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March 30, 2004

Comments

Michael

I wish I had seen all these postings before I first took Effexor. I can't agree more about it's Evil nature, the withdrawal, and WYETH AYERST: they need to be sued. At first it worked for the depression, but I added Welbutrin for energy and thank God I still have some Valium: I am using it to come off (one grain at a time). I was taking only 75 mg when I had what I have come to believe was situational depression and my PCP said he could not think of anything except to double the dose. I began to have vertigo, literaly walking into walls, and generally looking intoxicated (which I am). I went and got a psychiatrist, who is trying to get me off it. I ramped off of the dose quickly, and started to feel like walking death. After 4 days with none, I coudn't take it anymore, and he advised me to take 18.75mg, which I did, and felt normally like shit by the next morning. I am a biomedical researcher who works (for now) at a hospital. Since it takes me about 4 hours in the morning to feel "OK" I have taken sick leave alot, and routinely come in to work late. My boss, who is a surgeon, is going to talk to my psychiatrist "doc to doc", and has told me that she would rather I took off a month than function, as she has estimated it, at 40%. I hope I don't lose my job over this: I can't go up or down. Sorry to babble but I am so confused.

Chris

Circumstances (mostly of my own making) were such that I had to recently stop taking my medication, Effexor (Venlafaxine) 150mg time release capsules. I still possess five capsules in reserve, which I had kept aside in case discontinuation symptoms were too severe.

A year in a half ago I had been taking Paxil, and had gone off it "cold turkey", but had experienced discontinuation effects for the next several months, the most severe effects occurring, as I remember, in the second to tenth days following discontinuation. These symptoms were not too disimilar to those for discontinuation of Venlafaxine (effexor), or Paxil, as generally described here and elsewhere on the internet: I experienced nausea, with rare vomiting, dizzyness, aversion to any excercise, irritability, "helicopter brain". I also had a painful sensitivity in my brain to sunlight, and felt while upright or moving as if my head were a heavy weight precariously balanced. I was able to cope through those symptoms from Paxil withdrawal. As, I was about to withdraw from Effexor, I was prepared to face similar symptoms.

My withdrawal from Effexor has been relatively worse though, compared to my experience with Paxil. Interestingly, Effexor withdrawal symptoms did not appear until at least three days after I had taken my last pill. From what I have been reading in the last few days on the internet, Effexor leaves the brain's bloodstream more quickly than other anti-depressant medications so discontinuation or withdrawal symptoms normally begin to occur much sooner. Perhaps for me, Effexor withdrawal symptoms did begin sooner, but for whatever reason, these initial effects were not severe enough for me to take notice. For the first three days I felt quite fine.

The next few days I was able to eat little; despite constant nausea, I had tried, but food sat in my stomach in an undigested state. I had a reduced appetite, but it was not eliminated. I would vomit often, but not with any force: this wasn't as sickening as it sounds, since the food was simply sitting in my stomach as if I had only just chewed it: my stomach was evidently producing little acid or other enzymes.

I slept soundly enough at night, but had horribly gory, viscious, perverted nightmares. Ordinarily whether on medication or not, I rarely dream.

My head was thick and heavy, but not aching. I couldn't exercise, and could only walk, with effort, between the couch, my bed, and the bathroom. During Paxil withdrawal, I was able to walk more than a kilometer, without resting, despite greatly reducing my normal gait and all the while feeling quite light-headed.

These Effexor withdrawal symptoms lasted 4 days without improving. Today, I am feeling quite a bit better from where I was, but am still quite ill.

============

Although patients are suposed to consult with their doctors before going off medication, often, for various reasons patients don't do this. Mostly this may be due primarily to a patient's irresponsibility, but not in every case. Regardless of responsibility, this not good of course, but is a predictable reality.

Perhaps doctors should consider, when writing a first presciption for Effexor of more than two weeks, that an additional prescpription be written containing, for example, a one to three week course of medication of diminishing strength to used at any subsequent period when the patient wishes to go off the medication. The doctor would explain to the patient that this special prescription is to be kept separate from his actual presciption, and is only to be used, preferably after the patient's consultation with the doctor, when discontinuing the medication. Since effexor has a long shelf life, this prescription would only need to be written once.

This course of withdrawal pills may need to be somewhat different from patient to patient, and might also change as the strength of pills (mg of drug per pill) the patient is currently taking changes. However, I think it is likely that any "course" of withdrawal could be quite easily standardized into a few common types. Possibly, if a few standard treatments are possible, any course of pills could be made in a factory and sealed in such a way as to make it obvious which pill to take on what day, until the treatment is completed (similarly, for instance, to the way birth control pills are packaged).

In the event that this course of pills expires, it would cause sometimes cause small needless waste, and it also might need to be renewed or altered if the dosage has changed from when a prescription was first issued. Probably this is a very small price to pay, given the obvious prevalence of withdrawal symptoms (due to human nature) and their quite horrible effects.


Beth

Exactly how long does it take for the withdrawal symptoms to stop? I stopped taking Effexor a week ago, and the withdrawal is the worst experience I have ever had. It's like intense motion sickness. How long will I have to go through this before it's out of my system? Is there anything over the counter that eases the symptoms?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

karen

well isn't this fun- i'm sitting at work trying hard not to puke and to hold my diarrhea in. I started effucker in march and have tried 3 times to get off. what i have done this time is reduce my 75mg dose by 12 mg only and i feel like this. I had a friend who was on it and got off cold turkey but i feel that is impossible. i actually started taking the drug because my sister is a rep for wyeth and insisted that it is a good drug. at the time i was suffering from severe alcoholism- when i started the drug i was fine for the first month, after which i began drinking again. i wasn't even sure if i was supposed to drink with these pills- but i did!! and thats when all the dizziness etc. started. if i missed a dose even by an hour i would be ready to collapse. although i'm trying hard to stop taking it all together- this is my fourth attempt and i now know that my life will never be the same again- i think it will take a long tme for this drug to get out of my system- the worst thing is it has also made me suicidal and not care about anything. I have also been behaving extremely out of character, which scares me a lot. I think i will end up dead because of this drug and i don't even care anymore. I would be interested to know if anybody else has experienced these kind of feelings....

Laurie

I am on my 5th day being off FXR. I had to do it "cold turkey" because my pcp said she would give me the trial packs from the office, but lo and behold, they were out the day of my appointment, and I had taken the last dose in my bottle that morning. I can't believe how hard this is. I am either laughing or crying uncontrollably, and always at the worst times. I just was blessed with diarrhea today, although the nausea started yesterday. The first three days went by with no bad things happening. I thought I was just a blessed person. Guess not! I was at 225 mgs. and had been on FXR for about 3 years. I know that I was not supposed to do this cold turkey, but I had no choice because of the money. Today I had a friend offer to pay for a refill, but I said no way. I am never using this crap again and will gladly use something in the future that has a generic form so I can afford it. I'm hoping that within two more weeks I will feel like a normal human being again with no nausea, dizziness, severe mental instability, weird hearing issues when I turn my head, diarrhea, and so on. However, I don't feel I can blame Wyeth because they do state in their insert to not discontinue medication suddenly. This was my doing and it sucks. Thanks for giving me somewhere to get this out. It's extremely comforting at this moment to know that I am not the only one living through this hell.

Robin

As of today, I have been off my Effexor XR 75 mgs for a week. (I was prescribed this med along with HRT from my GYN doc after I had a total hysterectomy...I have been on this med for over 2 years)so.....How am I feeling? I have been in and out of the bathroom due to the excessive diarrhea. I feel very light-headed at times. I have been taking 5-HTP with B-Complex to help "lessen" the withdrawals from EFX. This has helped some. I notice I do feel calmer after I have taken the 5-HTP.

Some of the EFX withdrawal symptoms I have had are HOT FLASHES, mood swings, LOTS and LOTS of diarrhea and feeling unsure about driving, especially with passengers in the truck. I sure hope I can wean myself off this, without going crazy. I plan on keeping you posted on how I'm doing. I am very grateful that I found this website and I am grateful that I can relate to someone that has experienced the painful withdrawal from this drug. Hang in there everyone!

Jackie

I've been on Effexor for years. It feels like an addiction. I had such a bad experience today, which lead me to your article.
I'm going to talk seriously with my pdoc about getting me out of this nightmare.
I cringe to think what this drug has already done to damage my brain.

Robin

Well, I am going into my second week since my last EFX dose. I am very proud to say that my withdrawls have lessened. Before I entered the 2 week, I did experience a few crying spells and a outburst of rage. Since that happened, things have been very calm. (Thank God!)! I feel more comfortable driving than I did last week. I still have HOT FLASHES which agitation usually follows, so I have been taking the Black Cohash for that along with Flax Seed Oil. (and let's not forget the L-5-HTP with B-complex and Vitamin C) I have started exercising more which has helped me relief some stress. My libido has slowly returned. (before I stopped taking the EFX, my libido was non-existent) My husband, has been my rock through all the withdrawal "challenges". He understands that drug withdrawals from EFX, has its UGLY side and knows what to watch out for. I am hoping the HOT FLASHES will go away. I keep lots of COLD water or any other COLD liquids close by in case the HOT FLASHES try to take over.

My advice to those of you trying to quit this medication, take it one day at a time. That first week was sooooooooo dreadful, I took it one minute at a time or one second at a time! I believe that quitting this medication can work for you. What methods that have worked for me, may not work for everyone. Hang in there and surround yourself with people who love you (unconditionally). Love and support goes a long way. I'll check back next week.

Laurie

I have made it over the hump! I'm on my 16th day of freedom. The weird ear sensation when I move my head is very infrequent. The nausea is gone and the dizziness is almost gone.
I am still having wild ranges of emotions and it feels like these mood swings are going to stay for a while unless I go on something else. I have needed my xanax more in the last week than I have in the whole three years I've had it.Bad news is that a lot of the reasons I went on FXR in the first place are coming back strongly. I do feel I need to go back on some sort of AD, but am EXTREMELY leery after this experience.
I can for the most part,"put a smiley face on" during the day, but boy, I can barely wait for the kids and hubby go to bed so I can cry freely. I have to say that the last two weeks were, at this point in my life, the most scary and painful I have ever endured. Maybe my aggression and instability will also recede in a couple weeks as my body readjusts to being me (although that was what I needed FXR in the first place).
But, boy, how fun to actually want to have sex again and accomplish the goal! ;) It was a very long five years! Sometimes I think I may just grab the UPS man for a minute or two.
Again, thanks for letting this site be available for us. I would have felt even worse without hearing other people's horror stories that sound just like mine.

Joseph Wallerstein

It is refreshing to read all your comments. I thought it was me!!
I have been on 75mg for nearly three years and tried three times to ween off the drug with 37.5mg etc, but always failing due to some of the symptoms revealed, such as a remoteness, dizzy feelings (especially after waking up in the night) and mood swings. I also excercise regularly and keep as fit as possible.
I am now embarking on the fourth attempt and been on 37.5 for a week, which is somewhat difficult again. I intend to carry on and welcome any advice.

 dave

I was diagnosed with fibromylgia today. The rhuematologist proscribed EFX. Sounds like I should steer clear of this stuff. Anyone have experience with alternatives ? I have psoriatic arthritis too. thanks

Molly

I have been on Effexor for almost 3 years. I am now coming off of it and I literally feel like I am dying. My vision is royally screwed up..like lint balls are floating all around me. The brain zaps are HORRIBLE. I am at work right now, wishing I was dead. I can't stop shaking or crying and even though its 90 outside, I can't stop shivering. My doctor is not taking me seriosuly, saying the dry heaves (72 hours non stop now) are part of a flu and that I could not be experiencing these horrible symptoms from withdrawal. So what the hell are they from then? I am suicidal and cant stop crying. If I leave work, I will lose my job as I have already missed too much work due to this. So yes, right now, I would rather be dead than experiencing this withdrawal and NOONE is taking me seriously. How the hell can I be faking this? I am off my rocker and need help. The doctors are no help, my family doesn't understand...where do I go from here. I am ready to check myslef into the loony bin.

SAndy

Just read posting by Molly posted today, I feel for your situation and am to just weening of effexor and have been for over 3 months. took 75mg for almost 2 years for post partum depression after t he birht of my 3d child. I am so mad, just like everyone else, at the mds for not telling me this was addictive. I am now only making it because i sought out the treatment of an accupuncturist. My treatments have been very effective and I always feel better and sleep better on the day after my treatment. I go tomorrow and can't wait. She does treatments aimed at detox and overall energy flow and balance. Although expensive, ($65. for 1 hour) and ofcourse the insurance that paid for me to become addicted to this medicine does not cover my current treatments. I wish you well, and hope you are able to seek out an outlet that will help you get through this.

sandy

I am now on my 6th day w/o effexor after going through 3 months of weening off regimen. Had an interesting conversation with my prescribing MD today. I called in to make him aware of the severity of my withdrawal symptoms and ask if he had any information about time frame, suggestions, etc. Our first round of conversation went something like this: he doubted that the symptoms I was having were from effexor withdrawal and he recommeded me going back on the drug if I could not function. He said Effexor was not addictive and he had had no experience with other patients having severe symptoms as I had described. After explaining to his nurse that I was sure the brain fuzzies I had were caused by the absence of effexor, and I wanted answers, he suggested I either go back on the drug and take longer to ween off, take Ambien to help me sleep or see a psychiatrist, afterall he prescribed this drug to me for PMS mood imbalance. I now realize I should not have trusted him. I indicated that none of these were plausible and he needed to contact the manufacturer and provide me with some information about the longevity of the symptoms, if there is permanent damage, and suggested coping strategies. He finally must have consulted the web or something, and agreed that there is a "withdrawal syndrome", but neither he nor his partners had seen symptoms this severe from the newer XR version of the drug, which I find hard to believe since his PA, two weeks ago told me that it could take 6 months to a year to be symptom free. It was a very frustrating day spent trying to convince my prescribing physican that what I was experiencing was real or at least have him admit it. I hold him partly responsible and will not let him be silent. I expect him to get answers from the manufacturer about recent research, afterall it's his job. Thanks for allowing me to tell my story it really helps to relieve some of the pressure.

Robin

Well, I am on my 3rd week and Effexor XR free! My withdrawals are minimal. I am down to one tab of (Solaray brand) L-5-HTP with Vitamin B complex and Vit. C per day. I have experienced headaches throughout the week. (Advil and Tylenol have helped with this). The nightsweats and hot flashes are up. Thank God for cold showers and black cohash. I have NO DESIRE to take the Effexor XR again, nor would I recommend it to anyone.

In response to Molly's posting. Molly, my best advice to you is surround yourself with people that love you unconditionally and find another doctor or licensed nurse practioner to get you started on your withdrawal program. You need friends, not critics. I will be praying for you and that God will heal your body, mind and spirit. My husband can testify to this, this has been a tough battle to conquer for me and for him. We still have a ways to go. We know we are over half way there to freedom from this drug. Hang in there, Molly and everyone who is trying to wean themselves off this drug. Take it one day (or minute or second) at a time.

Molly

First off, thanks to all you folks who offered sound advice and kind words. I have been off of Effexor for 9 days now...WOOHOOO! I will NEVER let that poison near my body again. After reading Sandy's post about her doctor's reaction, I am a bit relieved that I am not alone, but more scared that this is common practice for doctors. We go to them with these horrible symptoms and we are told they are in no way connected to Effexor and if they are, we should just keep taking it. My doc actually told me I should consider making a lifetime commitment to Effexor. I pour my heart out to him, telling how scared I am of these brain zaps and every other horrible withdrawal symptom and he says I should just consider staying on it, FOREVER. Needless to say, I told him HE WAS NUTS and switched docs. My new doc does NOT prescribe Effexor and has not in almost 3 years. She actually believed me when I told her what I was going through, I couldn't believe it. She was sympathetic and didn't call me crazy once! (Boy, did that feel good!) There isn't much she could do for me, but she listened and made suggestions and the best thing yet, she told me she didn't want me on Effexor ever again and she believes wholeheartedly that it is a very dangerous drug. It was so comforting to be taken seriously.
As I said, this is my 9th day off and it is getting a bit better every day. The brain zaps are about 30% less frequent, but the nightmares are getting bloodier and scarier. My mood is about the same, still having frequent crying bouts and screaming matches with anyone who will give in. I can't wait until this is over and I am myself again. My poor family is effected by this almost as much as me. I am going to owe them about a million apologies after this. But I am very lucky to have a family and a fiance who love me unconditionally.
Thank you all again for you kindness. May we all be strong and win this fight against Effexor. I am SO grateful to everyone who shares their story, it is why I knew I wasn't nuts in the first place! I just hope people keep spreading the word about the dangers of this poisonous drug and that doctors start listening to their patients and taking us seriously. Maybe then, people won't have to withdraw like we did becuase they won't go on it in the first place. If I was armed with this information 3 years ago, I would have never taken that first pill that started this all.

Joseph

I am now down to taking 18.5 mg in a concerted effort to come off eff. Previously I have had to go back on, but finding this website has given me a new perspective on this drug, especially the fact I am not alone.
I have the light headed feeling and slight dizziness, but am determined to win the battle.
Does anyone have any good advice how to proceed from here?

Kelly

I have been on Effexor for more than 3 years to combat by anxiety. Having recently quit the high stress job that helped to put me on this medication, my physician and I made a joint decision to go off of it. I am 43, healthy, non-smoker and on no other medication...seemed like an easy decision.

Because I have experienced the "withdrawl symtoms" before when I was traveling a forgot my pills, I knew it was important to come off of the drug slowly and easily. My Dr. gave me two starter packs and we reversed the order of taking them to get me weaned off. Her hope was by one pack -- well, one pack later and I'm in living hell.

I have made it through two days without anything, but my head is pounding, the shakes and electric shocks running through my body are blinding, the vertigo is death-defying -- not to mention the gas an dbloating, the vomiting and "flu-like" symtoms. This is hell and feel I have become no better than a drug addict!

My doctor suggested 37.5 mg to get me through -- but I feel like I'd be back, hooked on the drug again. So I started cruisingthe web and came across another site. Found this -- which is the approach that I'm going to take. My husband is aa pharmacist and he's agreed that this would probably be my best route (be advised that the granules may have an awful taste!) But this is my last hope to get me through the madness and off of Effexor for good...Best of luck to all of you! See you on the oher side of this hell... (excerpt for other site follows with more gradual weaning off process...)
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Nearly two weeks after I stopped the Effexor, I started having extreme irritability & very negative thoughts, followed the next day by nausea and vertigo. Also, I had crying spells. I phoned my Dr. who said that crying wasn't a withdrawal symptom. Since my symptoms worsened the next day, he wanted me to try taking 37.5 mg of the Effexor to see what would happen. Within one hour, I was nearly symptom free. He said that I seemed to be especially sensitive to the drug. He then put me back on 37.5 mg for one week, and then approx. 18.75 mg for another two weeks. Well, the withdrawal symptoms started all over again. Couldn't have this happening at work. I decided to go back to the 37.5 mg. and taper off very slowly - either that or take time off work to get through the withdrawals. I have literally been counting the granuals (there are about 90 in a 37.5 mg capsule). On July 20, I started at 60 granuals, and decreased by 5 every few days to where now, on August 24, I have been taking 20 granuals a day for the past week. The entire time I have been nauseous. My Dr's phone msg. reply was that vertigo, not nausea, is a withdrawal symptom. Actually, I thought vertigo caused nausea. Over Labor Day weekend, I plan to stop the Effexor I hope that any symptoms will disappear over 3 days. Please help me.
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Answer Posted By: Forum-M.D.-RG on Monday, August 26, 2002

I think you are doing the right thing by this extremely gradual tapering off. Everybody reacts differently, and you know your body better than anybody. I would predict that you will be through with this nightmare by the end of labor day weekend.

John

I;m in the same boat.... Slowly tapering off this shit. Has anyone read Peter Breggin's "Your Drug Could Be Your Problem"?? Jusy curious.. John

Warbride

Hello all, brave souls.
This is a long post, so I apologise now for the size of it, but maybe this will help some of you who are coming off this evil, evil drug.

I have been off EffexorXL for just over a year now. It was a slow and painful process, and it took a long time. However it can be done. I tapered slowly and then used good quality 2x500mg of standardised St John's Wort, per day. I took a good multi vitamin. I also started smoked dope to counteract the dizziness and nausea. A month and a half after coming off the Effexor I stopped smoking the dope. I would take Valerian and Rescue Remedy to counteract the panic attacks, and stayed on the St John's Wort for 3 months after coming of the Effexor. I tried to steer clear of alcohol, and got a few shaitsu treatments to help the drug work it's way out of my system. I slept a lot. Sleep helps the body heal. Good friends can help you too. Do your food shopping once a week so that you can rest. You may not be able to work.

You can get off this drug. You have to do it very slowly, and with each "step" of tapering, allow your body to get used to the new reduced dose for 3-4 days, before reducing it further. This will reduce the Brain Zaps a little. Drink plenty of water. Try to eat healthy food. Watch nice films, Have lots of grapes and dried banana chips as snacks, they will help elevate your mood. don't worry if you can't concentrate enough to read. This will pass. Burn 2-4 drops of bergamot on an aromatherapy burner to help the emotional jags. Drink Earl Grey tea, it also contains bergamot and will help with the crying. Read the Harry Potter books and watch the films. They are not too demanding on your levels of concentration and will make you feel safe.

If you don't smoke dope or object to dope, then try valerian twice a day. Keep a journal and write everything down.

When I started to read the comments here, I thought I would look through the diary I kept at the time to see if there was anything that you guys could relate to or laugh at. I found this. It's a little dark, and it does contain some swearing. I don't feel bad now. In fact I feel content, I got married a couple of months ago to a wonderful chap, and I now finally feel ok again. You can get through this. You can. You just have to fight it, don't let the drug win.

Anyway, here is the very angry excerpt from my diary.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"My pill made me feel safe. I had these nice little peach coloured Effexor tablets that were formed in the shap of little houses. Like monopoly pieces.
Because suddenly Hahahahahaaaaa ! I had an answer. I could erase the symptoms of a not “nice” life. I could pretend to be “nice” like everyone else. I could even joke about my madness and “nice” people would like me!

I could get a “nice” job, work with “nice people”
I fell in love with a “nice” boy, who told me I was "Mad but Exciting"
Suddenly I saw myself in the mirror. I was a “nice” person.
Life was “nice”

And then I came off the pills.
Not carefully over a slow period of time as I later found out I should have. Nah, not for me, all that shaving chalky slices off my perfect ‘lil houses… I had mislaid my prescription, I thought “what the hell. I have a nice life now. I’ll kick them.”

In the space of that weekend I lost my job, my dumb boyfriend and my sanity.


……………………………………………

This is what the Doctors say;

“You should take these for a few months and then you can come off them… see it as a little break. If you have a cold, you take a Lemsip, what is the difference?”

This is what they mean;

“Take these. Go away. I’m depressed too. My husband is sleeping with a younger woman and I don’t give a damn about your twenty something misery, it is time for my meds”

This is what you get;

SRRI, remember this, it means Serotonin ReUptake Inhibitor or something. Or does it mean something else…I’m not sure…I was a little upset when it was prescribed and not thinking clearly….er…But it’ll fix me right?

This is what it does;
Fuck knows what it does…there is no conclusive medical evidence to say that these little poison apples do a damn thing. Apart from make fat drug company execs rich enough to fuck their “Mad but Exciting” mistresses without their wives finding out.


Enjoy the sickness

And here is the crunch, I preferred my life before the drugs, I hated it to of course, but the good bits were good and the bad bits were bad. A little tlc, therapy and clay was what I needed. Enter Happy pill and suddenly the bad bits are really fucking bad like being hit with a really big brick, really really hard in the head. Oh no, sorry…that’s what the good bits are like.
The bad bits I cannot describe without wanting to beat myself into a pulp...the bad bits make me want to annihilate my face, my self.
Exit

Taper
When you come off drugs you must taper them.
What does that mean?
I’m still not sure. For me it means scratching away at the lil peach house before eating it. Scratch away a bit more each time. Ignore the crippling side effects and smile indulgently as people tell you to cheer up and refuse to hear that your symptoms are real and the drugs are fucking you up, even though it says so in a million different ways in the press, media and films. Do not attack a care worker “Renfield” style if they say “Ah but that negative article is about Seroxat…that’s not the same as your drug is it?” whilst smiling and dismissing you. Do not pin her down by her throat and tell her that the side effects are pretty fucking real and that she can be the first victim of Effexor Withdrawal related Murder if she likes.
Instead show compassion for her ignorance and be aware that the reason she is a bitch is because she desperately needs a good hard fuck from a Mad but Exciting 18 year old with smudged black eyeliner and a tattoo of Sid Vicious on his forearm. Oh and otherwise they will stick you on a good anti psychotic and then more drugs and hey presto, your life is over because of a ignorant comment by someone with no compassion. Etch her smug smile on your face, memorise it and swear to never wear it when in the company of any fragile soul.

Brain shivers
These are great fun. You can sit down stand up move around turn your head sharply, sneeze, laugh….without feeling as though you have a sharp pin scratching your brain clay. Watch in amusement as nice people try to pretend that you can’t feel it and ignore you when you say you feel very sick.

What to do
Pray.

Helpline numbers ie the Usual Non Specific ones…
Are usually answered by Nice people who are very well meaning but know nothing.

These are nice films about bad drugs - Harvey : Drop Dead Fred

The drugs don’t work. The drugs kill your spirit. Slow death.

Only your spirit can save you, your raw life force, your energy. Your dreams. The drugs stop you from dreaming. Instead they often give you nightmares.

The only thing that can save you from yourself is self love. Nothing else matters. We try to pretend that there is more to life than love. When we deny love we deny the spirit of the Gods,
When we deny love, both the ability to love and the ability to be loved, when we deliberately hurt someone who loves us, when they do it to us…When we stop believing in love and the magic that love creates, we drive another nail into the palm that tries to soothe us.

At this stage I am 31 days clean of the drugs, it is hell and I am screaming suicide at those closest to me, I am wondering if this nightmare can end at all, and then I remember that the Seratonin in my brain has been so far messed up that there is no point even trying to be happy until the natural balance is restored. The Docs know nothing, it seems, or at least they aren’t admitting to it if they do. The web has a bit more to offer, some good sites like http://www.join-the-fun.com/effexor.html have helped, but why oh WHY won’t your docs tell you what a fellow sufferer can?

It’s so very tiring to have to put down the phone and feel your face crack each and every day. Sometimes I pray, to something out there. Some days it’s all forgotten amongst rented videos, pizza boxes and bottles of wine, a boy with a smile, a friend with a present, a tidy bedroom, a rainy day and a hot bath. Some nights it is utter madness and I find myself on my hands and knees on the pavement outside a club waging war at myself and the Gods. Even the silences are intense, and that’s the problem really…always such eye burning intensity, never being able to just…what is that word? To chill out. I have no idea what that means.

Sleep…Marvellous, measureless thing.
I find when it gets too much I sleep. Shut down.

Remembering that there are some things worth getting up for.
I’m still trying to remember. Oh yes, there are somethings worth getting better for. Effexor is sickness. Hope is the cure"
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So there it was, I was hugely angry and suffering badly at the time. But a year on, I can assure you, it is a lot better. These days I am a normal weight (not frighteningly thin) I can drink at weekends, I take Valerian occasionally for anxiety and I have started to go out on my bicycle regularly. It's been slow. for 6 months after coming off the drugs I was still feeling jagged, but it's beginning to come together.

Please feel free to email me if you want to know more about how I came off Effexor. I'm sorry about the swearing.

lloyd penner

What a wonderfull experience I am in for (mabey) Only been on for 2 1/2 months @ 75 mg. People don't like the change in my personality and I don't feel the same any more. So I did what I should have before starting effexor. I researched it. Guess what! not encouraging. 7 years ago I took zoloft for bp. (always been a bit moody) missed my breakfast on day and took it anyway. Heart attack symptoms at work and poof I was in the hospital for a week, medivaced to the city for open heart bypass. Given an angigram and told I was perfect and not to come back.(I knew I was strong physically but no one listened) I knew the only new thing in my life was zoloft for the past 3-4 months but know one listened. after getting out of hospital I retook zoloft with and without food and woo hoo same exact symptoms. But know one belives (except my wife because she monitered the experiments with me) Recently I felt I needed help again for my poor mental health. Presto Effexor. Well like I said it wasn't too good and now I have quit cold turkey. Day three feel kind of weird but now too bad. Hope this is it but after reading on it I have my doubts. I think from here on out I will take my chances with depression and if it kills me at least it will be by natural causes (sort of)

lloyd penner

Wow! I should have proof read. Usually I have very good typing and spelling skills. A side effect, or just not paying attention? anyway

L penner

Well day 4? or 5 not positive. anyway on the way up again. Feels good. No real bad reaction from sudden med stoppage. somewhat lightheaded, feel a bit like I smoked pot but I didn't. No worries.

Molly

It is now my 17th day off of Effexor and life basically sucks. Over the past 2 weeks I have been in the hospital once, (they wanted to admit me to the psych ward, but I refused), been to a counselor, a psychiatrist and my PCP 3x. Seems like everyone has a different opinion. My new psychiatrist thinks I should have never been put on Effexor for depression, she thinks I am bipolar and have been misdiagnosed all along. Whatever they say, I know the Effexor is the cause of these evil shakes and brain zaps. Maybe not so much responsible for my mood swings? I'm really not sure anymore, all I know is that I am going through the worst time in my life and I blame Effexor for most if not all of it. I just want to get better, I really just want to be myself again!

SSRI Soljah

Aloha all,

First, let me say as I sit here in Paxil widthdrawl hell that there is hope even though the medical community doesn't want to give it out very easily. I have treatment resistant depression (TRD) and have been on just about every damn AD there are minus the MAOI (I can't take them for other reasons).

My Effexor widthdrawls were pretty bad with the usual symptoms (pardon my poor spelling and grammer, but I'm have a tough time with blurry vision and that general memory funk topped off with migraine-like headaches), and my PDoc new nothing about tapering off the drug. I started Effexor as soon as it hit the market. My Paxil CR widthdrawls are even worse, but share almost the same exact symptoms of coming off Effexor...I won't elaborate since others have detailed them in ther other posts. I've been on Paxil and Paxil CR for over 3 years now. It's been the only SSRI that has given me any relief from my depression, which i've had since I was a kid...34 now. One of the worst things for me about these drugs are the effects they seem to have had on my creativity. I'm a writer and wanted to have a career as a screenwriter...i got into UCLA's MFA screenwriting program back in 1996 and completed one year before dropping out due to my depression.

Enough background info, let me give you all some good news. The reason i'm stopping my Paxil is because after doing a ton of research, I found what looked like a promising drug for depression with very minimal side effects (mostly constipation at higher doses and somulence). The drug is called Buprenex and it's an opiate-antagonist composed of .3mg of buprenorphine in a saline solution. It's meant to be used for post operative pain and/or migraines, but has been used off label to treat depression and is now being used at much much higher doses to help people widthdrawl from opiate addictions (this class of buprenorphine is subutex and subonex and comes in doses much higher than Burprenex, but the are all really the same thing).

But getting a PDoc to prescribe you Buprenex, which only comes in injectable form, is easier said than done even thou buprenex has shown to have almost no physical widthdrawl symptoms and doesn't seem to be dose tolerant. For more info on this and it's use for depression check out the study that Charles Bodkin did at Mclean Hospital (Harvard). There are some other links, but i don't have any on the laptop right now. I'd say Buprenex is a wonder drug for me...after about a week of taking .3mg two times a day intranasely (not injecting it) I felt my depression was starting to slip away. 2 weeks later my friends and family were blown away with the change in me. And the Burprenex was my last option before i was going to submit to ECT, which i never did.

There is all kinds of reasons the pharma companies haven't really pushed Buprenex as a treatment for depression. Originally it was going to be an over the counter analgesic, but the FDA placed it as a Class IV controled substance (I hope i'm remebering the class structure correctly with I being the illegal drugs and IV being in with benzos and those sorts of drugs). Anyway, they found buprenorphine in the form of Subutex (subonex is the same only naxalone is added to it) to be awesome at getting people off hardcore opiates in place of drugs like methadone. So the pharma company decided to do a full court press and market this drug (not Buprenex) only for opiate addiction and Buprenex has just slipped thru the cracks. For me, it's saved my life and given it back to me also. After being on it for 8 months with my Paxil, I was feeling "normal" which was odd since I've had depression my whole life...institutionalized at 15 for depression/suicide. I decided to taper off the Paxil (one of the dirtiest SSRI's in what parts of the brain it affects) and see if 1 dose of buprenex twice a day was all i needed. Well, I'm down to 12.5mg of PaxilCR and am going thru hell with withdrwals (btw: I have stopped buprenex cold turkey before for 2 weeks w/o and widthdrawls, but within a few days the depression started to sink back in), but it seems that the buprenex is even helping with the widthdrawls! As the dose of buprenex begins to wear off the widthdrawl side effects get much worse.

Buprenex might not be for everyone, but if you can convince your PDoc to prescribe it, you might be very very surprised at how effective it is at treating depression/anxiety. My depression has been very severe and you may even find a lower dose could help you. The problem is that the DEA reclassified buprenorphine (this covers Buprenex, Subutex and subonex) making PDocs much more hesitant to prescribe it. Both subutex and subonex are ONLY for addiction treatment and the physician needs a special license from the DEA to prescribe to a max of 30 patients at a time. Any doctor can prescribe Buprenex, but so many people in the medical field are ignorant of the difference between the 3 burenorphine drugs. You could go to a family doctor, tell them you have severe headaches and they "could" prescribe Buprenex, but they probably wouldn't.

You can also "aquire" Buprenex in a pill form from overseas in .2mg doses. Some online pharmacies in Australia and Thailand offer it, but it's very expensive and is technically illegal to order from the USA, but that's how I first started taking it since my Pdoc wouldn't prescribe it. Then I went in with my parent and a few close friends who basically testified as to how great this drug has been for me. After providing my Pdoc with all the info I have been able to collect from the net and with my families backing, he's been having no problem giving it to me and it is a real life saver, life changer. I'm utterly shocked that this drug isn't more widely prescribed for depression...minimal side effects, not dose toterant (at least it hasn't been for me so far) and no physical widthdrawl effects. This stuff would put the makers of SSRI's right out of business if it was used for depression. I also had a history of alcohol abuse to self-medicate the depression, but had stopped drinking for 2 years before I went on Buprenex. Before the Buprenex, I would often have a craving to drink from time to time...since I've been on the Buprenex that has gone away entirely. Not surprising, since they recently found a genetic connection between depression and alcoholism.

Okay, sorry for so much info, but I wanted to let everyone out there suffering know that there is hope. Do some research on "Dr. Bodkin and Buprenex" to get started or I'll try and post some links when I'm back on my home computer.

We need to get this reliance pdocs seem to have on SSRI's and some of the others and try some of the new stuff like Buprenex...I wonder how many other drugs are out there that can help our situation, but just aren't considered for various reasons. With Buprenex, pdocs are concerned with what the professional community will think when the prescribe a "narcotic" for depression (even thou narcotics were widely perscribed in the 40's and 50's for depression). Buprenex is an opiate-antagonist which is important to note. When I take I vicodin for a migraine I can feel it in my system and feel a little flush ect...with buprenex, I feel no sedation, no euphoria or anything like that...I just don't feel depressed anymore which is awesome.

Now if I can just get this Paxil flushed from my system!

Good luck to everyone out there...I feel for each and everyone of you. Don't give up, because there is a drug that will work for you and not have such nasty side effects. If you want to try buprenex, arm yourself with all the research and data you can and tell your doctor it is your right to have access to medicines that may help you because they will be very very hesitant to prescibe (especially because about 95% if them have never heard of it and often get it confused with the other 2 forms requiring DEA approvement to prescribe), and the don't want to tarnish their reputation with their professional peers by appearing to be prescribing a "powerful narcotic" for depression. When I get back strains or other injuries and take Buprenex it does nothing to help with that sort of pain management (at least not in me), but it does relieve depression!!!

My good thoughts are with you all. One day an even better medication will come out and well all be back to enjoying and taking part in life...hang in there and never give up!

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