side effects were unbearable with that combination. I had terribly embarassing jaw and tongue movements that would just go on all day. While I slept my jaw would clench which gave me pain in my jaw joints during the day. I had heart related side effects that scared me but the doctor couldn't find anything wrong. I couldn't drink caffeinated drinks becasue the geodon would intensify any other chemical that went into my body. When I stopped those meds all my symptoms disappeared.

Posted by veronica on January 16, 2008 7:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

I was on 225mg of effexor for 2 years and tried to go off it cold turkey and had the brain zaps so I slowly reduced the dose over a few weeks to 37.5 mg per day then switched one day to the lowest dose of prozac and had no problem with any side effects from withdrawal at all when doing it this way.
Getting off the proaz after that produced no side effects at all. Try switching to prozac or paxil from effexor first as a way to get off effexor.

Posted by stacey on January 16, 2008 7:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

This is my 2nd time on Effexor XR. First time I was on for 6 months and it help me through some depression. Had a bit of trouble coming off it, but managed to ween myself from it over approx 2 months. A year and a half later, I am on it again. 4 months now and am trying to ween off. I started on 37.5 for 2 months, then went to 75mg for a month, and now am back to the 37.5 and trying to ween from that. Side effects are mainly the brain zaps, and dizzy spells when I turn my head too quickly. I am trying to take it as little as possible and currently at 37.5 every 2-3 days, depending on when the zaps start. From reading previous postings, sounds like I need to put up with the zaps for a couple of weeks and they will stop. Hope so, it is very disturbing. Also have started the teeth clenching thing, Especially when I sleep. I find this particularily uncomfortable as I get a sore jaw from it. Was wondering what was causing it and seems that others have posted similar experiences. Overall it is hard to say. It did help me through some emotional times and I appreciate that. The side effects really suck. Not sure I will take this SNRI again. Hopefully I will never take any AD again.

Posted by rhiann on January 16, 2008 11:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

Effexor slowly lifted me from depression into a manic state. To abate my manic nature I turned to alcohol. The last 7 months I was on the medication I was hospitalized twice. I do not intend to imply that this will happen to everyone. But just very careful and stay close to family so they can see if you are acting abnormally. I had no idea I was manic until I was taken off the medication 6 months ago and slowly came down. So an outside observer is important.

Posted by Anonymous on January 17, 2008 8:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

Anon--you are so right. My husband notices more about my mental state than I do.

Posted by Erin on January 17, 2008 2:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor XR for over 10 years and want to get off. Why? Because I have NO feelings, motivation, desire. In other words I exist. That's about it. I have been researching for several days and plan to use the Road Back method of supplements and tapering. I bought the book "How to get off psyciatrict drugs safely" from them. I appreciate all the postings I have read about this drug.

Posted by Maureen on January 19, 2008 10:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

Since I wasn't going anywhere this weekend and my husband stayed home with me the whole time, I tried not taking any Effexor on Saturday and Sunday. I didn't really feel withdrawal side effects until 3:00 pm on Sunday and it all of a sudden hit me like a MAC truck. Nausea and uncontrollable crying were the main symptoms. I felt so desperate and like a junkie--I had never felt this way before and it was terrifying. I broke down and split one of my capsules and ate half of the beads with yogurt. It's about an hour later and the side effects are slightly subsiding. This is going to be so tough but I am grateful for this site because I know I'm not alone. On the plus side, I had my first orgasm yesterday in 4 months (sorry if that's a little personal) and literally cried tears of happiness. Plus, I felt like me again. It's so hard to explain, but I didn't feel like my mind was being controlled. I will stop taking Effexor and I will never ever try any drug like this again. Hang in there, everyone.

Posted by Erin on January 20, 2008 1:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

im a 17 year old male student. i recently started taking efexor and find no difference in my mood at all. i take 2 75mg tablets a day.

Posted by Anonymous on January 20, 2008 4:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hello all, did post recently but can't find it now :-(...

Have been off Effexor now for about a fortnight and am having hell.... dizzy zapping head and bad nausea.....

How long does this last?

Posted by Darki on January 21, 2008 4:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

this is my 5th or 6th time taking effexor. This time, it is due to baby blues.
I am on the 37.5mg daily dose, but I believe I need it upped a little more. I used to take 275mg, but I felt incapable of feeling `complex`emotions while the dose was that high.
So far, I am only experiencing constipation, which I have never had before. Also, the loss of appetite, again, I`ve never had that one.
I figure the side effects are small prices to pay for me to be able to function on a daily basis with my son at home with me.
I would prefer to not be constipated, however, it will go away over time.

Posted by Crystal on January 22, 2008 7:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

I had suffered a serious concusion 4 years ago. I had a constant, extremely painful headache 24 hours a day 7 days a week for 6 1/2 months straight with short-term memory loss. Although the headache stopped being continuous throughout the day, I continued to get at least one headache each day. My doctors had tried a large variety of medications to no avail. 5 months ago I was put on Effexor XR with the typical slow increase in dosage. I was told not to expect any results for 6-8 weeks. During the third week of being on Effexor I began going whole days without headaches, and when I did have a headache they were much less painful and debilitating than before. I haven't suffered any serious side effects or any that interfere with my day-to-day life. I highly recommend taking it in the morning as soon as you wake up (as my doctor instructed me to do) or else it will disrupt your sleep. Effexor has made my life so much less painful that it had been for the previous 4 years.

Posted by Whitney M. on January 31, 2008 6:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hi,

I've recently been prescribed Effexor after nearly 12 months off it.

I very stupidly, did not wean myself off the drug even when I was told by my GP I could start lowering the dose (I was at 300mg daily) I rarely noticed any real side effects from complete cold turkey apart from quite a lack of emotion for certain things. I was totally non-plussed at my sister's wedding when I should have been elated. I ballooned in weight too. I definitely slid right back into a another depressive episode so I have decided to go back to what was making me better and to get back to where I was was without being so stupid this time. It's a powerful drug which I'm sure could make permanent changes in brain chemistry - so I implore any users not to do what I did.

Posted by Ed Stokes on February 1, 2008 9:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have ADD and some slight thoughts of depression and feeling down on myself, i have thought about committing suicide many times but i kno i will never do it.....i went to a doctor and he put me on a once daily effexor xr program. The first week i took the 37.5 mg and the 2nd week i took the 75 mg. The doctor told me that it would be fine to take adderall and effexor together so i did. I took the Effexor then had to stop after the 1st week bc taking it made me feel very light headed and confused. I was also very very sleepy and yawning alot but somehow i couldnt go to sleep. My yawns were so big but after the yawn ended i didnt feel as sleepy i dont know how to explain it

Posted by Anonymous on February 1, 2008 8:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

i started taking effexor a few months ago for severe depression related to a brain surgery and an ovarian surgery caused by severe hormonal imbalance. i've been suicidal for a decade, with no good reason--i've gotten in the habit of thinking of death as the best solution for EVERYTHING--definitely not normal or nice. i've had what i call a "gray life" for the past 10 years since my brain surgery--noone ever told me that after a surgery of that sort i would need antidepressants. Since then I've felt not a SINGLE second of positive or even neutral emotion, happiness, joy, enthusiasm, contentment, love, energy, security. my ob-gyn surgeon had the brains to prescribe me antidepressants a few months ago because I was convinced i was dying and all medical tests were inconclusive. He prescribed Effexor, which is designed for people with medical histories like mine. It was a miracle for me--i was sick for about a week until the drug kicked in and my body started to adjust to it. Then I experienced the impossible: happiness, vitality, interest in life, energy, willingness, colors, passion, creativity, vision, a future, the ability to communicate with strangers, ability to make decisions, ability to get out of bed in the morning, a smile, being normal like everyone else! Amazing! Sure, there have been side effects--really nasty nightmares and lucid dreams, funky vision, momentary confusion and brain weirdness, total loss of libido (but not my obsession with finding a boyfriend who will reignite it!!), some weight gain, little bit of hair loss, occasional nausea, and the worst: REGRET AT HAVING LOST A DECADE OF MY LIFE TO AQUIRED BRAIN TRAUMA AND DEPRESSION when all i needed was little pill to make me go....
the only thing that makes me sad is that the initial fantasticness that i experienced seems to be giving way to "gray life" again. I have to try to keep myself up and remember the sensation of happiness and normalcy that I felt only recently! granted, some of the grayness is due to the fact that I'm still kinda lonely, still unemployed, and still have to confront other issues that can't be fixed by medicine. but my doggy Paloma helps me a lot with all of that! :)
good luck to anyone who needs this drug--it can make your life liveable again!

Posted by danni on February 3, 2008 8:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

i started taking effexor a few months ago for severe depression related to a brain surgery and an ovarian surgery caused by severe hormonal imbalance. i've been suicidal for a decade, with no good reason--i've gotten in the habit of thinking of death as the best solution for EVERYTHING--definitely not normal or nice. i've had what i call a "gray life" for the past 10 years since my brain surgery--noone ever told me that after a surgery of that sort i would need antidepressants. Since then I've felt not a SINGLE second of positive or even neutral emotion, happiness, joy, enthusiasm, contentment, love, energy, security. my ob-gyn surgeon had the brains to prescribe me antidepressants a few months ago because I was convinced i was dying and all medical tests were inconclusive. He prescribed Effexor, which is designed for people with medical histories like mine. It was a miracle for me--i was sick for about a week until the drug kicked in and my body started to adjust to it. Then I experienced the impossible: happiness, vitality, interest in life, energy, willingness, colors, passion, creativity, vision, a future, the ability to communicate with strangers, ability to make decisions, ability to get out of bed in the morning, a smile, being normal like everyone else! Amazing! Sure, there have been side effects--really nasty nightmares and lucid dreams, funky vision, momentary confusion and brain weirdness, total loss of libido (but not my obsession with finding a boyfriend who will reignite it!!), some weight gain, little bit of hair loss, occasional nausea, and the worst: REGRET AT HAVING LOST A DECADE OF MY LIFE TO AQUIRED BRAIN TRAUMA AND DEPRESSION when all i needed was little pill to make me go....
the only thing that makes me sad is that the initial fantasticness that i experienced seems to be giving way to "gray life" again. I have to try to keep myself up and remember the sensation of happiness and normalcy that I felt only recently! granted, some of the grayness is due to the fact that I'm still kinda lonely, still unemployed, and still have to confront other issues that can't be fixed by medicine. but my doggy Paloma helps me a lot with all of that! :)
good luck to anyone who needs this drug--it can make your life liveable again!

Posted by danni on February 3, 2008 8:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

For all of the people who get on here saying that Effexor is great, I have two words for you:

JUST WAIT.

Posted by Lisa on February 4, 2008 6:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

I forgot to post my email address. If you would like to contact me, please write to starrydarkness@gmail.com

Posted by Debbie on February 5, 2008 6:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

People, have you noticed that most of you have another problem? If, you go to any board for any medications, you will find awful side effects. Most of us would love to be like Tom Cruise and never take another psychiatric drug or any other drug for that matter. Some of you are OCD without at doubt, some are just plain hypocondriacs. I am depressed also.........have good reason to be but I will try effexor again...I had no trouble quitting it the first time. There are many meds out there, you will find side effects with all, choose the ones you can live with and move on. You have scared me into thinking I am nuts! I will try Effexor again and hope that it works for me without the side effects.

Posted by Donna on February 15, 2008 10:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

I just started Effexor about 4 weeks ago. I realize it is not fully yet in my system but my side effects (with every drug I have yet tried) are crazy. I have social anxiety and panic attacks. I tried lexapro, made me so anxious I threw up constantly. I tried zoloft and I always felt very floaty just straight up pissy, plus the diahrea and weight loss was not good (I got down to 99 pounds!). Total deadness of feelings. So as I am trying out this effexor, I realize I am much more optimistic and positive but I am SO tired all of the time. Not only that but when I sleep, I wake up SOAKED with sweat. Its disgusting. I had two fairly weak screwdrivers from the bar...came home, passed out, and when I woke up I was dizzy and hallucinating. I have constant headaches too. I haven't read anything about these side effects... most people are alert and buzzing but I am just dragging constantly... Anybody else get similar effects? I am so tired of trying meds, I just want something to work without driving me nuts...

Posted by jill on February 25, 2008 1:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hey Jill, mixing alcohol & effexor, for me, was a very bad experience. i am so fed up with meds (i had irregular heart beat, not anxiety or depression) that i do not want any newer drugs in me at all. i think most things can be addressed with alternative medicine. you might want to see a naturopath. i cannot imagine any of these psych drugs helping anyone who already has a condition to deal with. effexor & klonopin both sent me straight over the freaking edge. still dealing with lingering side effects. good luck to ya.

Posted by Lisa on February 25, 2008 10:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

I WAS WONDERING IF ANY ONE ELSE HAS HAD A WITHDRAWL PROBLEM LIKE MINE. I HEAR A WOOSHING NOISE. ALMOST LIKE A DRUMMER PLAYING A SNAR DRUM. IT DOSE NOT LAST LONG MAYBE UP TO A MINUTE OR SO. I HAVE BEEN OFF EFFEXOR FOR OVER A YEAR NOW AND I STILL HEAR IT FROM TIME TO TIME TIME. EFFEXOR DID CHANGE MY PERSONALITY. PEOPLE SAID I WAS NOT THE SAME PERSON WHILE ON IT. I DID ALSO GAIN A LOT OF WIEGHT.

Posted by Anonymous on February 29, 2008 11:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

I WAS WONDERING IF ANY ONE ELSE HAS HAD A WITHDRAWL PROBLEM LIKE MINE. I HEAR A WOOSHING NOISE. ALMOST LIKE A DRUMMER PLAYING A SNAR DRUM. IT DOSE NOT LAST LONG MAYBE UP TO A MINUTE OR SO. I HAVE BEEN OFF EFFEXOR FOR OVER A YEAR NOW AND I STILL HEAR IT FROM TIME TO TIME TIME. EFFEXOR DID CHANGE MY PERSONALITY. PEOPLE SAID I WAS NOT THE SAME PERSON WHILE ON IT. I DID ALSO GAIN A LOT OF WIEGHT.

Posted by Anonymous on February 29, 2008 11:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hello,

I've been on Effexor a cople of months and started with 37.5, 75, 102.5, 150 and 225. - first it worked great - I tried 6 other anti-depressant before and Effexor seamed the first one who really worked - but then I got horrible tention headaches - this turned into daily migraines and I had to go to the emergency room for a shoot - now my doctor and I decided to get off Effexor since the side effects are just too much for me to handle - I also gained some weight and this concerns me - I am constantly tired - Is anybody out there who also experienced extreme headaches or even migraines while on Effexor? Many thanks for the feedback!

Posted by Cinderella on March 3, 2008 10:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

Headaches & Effexor - any effexor drug sheet should provide the information that migraines are a frequent side-effect of the drug. If you go to rxlist.com you will be able to access the relevant Effexor (venlafaxine) patient information yourselves, side-effects are generally on p.3 of the drug sheet.

Effexor adverse effects: "Cardiovascular system - Frequent: migraine"

Posted by Someone on March 4, 2008 2:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

someone:

you are a pompous asshole!!!!! what a jerk.

Posted by lisa on March 4, 2008 10:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

I used Effexor Xr a few years back and went off of it due to pregancy. I honestly can't remember any side-effects from withdrawl (mommy brain) at that time. I have been on Wellbutrin for the last 19 months and LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this drug but unfortunately it just stopped working after weaning slowly off the Wellbutrin.....I just started Effexor again yesterday morning (lowest dose) and had nausea and insomnia off of 1 pill. Needless to say I did NOT take that second dose today. I'm going to see how I do without any medication for now. I originally started because of PPD...so hopefully, I can make it w/out anything. Anyone try St. John's Wort OR any other natural supplement?

Thanks,
Allie

Posted by Allie on March 8, 2008 2:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

I took this drug once because I had a few panic attacks. the first day I took that shit it wacked my brain. I felt pretty suicidal when I was on it & felt about 10 times worse when it wore off. I was getting brain shocks, palpitations, the weirdest feelings I ever had. I brought'em back to the doc after the first week & said that I'll deal with my problems on my own. In my opinion, your better off going on alcohol than any of these SSRI methlab chemicals.

Posted by Jason on March 9, 2008 9:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

I think this drug is worse than any drug on the market for side effects. I think it is actually listed as number two by the world health organization. I started on this drug for anxiety and mild depression. I have been on it for close to five years. I have spent two years trying to get off of it.

I would like to say is that it has clearly changed my personality. I became very antisocial and would rarely go out. At my peak I was taking 75 mg.
The real problems didn't start until I tried to get off this Effexor. In fact when I was on it
except for the weight gain and the personality change, it was
bearable.

The first thing I noticed after dropping the dosage was the brain zaps or electric shocks. I had no idea what was happening. I tried to explain it to my doctor but it was hard to make him understand. Finally I discovered by reading forums on the internet that is was related to discontinuation of the drug. It appears that anyone who is on this drug for a number of months will experience this. This is not so bad if you know what to expect. Unfortunately I didn’t. I believe Wyeth still claims that these shocks will only affect 2 people out of a thousand. It is more like 1000 out of a 1000 from what I have read.

As I continued to lesson my dependence on this drug I have encountered many side effects which again I was unaware of. Some of these include eye pain, headaches, red itchy eyes, eye dryness, heart palpitations or thumps (you can hear your heart beat), weakness, mood swings, severe anger, losing my hair and insomnia. Easily the worst of these is the insomnia. I went from sleeping 8 hours a night to sleeping for 3 hours a night. Sometimes I would go for weeks on 2 or 3 hours sleep a night. It was excruciating. It made it very hard to concentrate when I was awake. It was also very dangerous to function day to day like this.

The latest side effect I have run into is that I am losing my hair. Again Wyeth claims that this side effect is so low that it does not even qualify as a side effect. The thing that worries me is that this is exactly what they said about the brain shocks. I am a male so maybe there is no relation to the drug but then again how do I know. You can not trust the drug company to tell you that’s for sure. What I do know is that lately when I type in antidepressants and side effects suddenly alopecia and hair loss are popping up.

Well I am taking less than 5 mgs right now and am trying to find another drug but so far no luck. My advice to anyone who might start taking this drug is to be very very careful!

Posted by tony on March 9, 2008 10:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

I started taking effexor xr because i had recently had a baby and he had spent 3 months in the hospital. When he was finally home and then had to go back, I went straight into depression. Well just recently he passed away(he was only 4months old), but I've stayed on my high dosage of effexor through it all. Now I'm getting horrible dreams. I dream that he's come back to life and I can hold him and I feel him. When I was woken up by my dog I had to check to make sure I wasn't holding my son. I can't take the dreams anymore so I'm going to the doctor today to get switched to something else. DON'T TAKE THIS MEDICINE. The dreams are just too painful.

Posted by Laura on March 11, 2008 9:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

I started taking Effexor XR in October of 07. I missed a dose for the first time yesterday and the withdrawals came on already. They are terrible, dizziness, severe headache, feel just horrible.

Posted by Tracey on March 12, 2008 9:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

I haven't been on this board in a while because I haven't needed to be! I "convinced" my psychiatrist" that my physical side effects had to be the Effexor. I "convinced" her by asking all of my other doctors to fax my negative test results to her office for my file. I'm down to taking just a few beads of the 37.5 mg pill a day. I really did the gradual mg decrease and the withdrawal side effects were much easier to handle. Yesterday and today I did not take any, and I did feel slight nausea and brain zaps, but nothing horrible. I feel great. Like a curse has been lifted. If you have had negative side effects WHILE taking the drug and WANT to be Effexor-free, BE PATIENT and come off of it very gradually. It will change your life. Best of luck to everyone.

Posted by Erin on March 14, 2008 5:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

i lasted one day on this evil drug. i took my first and last effexor on wednesday morning and by about 6:00 p.m. i was in the emergency room. about 2 hours after i took the pill i started to sweat enormously, then i noticed my legs and hands were shaking. my heart started pounding like crazy, and racing. this went on and off all day, until it got so bad i went to e.r. (i was THAT scared) the doctor in e.r. told me to stop taking effexor. now that it's out of my system i feel 100% better. NEVER AGAIN! i'm glad it works for some people, but it sure didn't work for me.

Posted by michelle on March 14, 2008 7:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor for about 8 months. I was depressed and suffered from hot flashes due to menopause. The Effexor immediately lowered the frequency and severity of my hot flashes. I have a major side effect that is on-going. I have weird and traumatic dreams every night and dread going to sleep sometimes. I was not warned by my doctor that this would occur. I also have gained a lot of weight (which I did not need). I don't know what to do now after reading all the withdrawal symptoms that people experience. It's like darned if you do and darned if you don't!!

Posted by TC on March 16, 2008 9:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

Hi. I'm 16 years old and I've only been on Effexor 1 day. Yes, I know you probably think giving up after one day is a little foolish but if the side effects are like this after one day, I'd hate to see the long term effects. I'm having terrible headaches, sleepiness, I yawn CONSTANTLY and the yawns afterward make me feel like I'm going to vomit [and I'm Emetiphobic, which is fear of vomiting incase you didn't know, so this drug is hurting more then helping], my libido dropped dramatically, and I became edgy and moody. I was originally on this medication for O.C.D. with a slight case of anxiety and my phobia of vomiting which was part of the anxiety. I'm afraid if I stay on this medication that I will become dependent on it and be on it for the rest of my life for fear of going through withdraw. I plan on talking to my mother today about stopping the meds. I was on Strattera for 2 months and the only side effect I had on that was I was startled easily and as a result of that I had what I can only describe as mini panic attacks that usually only last anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute and a half. I think I was much better off on the Strattera and that this Effexor is no good for me. It's comforting to see the my situation is not abnormal.

Posted by Dayle on March 19, 2008 8:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

MY GOD! what a revelation! I am so glad I found this web site. I have been on Effexor XR 300 for maybe five years. I am now being weaned off. My neighbor said it was "hell" as she has been just weaning off of it. Now I am weaning off of it. It is being done in a six week session. I am now down to 75 mg a day and all hell has broken loose. I am aggressive, angry, crying and crying all the time, severe nausea and vomiting many times during the night, etc. etc. The weird this is that for all these years I have had very bad nightmares which the psychiatrist never attributed to the EFFEXOR. Also, sweating you cannot believe. Could not get ready to go anywhere that I was sopping wet by the time I was ready to leave the house and I live in a very dry climate. I thank one and all of you for all the insight above. At least now I know I am not the only crazy one while going off this med. The only thing that scares me is wondering if I will ever be normal after being on this med. One helpful thing is that I am going to a DBT class for borderline personality disorder and have learned so much and it has changed my life a lot and I am halfway through. But here I am, a serious mess (as above). My psycologist is going to contact my psychiatrist so I will email further info when I get it. I have nothing to help, Xanax, or anything else, just nothing. They don't seem to really care. As long as they can collect their money and go home to their big houses they are happy to forget us. I say this with an "attitude" because I have worked in the medical field for many, many years and know maybe more than I should. Talk to you all later and best of luck to all of you. For those of you who are new to the med and just starting to use it and think it is a great med and it is really helping you, please just consider the postings from those of us trying to get off this stuff!!!!! Later, Sandy

Posted by sandy on March 24, 2008 9:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

To TC above: I went for years with almost nightly nightmares. So horrible that I would wake up terrified. The only thing that would help was if I could tell someone about my dream. Otherwise I would be haunted by the dream all day. I too was afraid to go to bed and still am...Sandy

Posted by sandy on March 25, 2008 7:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

I went off 75mg cold turkey two days ago, 150.00 worth down the toilet........ The nightmares were horrid,,,,, Im suffering the headaches as I type this. but am so relieved not to be dreading falling asleep I really dont care.

Posted by Steve on March 25, 2008 1:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

Thought I would add to yesterdays comment.........Im sick as a dog, Cant eat anything, and have horrid vertigo......... But NO MORE NIGHTMARES. Good luck to anyone dealing with this drug.

Posted by Steve on March 26, 2008 11:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

WOW! Been on Effexor for several years, now at 300 mg daily. I'm one of those that the dr said, "you need more" when the clenched jaw, restless twitching legs and insomnia arrived. A week ago I was down to sleeping 3 hrs a night and was very angry about not being able to sleep when I realized it was the Effexor again. I've had it with the crap. I stopped it for a day, then restarted at 150 mg. I'm doing ok, but have a dr appt in 10 days and fully intend to go off this stuff. I was on Zoloft before and it was heaven compared to Effexor. When I read Portrait's posting (#467), I felt like I was reading all my side effects from the drug. I don't care about getting up and getting to work on time, bills aren't getting paid on time and not because we don't have the money, I just don't have the motivation. I never realized all this could be part of the Effexor until I decided to surf the net to see what I could find. I'll be getting off this stuff ASAP.

Posted by bvd on March 26, 2008 3:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

Just started taking Effexor 37.5mg. for anxiety last night. I woke up really early this morning and couldn't go back to sleep. I feel as if I am not all here. I keep yawning. Not really motivated to do anything.
After reading everyone's statements I am terrified of taking this medication. Not sure what to do.

Posted by Julie on March 27, 2008 7:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

EFFEXOR WORKED GREAT for me. This is worth a try. I was stressed and depressed so I tried it, and my friends noticed a big positive difference. I was also a migrain sufferer, and they magically disappeared shortly after starting. I did try to take some other anti-depressents, but the others either did nothing or made me feel too emotional. I've been off for awhile (just experienced the dizzines, but had no bad effects after about a week, and no continued side effects. Did have ringing in my ears only while on it, but everything else was really good. I've been off for over a year, but I'm going back on, because life was just so much better taking it. Some drugs just work better on some people than others.

Posted by j gal on March 27, 2008 11:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have suffered from panic attacks and depression for 3 years. I was pretty much house bound for the last few years and decided to give this pill a try. The first day at 37.5 I felt strange but got through it fine. The next 6 days where wicked! The best I had felt in years and at the 8 day mark was went I had to up it to 75mg as the doctor told me this is the level I will be at for the next 5 weeks. Day 8 I felt strange again like I had on day 1 and today is day 9 I have been so sick with diarrhea horribly! Like every 10 minutes even when I drink just water. Do these side effects go away after a few days or should I expect this to happen daily? If these side effects are daily I may stop the pills.

Posted by Mark on March 28, 2008 9:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

Tried Efxr after years of low-grade depression and anxiety. Side effects were annoying, but I felt so much better, "I can see clearly now!" However, missed 2-3 days once and thought I was tripping. (Thought I had taken TOO much, discovered I hadn't filled my pill-sorter with the Efxr.) Withdrawal was very strange, weird, uncomfortable.

I'm a nurse, so I know enough to pay attn. to side efx. Yes, the side efx are mostly known. But 2 things: (1)withdrawl efx are intense. NEVER DO THIS WITHOUT BEING FOLLOWED BY A DR. It's too risky. (2) My cholesterol & blood pressure & blood sugars all went up. Enough where I need to seriously address them all.

So, is taking 2-3 more meds. worth the help of one? Yes. I was in a MILD-MODERATE depression and hated it. I can't imagine what you poor folks suffering SEVERE depression have to deal with. Plus, I am 50 and may have needed attention in areas of BP, chol. & blood sugar anyway.

So PLEASE!!! Accept the help Efxr. can give you, monitor your side efx., and keep your Dr. posted - and DON'T go off it on your own. Too scary!

God bless you and watch over you.

Posted by Kirsten on March 30, 2008 12:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

Just to add to the earlier post. When I got pregnant with my daughter I was switched to Paxil. It did not work as well for me, but you can't take Effexor xR while pregnant. Although, I was on it when I found out I was pregnant. Everything was fine though. If you're thinking about getting pregnant I would go ahead and get on something else, that way you are not caught off guard.

Posted by red on April 1, 2008 8:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have to say that I am getting off this stuff after 2 days. I have situational depression (divorce) and finally tried to see if this would help. The first day I got the shakes so bad that I could not help my stepson with his school project. Next came nausea and vomiting, cold sweats and a stool so loose I should have starred in a pepto commercial. I cannot sleep and still have the vomiting and diarrhea, I have no energy and can't eat. I will say that my counselor did say that if I experienced this to stop right away. I just never thought it would be so intense.

Posted by Doug on April 1, 2008 9:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been taking effexor for almost a year now. I was on 75mg for six months and now on 150mg. I have severe side effects when I have tried stopping so I am staying on it for now.
For the last three months, when I refill my prescription and I start the new bottle, I have side effects again. This seems impossible. But here I am on day three of a new bottle and I fell dizzy, am having trouble getting up in the morning, feel *spaced out* and having small bouts of increased anxiety, slight weight gain. I am very frustrated by this. Not sure what to do. It makes functioning for the first few days very difficult and my work is suffering.
Has anyone else experienced this?

Posted by janet on April 1, 2008 9:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

How to Taper Effexor:

My story: Given Effexor for panic attacks back in November of 2001; my highest dose was 150mg XR (extended release) capsules/once a day for 1 1/2 years. My doctor decided it was time to come off the medication. He dropped my dose from 150mg to 75mg--I felt dizzy, impatient, had a hard time concentrating, and had diarrhea. I had no idea at that time that I was experiencing withdrawal. Suprisingly, about 5 days later I felt better. Stayed at 75mg for 6 months, then the doctor cut my dose to 37.50mg. Had all the previous problems only much more severe; I never got stabilized at 37.50mg. Then after a month he cut my dose to 37.50mg every other day--what a mess I was. Then after about 5 days I couldn't take it anymore and just stopped the medication--all hell broke loose! I thought it was just me, that I couldn't handle life and of course my doctor said it was just my original problem returning---NOT! He put me back up to 75mg and I stayed there for several months before I could even think of tapering again. When I was ready I knew I had to have a better way to taper much slower. I remembered that when the doctor started me on Effexor he had given me a 25mg immediate release tablet. I asked the doctor to prescribe me the tablets, but he insisted they didn't make Effexor in tablets---how's that for crazy---he didn't even remember starting me out on tablets! Of course I knew the tablets existed so I went to a different doctor and I have been tapering ever since at my own rate. I have had minimal withdrawal to this point and I attribute that to the very slow tapering and cutting doses at a rate between 5-10% each time.

Come to my site and read how I am accomplishing the above.

http://hopenhealing.proboards105.com/

After you log on, look under "Effexor Tapering"

There is also available a growing list of information about antidepressants.


Sweettooth

Posted by Sweettooth on April 1, 2008 4:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

How to Taper Effexor:

My story: Given Effexor for panic attacks back in November of 2001; my highest dose was 150mg XR (extended release) capsules/once a day for 1 1/2 years. My doctor decided it was time to come off the medication. He dropped my dose from 150mg to 75mg--I felt dizzy, impatient, had a hard time concentrating, and had diarrhea. I had no idea at that time that I was experiencing withdrawal. Suprisingly, about 5 days later I felt better. Stayed at 75mg for 6 months, then the doctor cut my dose to 37.50mg. Had all the previous problems only much more severe; I never got stabilized at 37.50mg. Then after a month he cut my dose to 37.50mg every other day--what a mess I was. Then after about 5 days I couldn't take it anymore and just stopped the medication--all hell broke loose! I thought it was just me, that I couldn't handle life and of course my doctor said it was just my original problem returning---NOT! He put me back up to 75mg and I stayed there for several months before I could even think of tapering again. When I was ready I knew I had to have a better way to taper much slower. I remembered that when the doctor started me on Effexor he had given me a 25mg immediate release tablet. I asked the doctor to prescribe me the tablets, but he insisted they didn't make Effexor in tablets---how's that for crazy---he didn't even remember starting me out on tablets! Of course I knew the tablets existed so I went to a different doctor and I have been tapering ever since at my own rate. I have had minimal withdrawal to this point and I attribute that to the very slow tapering and cutting doses at a rate between 5-10% each time.

Come to my site and read how I am accomplishing the above.

http://hopenhealing.proboards105.com/

After you log on, look under "Effexor Tapering"

There is also available a growing list of information about antidepressants.


Sweettooth

Posted by Sweettooth on April 1, 2008 4:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

Been over a week now........ I stopped cold turkey..... I feel much better, I sleep well and dont have the brain jiggles 24/7 Now they are about three times a day............ My appetite is back, and things are looking up. Im out of my box so to say, but plan on dealing with my problems with my therapist and not psychopharmacology.... Thats a big word for pill doctor.

Posted by Steve on April 2, 2008 12:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

Intriguing posts! I've started taking Effexor - actually the generic version about 3 weeks ago. The first few days, I experienced a lot of Yawning, but I knew I was going to be drowsy with the drug. I was instructed to take it in the morning just before I ate to avoid the potential nausea. I never experienced the nausea yet. After about a week, I've noticed a lighter feeling of mood, but wasn't certain if it was the meds or not. However, when I was a passenger in my hubby's car, I noticed that certain things I saw didn't 'freak me out' as it usually does. My body 'reacted' differently and in a good way. Many years back (in my 20's) I was diagnosed and treated for low grade chronic dysthymia. I do have winter depression and found that each year the depression got worse - to the point that I would want to hurt myself. I would often call those moods my 'black' or dark moods. Most of the time I would want to curl up in bed and not do anything. I felt listless and tired all the time even with working at a good job I enjoy all day and going twice a week for Martial Arts classes - which I still do. I get a momentary good feeling and high after the classes, then by the next morning I feel 'blue' again. I get easily irritated by the smallest things, defensive, scared, jumpy. I suffer from a lot of anxiety. Once something is bothering me, my thoughts fall into a negative pattern and it's like I'm sinking into a black hole I cannot get out of. I start to overthink things and panic. After surviving a serious attack by a stranger 6 years ago, I had suffered from Post-Tramatic Disorder and panic attacks that lasted 4 years. I'm much better now, but I still fall in those black moods. This winter was the worst and so my doctor prescribed me the Effexor. I noticed after a few days that I have restless legs..and if I try to stop my legs from moving, my arms would start..yeesh!! It would always start up by the afternoon and not settle down until I go to bed. I hope this goes away in time. I usually have a glass of wine or a bottle of beer in the evening with dinner. I found that with alchohol, while taking this drug, the intensity of the alchohol is 3 times the effect and knocks me right out. I've stopped yawning after first taking the drug a few days. I do feel tired by 5:00 pm and I tend to feel sleepier than normal by afternoon. Reading these posts has concerned me a little for when it comes time for me to ease off the drug. I remember going off, what was it..Wellbutrin? and feeling this terrible crawling itchy feeling all over my body with brain zaps for about a week....eeeugh! I have no idea how long I will be on Effexor, but so far my mood has lightened and I've had no dark thoughts. Things have been good. I was given the lowest dose for one week and my doctor has given me 75 mg for a month. Wish me luck, folks!

Posted by Diva on April 4, 2008 11:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

Well its been another week at 75mg I'm starting to feel much better, I have been getting out more and things that use to really set my panic attacks off don't bug me near as much. I'm hoping in a few more weeks i feel even better since they said it takes a few weeks to get into your system its been a little over 2 so far. So far so good the side effects went away after a few days. I'll keep everyone posted.

I also made post 588 when I first started them

Posted by Mark on April 4, 2008 11:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been taking Effexor XR for a little over a year, mostly at 300MG. I have been on many anti-depresants over the years and this medicine definitely has worked the best in controlling my depression. I am also taking Effexor for anxiety, but it doesn't work near as well in respects to my anxiety. However, as much as this drug has helped me, I'm am in the proccess of weaning myself off of it due to the HORRIBLE side effects I have when skipping a day (as many others here have been explaining). I would describe the experience as one of feeling like I'm going insane. i can't think straight, my head buzzes (I feel like I'm on illegal drugs), I get beyond aggetated, and I shake terribly. So bad that I am not able to drive. Now all these side-effects are after it has knocked me out for 16 hours. I have slept for over a day straight when i skipped a dose. All these side-effects are magnified when drinking. I do not reccomend drinking at all when taking this medicine.

It's a shame that something that works so well has to have such terrible side-effects. If you are one to take medicine regularily no matter what, i would suggest Effexor, otherwise, stay away from it, it's not worth the days it could take from you, as it has from me.

Posted by Kristen on April 6, 2008 9:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on effexor for approximately 3 months now. Starting at 37.5mg to 75 and then to 150 and then upped it to 225mg. My night sweats have increased substantially over the past month and just today I went to the emergency room, diagnosed with dystopic rection to the effexor. I was in the most pain I have experienced since giving birth to my daughter 5 years ago. My jaw made it impossible to talk. I was fo affraid, I thought I was having a stroke. After three hours in the hospital and given cojantin to release the pressurre on my jaw and to improve my speech. I will see my family doctor on wednsday I hope that this will never happen again it scarred the life out of me and my 5 year old. I thought I was going crazy.

Posted by Kathy on April 7, 2008 7:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on this drug now for 8 weeks, 75mg/per day. They first week I felt a little weird, lots of yawning, trouble sleeping and the craziest dreams. Weeks 2-6 were absolutely fantastic. I was full of energy, and felt very focued. Being someone who suffered from PTSD and severe depression for years,and after trying so many other drugs, effexor seemed like a god send. The last two weeks have been different, I am very lethargic, demotivated, all I want to do is sleep. I have high anxiety and have been having heart palpitations for the last 12 days. My Dr thinks I should up the dosage, however after reading these comments, I seriously condsidering coming off this drug completely? Any suggestions?

Posted by Randy on April 8, 2008 8:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

Whenever I hear that someone is taking Effexor cold shivers run through my body. Even after nearly two years off the drug, I still get "brain zaps." There is absolutely no way of describing this sensation. What started with cold sweats, fuzzy thinking, and spaciness progressed into hypothermia (my core body temperature went down to 96.4 F) and progressively more frequent brain zaps, not being able to find words when I tried to talk, and dullness. Anyone taking Effexor and wanting to get off it should prepare for a nightmare as well. With each decrease in dosage (its best to do this VERY SLOWLY)came severe headaches, brain zaps, confusion, and stuttering. BUT, it is so totally worth not being on Effexor! At one point I thought that I would much rather be dead than to feel the way I did (NOT suicidal thoughts just a feeling of utter frustruation).

Posted by Liz on April 9, 2008 12:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

I took this drug a week ago I couldn't get to sleep at all. Plus I felt very nervous and looked around my room like looking to see if someone was watching me.

Plus the next day I had shortness of breathe.

Doc. said to stop taking it but take it again a week later. which is today. I hope I don't go through the same crap as before.

Posted by Brian on April 10, 2008 12:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

I've been taking Effexor for 5 weeks now. This is my 3rd time trying it in the past 3 years, I stopped twice before because I was a student and it was very expensive for me. Now I'm in my 5th week (dose 75mg + 37.5mg every AM) and I'm having side effects that I don't recall having in the past. Such as chronic diarrhea, restless legs, profuse sweating, lack of appetite, eye pressure, fine motor incoordination, total lethargy, and weakness. The dry mouth, vivid dreams, nervousness, and sleep disruption are also present and familiar. Overall, my depressed mood and irritability is much improved, but I still have no interest in much of anything, I'm self isolated, and I'm having difficulty working regular hours. I'm self-employed and the months of depression and current side-effects have, to date, been negatively impacting my life for the past 13 months. I fear the diarrhea is the worst symptom because that, in combination with the dry mouth and sweating, is causing dehydration - and I live in the Southwest desert!

Posted by Delos on April 15, 2008 3:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

My doctor prescribed me Effexor XR for postpartum depression. It was not drastic depression - I was just feeling a little "blah". I was given 37.5 MG to take for one week, then I am to take 75 MG for the following week. After that week, the dosage goes to 150 MG.

Within the first day of taking the 37.5 MG, I started to feel better and more like my normal self. I had more energy and felt generally happy. The side effects were slight restlessness and insomnia, followed by a decrease in vision. I have only been taking it for 6 days, but after reading all the postings, am a bit alarmed by what this drug has done to many people, and am concerned about what might happen with the higher dosages.

I missed my dose this morning, and experienced what felt like someone shocking my eyes with electricity. Once I took the Effexor, it went away. I was surprised that after only 6 days of the small dose, it already was causing withdrawl symptoms.
I am wondering why my doctor would have me graduate to such a high dosage, especially if the smaller dose was working fine. After all, I only had a mild case of postpartum depression.

I pulled out my prescription for the 150 MG pills, and discovered that I was given so many refills through next April, that I would be able to take 4 150 MG pills a day, and still have some left over.

It almost seems as if this doctor is trying to create someone who will become dependant on this drug, and that makes me question whether or not doctors are receiving some sort of kickbacks or financial rewards for this. I can not understand why they would dish this stuff out as if it were candy.

I am glad that the Effexor made me feel better, and I do see that it helps many people as well. But, I do not think it is worth it if it is so easy to become dependant, and I think its unfortunate that a doctor would so quickly assign that much of a dose to someone like myself.

I hope that anyone who is prescribed Effexor will do their research and see if it is for them, before they actually start taking it. I plan to quit taking it, and am hoping that those little eye shocks will not last too long!

Thanks everyone for all your info about Effexor.

Posted by Nicole on April 15, 2008 2:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

I started taking Effexor XR for panic attacks that mysteriously started last year. They seemed to have something to do with menopause--I would wake up at about 3-4 am every morning with acute anxiety. Sometimes it would burgeon into a full panic attack that would last 4 to 6 hours, making going to work impossible. I knew, somehow, that this wasn't really "me" and that my biochemistry was just out of sync. The Urgent Care clinic put me on a benzodiazepine (Lorazepam?)as a bridge (it would quickly halt a panic attack) and my GP started me on 37.5 mg of Effexor XR, which ramped up to 75 mg after a few weeks. Every Saturday night I would try not taking the Lorazepam. The 8th week, I finally slept through the night and haven't had a Lorazepam or panic attack since, so the Effexor is clearly working. Lately, however, I've been REALLY tired, first after work and now even in the morning, even though I'm getting a lot of sleep. And it killed what was left of my libido. And I'm gaining weight. So I am considering trying to cut back the dosage, but am wary, given all the posts about withdrawal. I will definitely work with my GP on this.

Posted by BH on April 23, 2008 1:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

I started on Effexor within days of finding out my husband was to be deployed in Feb. 2004. The dosage was much the same as above 37.5-75-150, finally ending with 225 about a year into the 2.5 year process. Most of the side effects were bearable and quickly faded ... night sweats (just shower in the AM, right), weight gain (though it would have been nice to have been told that in advance), waking in the middle of the night (that didn't ever really fade and that's suddenly when I was hungriest). Before I knew it I was up about 35 pounds (maybe 6 months?). Then the stacking of the drugs came ... a little Lamictal for this side effect, a little of something else for that. Yeah, lack of libido, but he was gone, so who cared? not me for sure. And please, NOTHING, the kids did wrong EVER bothered me.

If I missed more than 1 dose, headaches and an inability to focus. That was a primary reason I was put on the drug to begin with ... I could no longer prioritize or complete any task because I was so anxious about all the things I had to do.

My husband came home from war angry, I couldn't get angry, and my eldest (5yrs) did whatever she could to get a reaction from me, and instead it was her father who was set off.

The most debilitating side effects for me while on the drug were mental. I am a language teacher, but suddenly I couldn't remember a word or the point I was trying to make. I would be teaching and would stop for 10-15 seconds mid-sentence, and the kids would be waiting for the other shoe to drop. When put on oral steroids for a severe asthma attack, I began to experience 'roid rage and had to take time off work. Nevertheless, I was still able to function in the classroom and students learned. What has affected me most professionally is the impulsivity I experienced while on the medication (I'd like to point out that never at any point were my students in any danger). I would still be able to keep someone else's secrets, but if I told myself I wasn't going to say something to my colleagues about something that happened, I'd find myself relating it the next day, even thinking in my head at the time that I didn't want to share it. Decisions I made at that time continue to affect how I am treated and evaluated at work, despite the fact that I took myself off the drug 20 months ago. Taper, taper, taper. The half of the 37.5 pill helped, but the every other day just made it a roller coaster that my husband couldn't ride, and neither could I.

I needed something prior to starting on Effexor, and I'm pleased that I didn't turn to alcohol instead, which was a REALLY strong possibility. The thought of it became obsessive. It did what I needed it to do ... took away the anxiety and made it possible for me to concentrate.

It also made me impulsive, loud, and occasionally obnoxious to work with. It made me slow to anger, though I've been told by colleagues that I didn't need to snap at them (I had no idea). Professionally I may never recover, though I've been off the drug for almost two years, because I cannot get my immediate supervisor to understand that those reactions were drug-related.

I don't know what the other drugs are that are out there. Buyer beware. Make sure there's nothing else that helps you before jumping on this one. It's a painful withdrawal, physically and emotionally. And I don't think there are many people out there that want to take it for the rest of their lives.

Posted by VW on April 25, 2008 6:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

I'm just adding my two cents.. I was started on effexor while under 5150 for severe depression with minor psychosis. It DID work. The side effects while upping my dose to 150 a day were really uncomfortable (I won't restate them as they've been said here plenty) but I got through it. It was more important to be stable. Now I've finally been diagnosed as BP1 and am switching to lamictal. I'm tapering off effexor slowly (down to 75 a day now) and haven't had the side effects back. I was really worried because of reading all the horror stories, but so far so good. It may be different when I taper even further, but if I taper slowly enough, it should be okay. Just saying, if effexor helps you, trust that the side effects can be manageable. It's not a horror drug for everyone.

Posted by Steph on April 25, 2008 10:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

I began taking Effexor about 2 months ago for social anxiety. I couldn't talk to anyone without my face turning blood red. When I would realize that my face was turning red, it would just get worse. I was embarrassed from knowing that the other person was seeing my face turn red. Anyway, I take 150 mg a day. It definately helps my anxiety, but I have noticed several bad side effects. Before I never used to sweat much. Now, I always feel like my armpits are sweating. I also get very thirsty. I have had terrible nightmares almost every night since I started taking Effexor. My jaws are sore because I grind my teeth every night, due to the nightmares. I also am having trouble remembering some things. My appetite has decreased and I'm very tired in the evenings. My husband would like for me to stop taking Effexor, but I can't stand the thought of things going back to how they were before. I am nervous because we have decided to try to have a baby, so I know that I will have to stop taking it somehow. The withdrawl symptoms sound very scary. Any advice that hasn't been mentioned already?

Posted by Amanda on April 26, 2008 8:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

I agreed to try effexor. Been off all psychiatric med for a year, had been on Wellbutrin for about 11 years and like it but nothing really helps the severe chronic depression. The effexor, in 2 months, caused about 20 lbs weight gain, constipation, high blood pressure, night sweats, and seems to have also given me tmj. I weaned myself off it, a bit too quickly. Interesting to hear that called "brain zaps", I experienced something like that long time ago on lsd and mescaline. The tmj stopped immediately. I am going to try st john's wort and 5-ht.
(and really don't think the world would be better without us miserable people)

Posted by Jan on April 27, 2008 11:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

I posted before about getting prescribed Effexor XR for postpartum depression. I had no history of depression, and had only told my doctor that I was feeling a little down, and tired. I was to graduate from 37.5 to 150 mg over a two week period. I had planned to quit Effexor by now,after reading about it on this site, but I am still on it. That was a week or so ago. I tried, but the withdrawl was painful, so I ended up taking it.

The low dosage helped quite a lot, and I did feel good even with some side effects. But now that I am on the 150 mg dosage, I feel terrible.

I am upset that my doctor did not discuss the possible effects this drug could cause...and I wish he had just kept me on the lower dose.

I am incredibly restless. I can not sit still and will pace around the rooms. I am constantly clenching my jaw and my heart feels like its always pounding. I haven't slept in days and have no appetite to eat whatsoever, and keep dropping weight. The only way I feel half normal is if I have some sort of alcohol, so now I am drinking like a lush to offset the Effexor effects.

But the worst effects are the mental ones. I feel as though I am in a dream, and that nothing is really here. Its hard to describe...its almost like feeling like a zombie, half alive and half dead. Also, I keep having bizarre thoughts of harming myself, which I have NEVER before experienced. Its very strange, but almost as if I am watching a movie, I will see myself stabbing my arm or something. Luckily, I know I wont actually do it, but the visions of it are disturbing and upsetting.

My doctor wants me to ride it out for awhile longer and see if these side effects go away. Yeah, right. Ill pass on that nightmare of a ride. I probably didnt need Effexor in the first place - not just for feeling a little down. Why I listed to my doctor, I have no idea.

I know Effexor has done great for some people, but I think others can just not handle it at all! I think any doctor handing this drug out should HAVE to tell you what side effects you could experience. I only learned about them after I was already taking them. It was really stupid of me not to check it out first.

I am getting off this crap ASAP. I feel waaaaay worse now then I did before I took Effexor. I have taken enough pills from my bottle to wean myself off of them, and the rest went in the trash.

Thanks Wyeth, for the nightmare.

Posted by Nicole on April 27, 2008 1:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

Been on Effexor 75mg for 4 years now. It saved my life. Gained a little weight, but libido has never been bothered. Panic attacks almost nil, still have some constant "thinking" going on right when going to bed at night, but other than that it has been a miracle in my life. ALL PEOPLE are different, and if some one is not getting the BENEFITS that this drug is intended to give, then change your RX! THEN ONLY, AND I DO MEAN ONLY WAY TO TAPER OFF OF THIS DRUG WITHOUT THE HORRIBLE HEAD AND BODY SIDE EFFECTS IS TO LITERALLY OPEN THE CAPSULE AND REDUCE THE GRANULES IN IT BEFORE TAKING IT. THE FIRST WEEK YOU HCAN REDUCE BY HALF..MAY HAVE SOME SLIGHT HEADACHES AND MILD DIZZINESS. AFTER THAT CONTINUE TO HALF THAT DOES EVERY WEEK....EVEN TO THE POINT WHEN YOU GET DWON TO THE LAST TWO GRANULES!!!!CONTINUE TO HALD THAT UNTIL YOU ARE DOWN TO ONE GRANULE. YOU WILL EXPERIENCE NOTHING SEVERE AT ALL IF YOU REDUCE THE DRUG LIKE THIS. IT SHOULD TAKE YOU ABOUT 7-8 WEEKS TO BE COMPLETELY OFF THE EFFEXOR. I did this after being on the effexor for a little over a year. My doctor told me the only way to wean off of it was to take a pill one day, skip a day, take a pill the next day, etc... which is completely retarded. Everyone knows who is on Effexor, that first pill missed after 24 hours...we are getting to that cabinet and getting that dose!! So, I did it this way, and let me tell you, although I am a nurse, I am a BIG HUGE BABY when it comes to sickness and pain. So, to all of those reading this and want to come off of this drug, please DO NOT STOP ABRUPTLY!!! It is highly highly dangerous, leading to convulsions and even death. Please reduce the effexor. The reason I started it back (after only about 2-3 weeks after being off of it completely) was because I could not stand ANY noise, and my PANIC ATTACKS returned. I was very mouthy and cruel to my kids and husband. My daughter told my husband that I was "the meanest woman in New York City. (we live in Alabama).
I hope this helps someone. Any questions, feel free to email me at crissy4162@yahoo.com

Posted by christie on May 3, 2008 11:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

Been on Effexor 75mg for 4 years now. It saved my life. Gained a little weight, but libido has never been bothered. Panic attacks almost nil, still have some constant "thinking" going on right when going to bed at night, but other than that it has been a miracle in my life. ALL PEOPLE are different, and if some one is not getting the BENEFITS that this drug is intended to give, then change your RX! THEN ONLY, AND I DO MEAN ONLY WAY TO TAPER OFF OF THIS DRUG WITHOUT THE HORRIBLE HEAD AND BODY SIDE EFFECTS IS TO LITERALLY OPEN THE CAPSULE AND REDUCE THE GRANULES IN IT BEFORE TAKING IT. THE FIRST WEEK YOU HCAN REDUCE BY HALF..MAY HAVE SOME SLIGHT HEADACHES AND MILD DIZZINESS. AFTER THAT CONTINUE TO HALF THAT DOES EVERY WEEK....EVEN TO THE POINT WHEN YOU GET DWON TO THE LAST TWO GRANULES!!!!CONTINUE TO HALD THAT UNTIL YOU ARE DOWN TO ONE GRANULE. YOU WILL EXPERIENCE NOTHING SEVERE AT ALL IF YOU REDUCE THE DRUG LIKE THIS. IT SHOULD TAKE YOU ABOUT 7-8 WEEKS TO BE COMPLETELY OFF THE EFFEXOR. I did this after being on the effexor for a little over a year. My doctor told me the only way to wean off of it was to take a pill one day, skip a day, take a pill the next day, etc... which is completely retarded. Everyone knows who is on Effexor, that first pill missed after 24 hours...we are getting to that cabinet and getting that dose!! So, I did it this way, and let me tell you, although I am a nurse, I am a BIG HUGE BABY when it comes to sickness and pain. So, to all of those reading this and want to come off of this drug, please DO NOT STOP ABRUPTLY!!! It is highly highly dangerous, leading to convulsions and even death. Please reduce the effexor. The reason I started it back (after only about 2-3 weeks after being off of it completely) was because I could not stand ANY noise, and my PANIC ATTACKS returned. I was very mouthy and cruel to my kids and husband. My daughter told my husband that I was "the meanest woman in New York City. (we live in Alabama).
I hope this helps someone. Any questions, feel free to email me at crissy4162@yahoo.com

Posted by christie on May 3, 2008 11:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

Christie,

"The reason I started it back (after only about 2-3 weeks after being off of it completely) was because I could not stand ANY noise, and my PANIC ATTACKS returned. I was very mouthy and cruel to my kids and husband. My daughter told my husband that I was "the meanest woman in New York City"

Standard withdrawal effects - hypersensitivity to sound and light, panic attacks (even in people who have never had panic attacks in their life), rage, anger, agitation, irritability...

I'm glad the drug has worked well for you, however the symptoms you list are those of withdrawal, not those that would relate to 'the original problem'; the speed of onset & the mix of symptoms experienced indicates the difference. A 7-8 week taper after 4 years on the drug, is very, very swift, and often leads to the outcome you describe.

Posted by Someone on May 4, 2008 5:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

Loved this drug till it was time to stop taking it. Started getting dizzy spells and walking into walls. Heart rate went so high a few times (after stopped taking it) I thought I was having another heart attack. (I am under 40) and although I do not believe the effexor was the cause of the heart attack, I cannot rule it out after the after-the-drug side effects have mimicked the heart attack so many times. This drug was good for me at the time though! Am happy it got me thru the anxiety/depression period.

Posted by TraceyB on May 9, 2008 1:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

Effexor should be BANNED from the shelves!! I started on the lowest dose of 37.5mg & over time I ended up on a really high dose of 187.5mg. Now i'm coming off it & I would rather be in a drug indused coma until it's all over with! The "side effects" they list are only half of what you'll end up with! They tell you that Effexor's not addictive, but it's highly addictive! It's the devil's candy & should've never been approved by the FDA!!!

Posted by Teri-lynn Martens on May 10, 2008 6:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor XR and happy with the results. I lost a little weight, I had great energy, and abundance of patients. I also noticed that my OCD had nearly completly stopped bothering my life. However, as it is a great drug, going off of it is hell, and I got worse than befor I was on it, so I had to go back on it, and I feel great again. If you go on it, you'll love it, but if you go off of it, you'll curse the doctor for doing such a cruel thing to you as the withdraw is awful!!

Posted by Christi on May 13, 2008 9:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on and off effexor for the past several years for high anxiety. I find that once I am on it for a while (37.5 milligrams) I start to feel fine and felt that I didn't need it any more. Then some event would happen in my life and the anxiety would creep back up on me and I would realize that I should have never gone off of it.

For me, I always lose around 10 pounds when I am on it. The doctor said that this is because when I am axious, I tend to hang on the weight, but, when my anxiety is reduced through taking effexor, the weight comes off. I am interested in knowing why others gain weight...have the doctors explained that??

I am a huge fan. I have had no side effects and feel like I am leading a much more "normal" life.

Posted by Kelly on May 14, 2008 8:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on it almost a month now. I'm on 75mg. I can tell a difference in my anxiety levels and panic attacks but their not completely gone. I know it isn't a miracle drug but I'm wondering if I increase the dosage if it will do better than it already has. I have been on Cymbalta and Lexapro and they did nothing for me.

Posted by ColtsFan on May 17, 2008 6:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

I've been on it for about a month, and I am VERY happy with the results. There has been some nausea, some headaches, a little sleeplessness, but it is absolutely worth it. I wonder if the people who are complaining about this drug are just exaggerating, or if I got lucky. I would rather a little nausea and a headache than all the anxiety I was living with before I started effexor.

Posted by Helping me out on May 19, 2008 10:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

My husband just started on 37.5 mg last week. He is supposed to increase the dose to 75 mg after the first week. The side effects have been pretty bad. He gets very nauseas shortly after taking it to the point that he is either throwing up or heaving. He also is having headaches as well. He takes it first thing in the morning and really isn't starting to feel better feeling till around 1 pm. Can anyone tell me if these side effects got better with time? How long till we can expect improvements? He says the depression seems better but feeling like crap all the time is no fun. I would really appreciate any feedback...thanks!

Posted by Liz on May 19, 2008 11:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

My husband just started on 37.5 mg last week. He is supposed to increase the dose to 75 mg after the first week. The side effects have been pretty bad. He gets very nauseas shortly after taking it to the point that he is either throwing up or heaving. He also is having headaches as well. He takes it first thing in the morning and really isn't starting to feel better feeling till around 1 pm. Can anyone tell me if these side effects got better with time? How long till we can expect improvements? He says the depression seems better but feeling like crap all the time is no fun. I would really appreciate any feedback...thanks!

Posted by Liz on May 19, 2008 11:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

I had some problems sleeping at first but it is better after a couple weeks. When I was on Cymbalta it didn't matter when I took it I was awake during at night and about to pass out at work. I was literally a zombie. Since I have only been on it a little over a month I can't tell you the long term effects but I have been told by family members in the medical field that it is a very difficult drug to come off of. I personally don't like taking any medications but I can tell you I was having some severe panic attacks that were affecting me hours per day every day even when there was nothing to panic about. I have never in my life had this problem and don't know where it came from but after 2 years of trying everything under the sun I was finally given effexor and after 2 weeks I feel much better. Unless I start growning a tail or a 3rd nipple I plan on staying on it.

Posted by ColtsFan on May 19, 2008 1:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

I've been taking Effexor XR since September of 2007. Before that, I had tried Paxil, Lexapro and another one that I can't remember right now. LOL I was prescribed this med after being off of anti-depressants for awhile. After an extremely "dark time" that also included severe panic attacks, my doc put me on Effexor and Xanax. Talk about being tired, holy sh-t! I initially lost weight, I had absolutely no appetite and had to force myself to eat something when taking meds. Things have been ok, although I have gained back all the weight I lost and then some. Still fatigued, but I also have Fibromyalgia, so it's a vicious cycle. I've also been a migraine sufferer for the last 18 years. The headaches that I experience if I miss a dose are HORRIBLE and take a very long time to subside. I'm so worried about taking my meds on time, every day that it has made my anxiety spike. So now I'm taking the Xanax on a more regular basis, it was originally prescribed for "as needed". I hate being on these drugs. I feel "flat" and nothing motivates me one way or the other. I've tried as much as I can to get out every day and get some exercise, watch what I eat and try to sleep at the same time every night. (Did I mention I also deal with long bouts of insomnia?? LOL) I'm hoping to get off all this stuff slowly although I know that I may need a low dose consistently. I would like to know if anyone out there has had any moderate to severe arm pain or shoulder pain when taking any of the drugs I mentioned. Or in connection with any of the conditions I listed. I have been in pain for the last three weeks. It's different from my fibro pain. Started in my left shoulder, subsided for a bit. Came back even worse and travelled to my wrist and then my pointer finger and pinky fingers started to swell. Now my whole left arm hurts pretty much all the time. Any ideas?

Posted by Tara on May 19, 2008 2:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

I'm 27 and started on Effexor in October of 2007 because of relationship problems. I started on a 75mg dose for 2 weeks and went to 150mg after. My mood improved almost immediatly. At first the only side effects I noticed were being hot all the time and vivid dreams. Then after about 2 months I noticed a loss of libido and difficulty with orgasam. About a month ago I began having dizziness that comes everyday and lasts for several hours. I went to the doctor who could not figure out was wrong. They decided to lower my does to 75mg. I went back after another 10 days of dizziness and they lowered me to 37.5mg. still with no change. In addition to the dizziness I have occasional nausea and my hips and thighs are very tender to the touch. I am a flight attendant and flying made it 10 times worse. I am currently off work for a month until they figure out if Effexor is the problem or not. I'm betting it is.

Posted by Jodi on May 20, 2008 7:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on 75mg Effexor for the last 3 months due to depression and severe anxiety brought on by the loss of a baby. NOW IF MY DOCTOR HAD TOLD ME ABOUT THE GOD DAMB SIDE EFFECTS I WOULD NEVER HAVE TAKEN THEM. he didn't tell me about them in fact he told me not to read the leaflet enclosed!!!! Disaster, so 3 months on, I am like these tablets are doing nothing to make me feel better plus the fact I knew i couldn't even think about getting pregnant again, so i decided to come off them. I just puked again on my way into work. I have brain freezes, confusion, sweets, weight loss and I feel really down. Screw those tablets, I am sticking to all alternative therapys once these disgusting tablets are out of my system. After another horrible weekend of feeling sick i am ready to kill my doctor. oh I am now on 37.5m every second day so the day i take them I feel nausea all day and the days i don't take them I have brain freezes all day!!! I feel worse now than i did before I ever agreed to take them.

Posted by Sinead on May 27, 2008 2:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

I was on effexor for a month, and first 2 weeks i felt great wow this is a miracle drug. anxiety,depression.

the beginning of the third week taking everyday at the same time
I had horrable BLACKOUTS AND SEIZIERS I fell down the stairs once luckily only bruises and no serious injury. I told my doctor he assured me that effexor couldnt cause this. I kept having the blackouts and seizers a friend found me my kids were crying they were babys i had fell to the floor un wakeable i woke up in the hospital and took me off effexor for safety measures but also saying it is most likely not the cause i to this day 7 years later have never had a black out or a siezer again

Posted by kelly on May 27, 2008 3:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on the med for approx 3 months - recommended by my gyn doc for hot flashes. Actually the med is really helping with this symptom. I do have the dry mouth and wake up in the middle of the night often. I have noticed a decrease in appetite with a weight gain - any suggestions on how to fight this. I am not looking forward to coming off the med - sounds like a living
h-ll when you do.

Posted by nurse on May 27, 2008 6:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have only been taking 37.5 for four days. Nausea, insomnia, impotence, feeling s of going crazy in my head. This stuff is worse than the anxiety!

Posted by sb on May 28, 2008 9:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

I am 18 and have been on Effexor 37.5mg for about 3 months. I ran out for a week and that was the worst week ever!! The withdrawls were severe-dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, headaches...I just wanted to sleep the whole time!! I could hardly talk without feeling sick!!! It was so painful. && since I have been Effexor I have gained 10-20lbs. When I feel I'm ready to get off the meds, I'm going to be too scared because I have already experienced some of the withdrawling in just a week!!! =[

Posted by Anonymous on May 28, 2008 2:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

I suffer from PTSD, and anxiety attacks. I have been through the ringer with meds for over 10 years now. SSRI's (Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, prozac, Luvox)have never worked for me no real side effects just did nothing. I have gone through NRI's (Strattera, Wellbutrin) with no help. TCA's (Elavil, Sinequan)gave me really bad side effects as also did Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Trazodone, and Trileptal. I also was on Effexor SR about 7 years ago but now my new doctor is trying me on it again. I can say that i am not suprised about the side effects. I have had them before. The only one that I could really do with out is the headaches.

I understand that some people seem to think that this drug is the devil. But every drug is going to effect some one else differently. Doctors are not perfect and they are not out to torture you. after all that I have been on I am finally able to say that I think i have found the answer that i am looking for. I am willing to deal with the headaches, the nausea, and the runny nose and yawning all the time. If it means that i do not freak out on the general population of the world.

Posted by Anonymous on May 28, 2008 7:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have to say I'm jealous of all the people who are sleeping heavily on effexor because being on 150 mg for about a year, I don't feel like I get a good nights sleep except for the few times I forgot a dose. And I get real withdrawal symptoms by just missing one dose, including consistent brain zaps that go through my jaw and down my hands. I also sometimes get the zaps while running, even when I'm consistently taking it. I have to say that I have had a noticeable decrease in anxiety and depression, although I feel like it was more effective when I first started, lately it feels like the effectiveness is wearing off. Being in the mental health field, I had some knowledge about the drug before I went on and I wanted to go on Effexor because of what I knew about the mechanism it works through and because other family members had a positive response, although now all of us are having uncomfortable side effects and considering going off of it. Just plain SSRI's probably wouldn't have the same side effects, but the SNRI seems to be more effective for me. Its a hard decision, but one I wish I was making on a good nights sleep

Posted by Anonymous on May 28, 2008 10:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hi all
I'm Wiseguy2010 and have been taking Effexor for 2 years since suffering a heart attack and being diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. Getting...or trying to get off it sucks!!!! The side effects are brutal and so are the Doctors that keep giving it to us. I plan on going cold turkey next month and if anyone wants to hear about my detoxing journey then please e-mail me as I will keep you informed rustyandtonyfans@hotmail.com

Posted by wiseguy2010 on May 31, 2008 2:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

Hello all-
I am a 22yr old female from MN with a bachelor's in psychology. I have been on effexor for three years for severe depression and social anxiety. I really think that effexor helped to save my life from my suicidal depression. However, I do experience strange side effects, like the electrical sensations in the brain. What the hell is that anyway? The brain isn't supposed to have any nerves, so ??? I suppose no one knows. It seems like every person who takes effexor gets this. Isn't that kind of strange?
Also, when I skip a dose or two because I cannot afford the extremely expensive drug, I become a danger to myself and others in a hurry. Reading what other people had to say about withdrawing from this drug makes me afraid of what will happen when I wish to quit taking it.

Posted by Emily W on May 31, 2008 4:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

I've been on effexor for almost a year now, prescribed for stress/burnout. Ive struggled with depression & anxiety all my life and have tried zyban & paxil in the past which were horrendous. The effexor (75mg) works amazing for me. The only thing I dont like is if I forget a dose, the next dose makes me very dizzy and nauseous. Other things I have noticed is that without the constant panic and stress, I can feel a little less intelligent at times (!) and my short-term memory is very bad.I would like to know if anyone else has memory problems? Effexor actually helped a lot with my sleeping problems, I have no problems sleeping now and remain alert throughout the day, which is more than I can say for the previous meds I have tried. Another thing that I find very interesting is that it seems to have fixed my metabolism problems _ I had to go through a lengthy medical workup (thyroid etc) before I started effexor as I had an extreme intolerance to cold. I was cold all the time (except for maybe a week or two in July)! I could never be warm and wore heavy clothes all the time, my hands and feet would go numb. This past winter was a lot more bearable for me, I am normal now, it still makes me smile to myself when I get too hot with a sweater on. The best thing has to be those flashes of happiness that come to me often now thinking about how good my life is! The future looks like a sunny day- whereas a year ago it was a dark cold hopeless hole I was digging for myself. If you suffer from clinical depression I would strongly recommend this medication, it has given me the happiest year of my life so far. Some small side effects are not even worth discussing when weighed against the benefits.

Posted by Happier on June 3, 2008 8:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

This stuff nearly killed me. My Blood pressure reached 180/140, and I had tremors for almost 6 mo.s after I quit it. I stopped seeing the shrink who prescribed it since he didn't seem too interested in my problems. My sister had similar problems, and like me quit it outright and found another Dr. The stuff shoud be banned

Posted by R. Shank on June 6, 2008 6:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

I apologize if this has already been asked...
but what are "brain zaps"?
I am going to start effexor, and would like to know what's in store for me.
Can anyone give me a description of the experience of brain zaps?

Posted by Lisa on June 8, 2008 7:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

Kitty,

It is known that a past beneficial exposure to an SSRI/SNRI does not guarantee that a repeat usage will give the same effect... it may do, it may now have no effect, an adverse reaction may now be experienced.

If you go to rxlist.com, you can access the detailed Effexor drug sheet information. Concentrate on the 3rd page:

1. fever - frequent side-effect)
2. sweating - very common 10-14%, also night sweats are a side-effect.
3. Hot and cold flashes - fever and chills are a frequent side-effect, vasodilation may also be contributing to the hot flashes.
4. Swollen lymph nodes - lymphadenopathy (infrequent side-effect), "Abnormally enlarged lymph nodes. Commonly called "swollen glands."
5. Swelling of face and neck - face edema (infrequent).
6. Skin discolouration - there are many possible skin effects, perhaps work through the list on p.3 of the Effexor sheet at rxlist.com? Hirsutism (hairiness) is also a side-effect.
7. Fatigue - asthenia, lethargy and apathy-type effects
8. Off and on Itchiness - pruritis (frequent)
9. Lymph (clear) filled little bumps on face, shoulders, and arms that look like zits but aren't, don't go away, and can't be popped or they turn into a small sore/blood blister but aren't shingles - again, refer to the skin effects, may be a form of vesiculobullous rash
10. Elevated white cell count - leukocytosis? (infrequent)
11. Off red cell count - anemia (infrequent)
12 slightly elevated liver function in routine blood tests - look under the 'Metabolic and Nutritional' heading, and there are the changes which may apply to your liver function tests... e.g. ALT AST, alkaline phosphatase, they fall into the infrequent side-effect bracket.
13. General flu like symptoms - could fall under many listed adverse effects e.g. fever, chills, malaise, neck pain, various digestive upsets, eye and ear changes...

In the one study that I am aware of, about 22% of people on Effexor showed no apparent difficulty on abrupt stoppage, over 8 days,... but there is no guarantee that someone will have the same experience after a repeat exposure.

Posted by Someone on June 9, 2008 8:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

I had a bad panic attack and was hospitalised for 2 weeks. The Doctor
prescribed Effexor, I took it for 3 weeks but due to totally confused feelings, and extreme forgetfulness I had to stop taking it. what followed can only be described as 12 days of hell, during which time I never slept a wink/ had paranoia, horrific nightmares yes while awake. Whatever you do, do not take this drug JOHN

Posted by John Stephenson on June 20, 2008 3:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

Has anyone experienced compulsive gambling or other compulsions while on effexor??

Posted by denise on June 23, 2008 6:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

strange, hearing all these effects. I'm up to 450 for severe depression that wasn't helped by other drugs. I get hot flashes, shakiness, dropping things, and tremors. These can be bad at times, but I've only been on this dose for a week. So far I have no appetite and no weight gain, and I'm really afraid of gaining more weight, so that is a concern for me. I will keep you all posted.

Posted by Jean on July 1, 2008 6:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

I've been taking Effexor for about 8 years. I was put on it for severe panic attacks and anxiety. I immediately felt better. Or to the best of my recollection! Since taking Effexor the only panic attacks I've had were when I got on an air plane. I have Xanax to help me out with that. I don't think that I had any terrible side effects from taking Effexor. My dreams could be really vivid at times and I think it really increased the amount of sweat I produced. I could sweat thinking about sweating! However, I'd rather experience those than panic attacks. Over the years I've increased and decreased my dosage several times at my doctor's discretion.

Recently I have felt that it's time to try and fly on my own without the medicine. I've been on it for so long I wanted to see if I could make it without it! Other than the panic I don't remember what life was like without it. So my doctor starting weening me off. Its the same rate some of you are saying you are starting to take the drug. Each week the dosage lowered. The first couple of days after the lower dosage my head felt very swimmy and I just felt a little off. After a couple of days it was back to normal and then time to lower again. I'm now 3 days into not taking any Effexor at all. For the past three days I've felt like I have been in a haze. I've felt dizzy and very out of it. I've been short of breath and haven't been able to sleep and will cry at the drop of a hat. Worst of all I've felt really anxious again. I find it really scary that something can effect your body in such a way. Life before I started weening off was fine. No complaints. I just felt like I needed to see how I could manage without. Now I'm in a terrible predicament. I hate the way I feel, but I also hate that a drug has that big of an effect on my body. I'm not ready to give in and start taking Effexor again, but if this keeps up..who knows!
Does anyone have any good advice on herbal remedies? Something that will help ease some of these symptoms. Any advice would be great.
emmy3@hotmail.com

Posted by DT on July 2, 2008 7:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

I began taking Effexor nearly 4 years ago. Since the introduction to this chemical, I have lost everything. My home, business, my every worldly possession, and most importantly my wife. The drug made me almost immune to alcohol and I've spent the past few years thinking that I just had a drinking problem. It began with the introduction of the prescription and ended when I went off of the drug. During that period, I lost my everything.

After the horrible side effects from the withdrawal of taking the drug, I have no urge to drink and I feel as though I have the wherewithal to get my life back on track.

I know for a fact that this drug was the root of the problem. I cannot rightly blame the physician for prescribing the drug either; as they were only given the information necessary to prescribe to me. This side effect would not have been foreseen without the proper studies being done by Wyeth.

I DO feel that there should be some sort of repercussion to Wyeth for their poor judgment on releasing the drug; as do tens of thousands of other people affected by the prescription of Effexor.

Posted by Chris Russell on July 6, 2008 8:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

Iv been on Effexor XR for nearly 3 weeks now first week 35 and now up to 75. normal side effects happened for the first 2 weeks but thankfully diminished. i was prescribed this med for GAD,Social Phobia and slight depression. the only trouble im having is with the nightmares. horridly wicked vivid nightmares. any one have any suggestions to help rid me of these terrible dreams? i should not be having dreams about me finding my 2 yr old lying on top of her mother both dead face up ina ditch filled with water. the medicine is helping with my problems but theres no way i can continue a normal life with these nasty dreams

Posted by Justin on July 7, 2008 7:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

i forgot to mention i was also prescribed 100mg of seroquel for sleep....maybe thats causing the nightmares and not the effexor?

Posted by justin on July 7, 2008 7:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

I was originally on Effexor a few years ago when I was still in High School (at 17 yrs. old). I was on it for about 2 years. It really helped me get out of bed in the morning and make it through my senior year, and my side effects were pretty mild.

The only really noticeable-or memorable-one is the DRAMATIC weight LOSS! I saw that some put that they gained a ton, but I actually LOST about 10 pounds! I am already only 5'4" and was about 125 (athletic) pounds when I first went on it, but I had dropped down to about 114 pounds! Apparently it was so noticeable that even my family physician thought I was anorexic!

What's even crazier is that it felt as if it sent my metobolism in HYPER DRIVE! Not only was I NOT anorexic, but I literally HAD TO EAT about every hour on the hour, or I would feel as if I were going to faint! It was basically like having hypoglycemia for 2 years...I think it really affected my blood sugar, and those are definitely NOT symptoms listed in the little pamphlets they include.

While that might sound good to those of you that are struggling to lose weight, it gets worse...when I went OFF the medication I GAINED 20 POUNDS! It was like someone just switched OFF my metabolism! No matter how well I ate, and even though I exercised my butt off, I gained weight. It took me FOREVER (about 1 year) to get it off.

I am finally back to my normal size (122 lbs), but I am considering going back on Effexor (I actually just took my first 37.5 pill). However, I am really worried about the weight loss/gain and blood sugar problems this time around.

My lovable dog of 14 years was put to sleep...TODAY. So needless to say, I am seriously considering going back on it. However, after reliving my experience and reading others'...I'm not so sure I want to jump on that loop again.

Posted by preciouspuppy on July 11, 2008 3:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

My Neurologist just started me on Effexor XR 37.5 for mild depression. I am about to crawl out of my skin. Everything inside me is jittery. I exploded at my wife earlier today. I am dizzy and have mild confusion, Today's dose of this stuff was my last. I can live with being a little down better that what I am experiencing. Some day FDA is bound to pull this crap off the market.

Posted by Bob Stone on July 11, 2008 1:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

im realy worried that the seroquel im taking for sleep is inhibiting the effects of my effexor!?!?! iv read that seroquel blocks dopamine etc and isnt effexor supposed to do the opposite???

Posted by Justin on July 13, 2008 11:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been taking Effexor XR for 7 years. When I first inquired to my doctor about being severely anxious and depressed he suggested the Effexor. The last 7 years, things have been ok. Within the past 2 months, I have been in counseling and of course they want me to see a Psychiatrist. The Psychiatrist thinks that I am on the wrong Anti-anxiety/depression meds so he is weaning me off. This weaning period is kicking my butt. My brain feels like it's swimming and I get these "electric jolts". I have been having suicidal thoughts for the last few days and I really hate the way I feel. I have been flying off the handle over dumb stuff and really losing my temper which is partly the other reason I got on Effexor. I am on the 2nd day of 37.5 mg and I don't know how much more I can take. I have to take this for 10 days. I feel as though I am losing it all over again.

Posted by Jenn on July 22, 2008 1:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

I was given effexor xr for Perimenopausal symptoms - which include anxiety a week before my period and mood swings, which included sadness.

My experience was, and I am wondering if anyone else had this happen?

About 3 hours after taking my first 37.5mm dose I got deathly sick. Upper stomach pain, my eyes felt like they were jumping up and down and my head was foggy. I spent the night on the bathroom floor (no vomiting)but felt horribly sick to my stomach, couldn't focus, but went to work anyways and practically slept at my desk or tried to.. (I did not take another dose which was supposed to be 1 per day) I spent the 2nd night on the bathroom floor again. The next day I felt a little better but not good at all. I remember my eyes and head felt so weird. Finally afer 3 days I was back to somewhat normal. That was about 3 months ago. And I have not tried to take it again. After reading the symptoms of beginning the drug as well as the withdrawals for quitting, I have decided that my Perimenopausal symptoms are not that bad after all. I just started taking Black Cohosh for my hot flashes. I will give that a chance. So far, no side effects from that. I will suffer through the my other symptoms for now. ANY one have that type of reaction???

Posted by Linda on July 25, 2008 9:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

Two months ago, My Dr. strongly recommended Effexor as a way to combat hot flashes and mood swings common with menopause. I am 51 years old and have never had a need to take antidepressants in my life. I discussed alternate therapies such as hormone tx but my Dr. (a D.O and usually very competent), argued against even plant-based estrogen as she stated even these had a strong cancer risk. So I agreed to 'try' Effexor. I started with 37.5 mg and after a week was increased to 75mg. The hot flashes pretty much disappeared and my "moods" evened out. After 4 weeks with only 3 pills left I called the pharmacy to refill and was told that they would need to "consult" with my Dr. and would call me back. Did not hear back from them and after 3 days I ran out of the meds and again called the pharmacist to see if my Rx refill was approved. I was placed on intermitable hold, but as I was at work, had to hang up.
The following morning I woke up crying uncontrollably, my heart was racing and I felt that I may be having a panic attack. This was horible as I am usually a very calm and rational person but now had absolutely no control over my emotions and was inconsolable. I immediately called my Dr's office (still sobbing uncontrollably) and was given the nurse who admonished me that I should not have stopped the medication as side effects of sudden withdrawal includes "rebound depression" and panic attacks. (duh...) She directed me to drive down to the pharmacy and pick up a new Rx and begin taking it immediately. It took me almost an hour to get myself dressed and drive (very slowly) to p/u the Rx. which I took immediately and within one hour I had calmed down but was exhausted for 3 full days afterwards.
I'm thinking, Oh great. . now I am dependent on this stuff and if I stop taking it will end up a wreck. This scares me. I am going to tell my Dr I need to withdraw (slowly this time) off this stuff and never again will I ever take another antidepressant. I truly believe, this drug,like nicotene, gets you addicted by changing your brain chemistry so that you become dependent on it and if you stop taking it will produce major depression - which it is supposed to treat. I tell you -these pharmaceutical companies are smart - making billions of $ in the process off of us guinea pigs and I am sure - has the docs in their hip pocket. If this works well for you and you don't mind being on it the rest of your life- good luck. However, I would much rather deal with hot flashes and occasional mood swings then be addicted to this powerful drug. I'll try alternative natural remedies.

Posted by Coop on July 26, 2008 2:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

Before going back to work after back surgery I suffered some mild anxiety, other than that my physical health was good. Just a few weeks after starting effexor I suffered extreme pain in hip joint and leg. Assumed my surgery had not gone as well as I thought. My physician order new x-ray, MRI and prescribed pain meds. About the same time I began to have a fair amount of pain in my forearms and hands. It got to the point where I lost most of my strenght. Needed double pain meds just to function. Heard back from the doctor and both MRI and x-ray showed nothing wrong with my back or hip, and steroid injections were suggessted. While waiting to see my primary physician I found this web site. I See that many other people have experienced deep muscle/bone pain. After 5 months of suffering and uncertainty I quit Effexor cold turkey on a Friday morning. I am one of the lucky few who have so far (4 days) experienced almost no side effects. BUT MY PAIN LEVEL IN HANDS/ FOREARMS HAS DROPPED BY 70%, AND SO FAR I HAVE VERY LITTLE PAIN IN HIP/LEG REGION. Today my Dr. prescribed an anti inflammatory for mild arthritis. IF ONLY THE DR'S WE OVERPAY GOOD $ TO WOULD START ASKING MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR SYMPTOMS AND THE MEDICATIONS WE ARE TAKING WE WOULDN'T HAVE TO GO THROUGH LIVING HELL AND SPEND HOURS OF RESEARCH TO DIAGNOSE OURSELVES.

Posted by T on July 28, 2008 9:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

Before going back to work after back surgery I suffered some mild anxiety, other than that my physical health was good. Just a few weeks after starting effexor I suffered extreme pain in hip joint and leg. Assumed my surgery had not gone as well as I thought. My physician order new x-ray, MRI and prescribed pain meds. About the same time I began to have a fair amount of pain in my forearms and hands. It got to the point where I lost most of my strenght. Needed double pain meds just to function. Heard back from the doctor and both MRI and x-ray showed nothing wrong with my back or hip, and steroid injections were suggessted. While waiting to see my primary physician I found this web site. I See that many other people have experienced deep muscle/bone pain. After 5 months of suffering and uncertainty I quit Effexor cold turkey on a Friday morning. I am one of the lucky few who have so far (4 days) experienced almost no side effects. BUT MY PAIN LEVEL IN HANDS/ FOREARMS HAS DROPPED BY 70%, AND SO FAR I HAVE VERY LITTLE PAIN IN HIP/LEG REGION. Today my Dr. prescribed an anti inflammatory for mild arthritis. IF ONLY THE DR'S WE OVERPAY GOOD $ TO WOULD START ASKING MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR SYMPTOMS AND THE MEDICATIONS WE ARE TAKING WE WOULDN'T HAVE TO GO THROUGH LIVING HELL AND SPEND HOURS OF RESEARCH TO DIAGNOSE OURSELVES.

Posted by T on July 28, 2008 9:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

camplakejewel: You are in my Prayers-good luck. I am so glad I did not stay with it. One dose and I felt it was wrong for me.
Sincerely,
Linda

Posted by Linda on July 29, 2008 12:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor XR for 3 months now. I just today started the 150 mg capsule. The first 2 weeks of treatment I hardly ate any food. However I got my appetite back and quickly gained the 7-8 lbs. I lost.The last few weeks I have been eating better and walking/ running like I used to last year. Is it going to be harder to get back in shape if I am on this drug? I feel really puffy and bloated and really unattractive. I am a 31 year old female.

Posted by L on July 29, 2008 2:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

56 year old male, started taking Ef XR in February 2007, suffered typical side effects, dizziness, loss of appetite, etc., however the worst symptom is what is called "depersonalization" which, after researching, I found is a frequent side effect. Depersonalization has cost me my marriage, friends, family and my job. Very simply put the Ef XR changed my personality, but in a way that I did not associate with the drug. For me, it was a slow development, hardly noticeable. But I very methodically removed people from my life for completely baseless reasons, now that I am off this %^&*$. I came off 150mg once a day dosage the wrong way. During a bout of kidney stones and ensuing infection I stopped taking the meds. Coupled with powerful paid medication, I was in the hospital hallucinating. It took about 3 weeks to shed the effects of depersonalization, but the head rushes continue. I'm trying to rebuild what I spent 34 yrs. building. Be oh so careful with this medication. Know what you're dealing with and see your doctor regularly. Don't make the same mistakes I did.

Posted by JM on August 8, 2008 3:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

I am 33 yrs. old and have been taking Effexor XR 150mg for about 2 years now, the first two weeks starting the dose was 75mg effexor tab taken twice daily (morning, late afternoon) side affects was crazy with shaking, nerves tense up hard to urinate, and insomina. It pretty much shook me up but I took a chance I continued the doses and the side affects stoped, also about yr later went to 150mg side affects was back but just for a day or two but then went away also, so I dont recomend not calling your doctor with every little side affect because sometimes you gotta just have faith to be better.
-anyway thats my story

Posted by Brian on August 12, 2008 5:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

I am in the process of weaning off. I started by dropping from 150 to 75 with absolutely no problems. When I dropped from 75 to 37.5, I felt ill for 3 days then it subsided. I have been at 37.5 for over a month, taking it every day, then every other day, and every third day. I have now ran out completely. For the past 3 weeks I've felt had all kinds of problems - nausea, diarhhea, dizziness, heart burn, crazy dreams, anxiety, and lethargy. It's been hell, but I am so far into this now that I know I can't go back. I never want to do this again. I am a perfectly healthy person who feels like someone with a terminal disease. I can't wait to get off of this shit and I would never recommend it to anyone. For those struggling with the weening process hang in there! It will get better just stay strong....

Posted by Kelly on August 18, 2008 6:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

I've been taking Effexor for about 3 years and have worked my way up to my current dose of 225 mg per day - 150 in the morning and 75 at night. Initially, I was plagued with side effects - night sweats, vivid dreams, low libido, weight gain, shakes, dizziness - but most went away. I still have occasional night sweats, vivid dreams and I've developed high cholesterol which I am working to control with diet (I never knew that it could be exacerbated by this drug). I'm a basket case if I forget a dose - v.shaky, head in a fog, sometimes a headache, lethargic - so I try not to miss a dose. Overall, the tradeoff for the continuing side effects is worth it compared to how I feel without the Effexor. I'd like to someday get off them but I believe there is a genetic predisposition to depression among the females in my family (mother, grandmother, aunts) so I don't know if I'll ever be successful. Thankfully, in all the years that I've been depressed, I've never thought of suicide. Effexor is good for me.

Posted by Junegem on August 19, 2008 11:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

I started Effexor about a month ago and am on the fence about whether the side effects are worth it. I suspect that my dose may be too high. I am taking 150 mg in the morning and at night. I am in a perpetual fog. It is actually a "flat" feeling where I don't really feel much in the way of emotions. My libido is gone entirely. I was on imipramine for a long time but the dose got too high and was no longer working so I was switched to Effexor. I am having a difficult time concentrating and my short term memory is non-existant. I was running into these problems (not the low libido) with the high dose of imipramine as well. Honestly, I just don't know what to do about this. I do have suicidal thoughts but doubt I would ever have the guts to go through with anything. My kids mean too much to me to be that selfish. I just want this all to stop. I cannot take feeling like this anymore. I am seeing my doctor this week. I am going to tell her that I need to change meds although I dread doing it. There is no hell like being too low on antidepressants when switching from one to another. Any suggestions?

Posted by HeyItsSandy on August 19, 2008 3:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

Have been on Effexor for four months now. My doctor started me at 37.5 mg and now I'm at 112.5. It's been great for me, really great. I've not experienced any side effects but am very careful to take it every day. Perhaps starting out at the lowest dosage and increasing to a "correct" one both at the beginning and end of treatment works better. I can still increase if I need to, but am taking the absolute least amount of this necessary. Good luck to everyone!

Posted by Anna on August 20, 2008 10:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on this nasty drug for a year and a bit and I used to weigh 120lbs and now I am up to 168lbs!!!! needless to say that I am not happy at all. I have been dealing with anxiety and depression since I was a kid and I am 25 now. My doc and I decided to switch me to celexa, since i was on that for a few years and it seemed to work. The nightmares on effexor are absolutly terrible and I experiance them every night. I dont care what the withdraws are like, I just want off this drug once and for all. The weight gain is extremely hard for the self esteem, and worse for the depression... all I can say is that this drug may work for some but definatly not for me anymore.

Posted by Kristen on August 21, 2008 7:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

I've been off effexor xr for about 1 month and still feel awful. I suffer what everyone has experienced but have yet to see anyone talk about the joint pains. I have shooting pains in all extremities. Also pain in my lower back that is so bad it affects my walking and steps are a huge problem. Has anyone experienced problems with breathing and air(?) around the heart? If this all ceased yesterday it wouldn't be fast enough. Never in my life have I experienced such pain other than the kidney stone I had a couple of years ago which only lasted for a couple of hours but this is continual. How long does this last??? Never again will I be put on medications such as this. Someone needs to give account for the hell this medicine puts a person through. Brain manipulation and I don't think it will ever completely subside. I just would like to know how much longer I will have to endure this pain. And I thought I had a high resilence to pain. NOT!

Posted by Greg on August 24, 2008 11:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

I was just wondering if this drug can cause severe mood disorders or violent acts??? My bf has been on this med for about a month now and hes became very hostile and abusive....

Posted by J on August 26, 2008 2:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

J,

You might find this type of reaction to be covered by the Black Box warning on the drug. It should be detailed on the medication sheet that came with the prescription. If you didn't get it, head over to rxlist.com and access the drug sheet for Effexor.

http://www.rxlist.com/cgi/generic/venlafax_pi.htm#PI

There will be 7 pages of info, and the warnings about possible adverse effects like behavioral changes and aggression, as well as the need for family monitoring etc are all there - perhaps concentrate on the 'Warnings' and 'Patient Info' sections at rxlist.com to begin with. Also click the 'Consumer' tab (towards the top of the page) and access that info too?). Alternatively you will find similar info on Effexor drug sheets at drugs.com; or the Black Box information at the FDA site, or a pharmacist may be able to provide you (if in the USA) with the necessary SSRI/SNRI information sheet.

Posted by Someone on August 26, 2008 5:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

I know how to avoid the Effexor withdrawals. I must say that this drug really works for me and that the side effects are nothing compared to the benefits I get from it. I have changed Dr.s a couple times and I have the best Dr. Now. Basically all you do is start taking the next lowest dose for 1 week at a time along with 10 mg of Prozac. If 150 then go to 75 for 1 weeks with 10 mg of Prozac then to 37.5 for 1 week along with the 10 mg of Prozac. There is yet another lower dossage of Effexor. I think it is 12.5 mg. If it is still out there then get it for 1 week with the 10 mg of Prozac and then go to effexor every other day and Prozac every day. Keep doing this until you feel comfortable without the effexor and then it is very easy to get off the Prozac. It worked for me after years of trying to get off Effexor. After two years off Effexor now I am getting back on. But I know what to do. I hope it works for you. I know that the withdrawal effects suck. Good luck and good health to you.

Posted by Nina on August 31, 2008 10:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

Going thru the bad side effects of this drug really sucks. I truely believe if it is helping you, go for it, but coming off of this is HORRIBLE!! Day 4 and I'm jittery, eyes don't focus well, want to cry at the drop of a hat, cloudy-tired all the time, gained weight. I was on it after my hysterectomy last year, had mood swings and hot flash's-- may ask to be switched to something else if i can't stand it anymore, this EFFEXOR -in my opinion- is evil and should not have been put on the market.

Posted by Joyce on September 5, 2008 10:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

My Husband has been taking effexor xr for about a week now, he started taking 35 mg and is now on 75 like the doctor wanted but he has realized in the last three days that he has not been able to ejaculate .. is this normal? and how long should he expect it to last? if anyone could let me know that would be great... i know it probably varys with different people but i just want to know if its a long lasting effect.

Posted by Jordin on September 10, 2008 4:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

I have been on Effexor XR now for about 2.5 years. I started off low at 37.5 and am now up to 150. My main side effects are night sweats, hot flashes during the day, and a little weight gain