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Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news

Posted by Aldus Huxley on April 21, 2004, at 18:57:35

In reply to Re: Effexor withdrawal - very bad news, posted by collegeguy on April 16, 2004, at 21:37:24

I started taking Effexor XR (150mg) in June of 2001 when I was diagnosed with GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) and ADD. My pdoc also prescribed Wellbutrin for the ADD and also for purposes of counteracting the sexual side effects I was experiencing with Effexor (really weird orgasms). I didn't particularly enjoy the Wellbutrin, so after a series of other dopamine increasing drugs, I ended up with Adderall XR (now at 30mg) which I feel has helped immensely.

So, although I never had a real problem with Effexor, by December, 2003, I felt its efficacy was questionable and thought if I could get off any med it would be a plus. So I decided to go off of the Effexor. However, I was apprehensive about asking my pdoc to stop taking it since she was prescribing the Adderall (and also Xanax and/or Valium) and I didn't want her to think I was skipping the SSRI just to take the potentially "fun" meds. She trusts me and I am really not abusing the Adderall (ok, admittedly, I OCCASIONALLY will chew one before going out on a Friday night, but that's about it, as I would rather utilize them for my work day). In other words, I was just concerned she would stop prescribing the Adderall.

So, to do this on my own, I basically started dividing my Effexor XR 150mg capsules into two doses by opening the capsule and splitting the beads. I did this for about two weeks, then began dividing the 150mg into 3 doses, taking one of these thirds each day. Finally, I was down to dividing it by 4 (approximately 37.5mg now). After about two weeks of this, I would take a 37.5mg dose (approximated obviously) every other day. After around 1 week of this, I just stopped. I suffered the "brain shocks" somewhat, but understandably, nothing like those I would experience if I missed a 150mg dose two days in a row. I also suffered a little depression and some spontaneous crying or exaggerated emotions (i.e. for no real reason I remember starting to cry in the middle of the movie "Daylight" with Sylverter Stallone--perhaps I was just happy those people were getting out of the tunnel safely!).

Also, during this whole withdrawal process, I took 5HTP (and a lot more magnesium and inositol) hoping this would ameliorate any withdrawal effects (can't say for sure if these other compounds helped, but it definitely helped psychologically--in that I thought I was benefitting my brain with the mag and inositol, and boosting serotonin a bit with the 5HTP).

These mild withdrawal effects lasted maybe 2 weeks and then I was fine. For about 2-3 months afterwards however, I would get the familiar "brain shock" (albeit a mild one) when I was stressed over something, but now, I don't notice any withdrawal effects at all.

So, if you want off of Effexor, just do what your pdoc would do anyway--titrate down. It was painless (for me anyway) until I stopped completely, and as stated, the withdrawal affects then were rather mild. Even if you are on 75mg or 37.5 mg currently, just follow the above recipe (or, better yet, act in concert with your pdoc and get the approriate prescription strengths).

For me, Adderall XR was the ticket to productivity, focus, and mood enhancement/anti-depression. I don't want to be on it forever, but until some of the more significant professional and personal problems in my life subside, I am content with taking it.




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