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Susan Ivy
Susan Ivy, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 4057
Experience:  BSN, MSN, CNS
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It has been 4 days since I have weaned off Effexor 37.5. I

Customer Question

It has been 4 days since I have weaned off Effexor 37.5. I did a slow taper from 150mg over the course of a few months. The most annoying symptom is the brain zaps (I think that's what they're called). If I move my eyes to the left it's like my brain is slow and I get this whoosh feeling in it. I'm taking Omega 3s, a multivitamin and ginger for the nausea. I also have clonazepam if needed. Is there anything else I can do to help this symptom??
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Karel1 replied 2 years ago.
I was on effexor and had to come off it about 10 years ago. I had the same brain zaps it took a good year to be rid of all side effects.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
I want advice on how to help with the symptoms
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

I am sorry to hear of your problem, which indeed is fairly common if weening off antidepressants but can be very uncomfortable.

You have a few options,

1. You could of go back on a very low dose of the Effexor and ween more slowly.

2. If you are interested in non-medication ways to deal with this, besides the vitamins , Omega 3's, etc., you could try supplementing with precursors to seretonin. This will allow your body the opportunity to manufacture more seretonin, if you are not getting enough precursors in your system.

Two supplements that you can try are Sam E, and 5-HTP. Do not try both at once, at least in the beginning. See how you do with one at a time. Also note that supplements like this don't work quite as quick as medications. Although you may see some improvement in one or two days, it may take a month and up to 3 months to see the full results. The full results include mood improvement. They should help with 'brain zaps' a little sooner, but this is variable from person to person.

Additionally there are foods that contain tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin. These will not work as fast as the supplements, but if you don't include these in your your diet already, you may want to make sure that you begin. Foods that include tryptophan include: turkey, yogurt (I'd suggest a Greek Yogurt Like Fage, that has less sugar than many of the yogurts, that decrease the fat content and increase the sugar content - high sugar foods can result in fairly severe mood swings in some people), eggs, nuts, beans, fish, and cheese (especially Cheddar, Gruyere, and Swiss cheese), cottage cheese, chickpeas, sesame seeds, walnuts, bananas, sunflower seeds, mangos, oats, and spirulina.

How is your physical activity? Getting in 30 minutes of walking a day or other continuous exercise causes the body to manufacture more seretonin and endorphens and helps with sleep.

Folic acid is also a precursor to seretonin and has been found to be low in some people with depression. Good sources of folic acid or folate are chicXXXXX XXXXXver, lentils, kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, melons, oranges, strawberries, leafy greens, broccoli, spinach, and asparagus.

Vitamin D can also be low in people developing depression (as well a fibromyalgia - a condition of aches and pains) so you may want to evaluate whether you need to supplement or include more foods with this vitamins in your diet (especially if you do not get 15 minutes of natural sunlight per day). Of course, egg yolk; fish liver oil (such as cod); fatty fishes such as mackerel, tuna, and salmon; and shitake and button mushrooms.

I hope this is helpful for you. Please do reply if you would like any more information; expected more details, or anything else. I will help you as long as necessary.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm trying to get pregnant so I'm trying to avoid any medications. I love your advice and I am doing all the above things. I'm on a prenatal and taking Omegas. What about tryptophan supplement?
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 2 years ago.
5 HTP is basically a tryptophan supplement. It is a metabolite of tryptophan, so might work a little quicker, and is safer than tryptophan supplements (in the past there was a batch of tryptophan that was contaiminated and caused neuromuscular damage in people). I don't even think you can buy pure tryptophan to take any more.

Still happy to answer any other questions you have.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Just one last question, I promise!!! If I needed something for sleep when I'm pregnant what would be the safest? I heard Benadryl and Unisom help...
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Just one last question, I promise!!! If I needed something for sleep when I'm pregnant what would be the safest? I heard Benadryl and Unisom help...

 

Also, how long does it take for Effexor and Clonazepam to leave your system?

Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 2 years ago.
If you are looking for something more natural, a low dose of Melatonin is very helpful for sleep. Some people make the mistake and take too much though and it can make you sleepy the next day, so start with just 1/2 mg. Take the 5-HTP at night too, as it can be calming.

Do watch for side effects, for example if you have very vivid dreams and you are taking melatonin and 5 HTP together, you may need to stop the 5 HTP.

Don't forget the Sam- E either. It is a precursor to the norepinephrine, which is one of the components of Effexor. I just would not recommend starting all of these things at once, or if you do, start all in very small doses. These are all actually fairly powerful supplements.

Also, I just was reading again and it is important for you to have enough vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid for the Sam E to work well, and these are good vitamin to take anyway, if they are not included in adequate amounts in the mutliple vitamin you are already taking.

And don't worry about asking me more questions, that is what we like here! Also, if you every have any questions in the future, you may put 'To Susan Ivy' in the title, because there are several other experts named Susan here.

As far as Benadryl, yes, it is helpful in inducing sleep too.

I am not quite as familiar with Unisom, but just looked it up and see that it is added to several over the counter decongestants and sleep aids. It seems to be fairly safe, but benadryl in particular is known to be safe during pregnancy. I would again, not take multiple things at once, especially until you know how they effect you.


Susan Ivy, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 4057
Experience: BSN, MSN, CNS
Susan Ivy and 6 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 2 years ago.
I'm looking up the half life to effexor and Clonazepam. I know Clonazepam is longer than effexor. I'l get back to you shortly.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Any idea on how long it takes for each to get out of your system?
Expert:  Karel1 replied 2 years ago.
I am opting out.
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 2 years ago.
The Effexor XR (which is the extended released form that most people are prescribed) actually has a fairly quick half life (quicker than it's absorption rate) so by 3 days the drug is completely out of your system. But you need to understand, that this does not mean that the effects of the drug stop when it is gone from the body. The SSRI's and SSNRI's (such as Effexor) actually change the structure of the brain over time (actually in a positive way) so the effects take longer to completely resolve or go away.

Give me a minute and I'll get back to you on the Clonazepam.
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 2 years ago.
The Clonazepam is a long acting benzodiazipine, which means that it can two to 4 weeks to completely leave your system. It varies from person to person related to the amount you were taking, how long you were taking it, and liver function and metabolism. But since you are likely young and healthy otherwise, it will probably be on the shorter end.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

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