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DR MED MD, Board Certified MD
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 2407
Experience:  MD
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I have taken 300 mg of Effexor for one year. Eight weeks ago

Customer Question

I have taken 300 mg of Effexor for one year. Eight weeks ago I started reducing the drug by 75 mg each week. I experienced horrendous headaches, severe joint pain, extreme agitation, among other quite unpleasant side-effects. Upon complete withdrawal after the week of 75 mg, the effects were magnified. I endured this with the help of 3 Xanax per day, 1 Soma at night and after six days went back on 75 mg for three days, I then took the capsules apart, counted out the nodules, and took 3/4 of the 75 mg for three days, 1/2 of the 75 mg for two days, 1/4 the of 75 mg for two days and then quit. I still had severe anxiety for the entire two weeks I was off of it, but I was even breaking the Xanax in half toward the end. I then went to a new doctor (mine moved to Oregon about two months ago). I had seen him once and mentioned my plan for withdrawal with which he concurred. But because of the continued anxiety I returned to him. He told me to take Sam-e (an all natural anti-anxiety medication), a B-complex vitamin as well as putting me back on 37.5 mg of Effexor which I've only taken for four days thus far. However, during these last four days, my agitation has been worse than ever. Also, the other symptoms have returned (joint pain, headaches, and strong suicidal thoughts). I do have a history of suicide (2) but I believe I've got that under control. In your expert opinions should I or should I not continue the Effexor after I was off it for two weeks?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  DR MED MD replied 9 years ago.

Welcome to just answer.

You have done a well job bu reducing the dose slowly and it was the right way to do this.

Withdrawal symptoms usually reduce with in few weeks normally 4-6 weeks slowly but sometime they can stay even for longer.

It is better not to go back anti anxiety medication and try on natural remedies.

You have to just relax and calm down these symptoms will disappear slowly.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
You didn't answer my question. I asked if I should continue taking the 37.5 mg of Effexor after being off of it completely for two weeks.
Expert:  DR MED MD replied 9 years ago.
If you are having severe withdrawal symptoms which are not tolerable like agitation, anorexia, anxiety, confusion, fatigue, headaches, hypomania, insomnia, nausea, nervousness, nightmares, sensory disturbances,sweating, tremor, vertigo, and vomiting.

It will be better you take you doctor advise before you take medication.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Your reply was of no help whatsoever (take your doctor advise before you take medication.) You cannot be serious! What doctor advise should I have taken before what medication I took? The medication I'm taking can only be prescribed by doctors. P.S. It's "doctor's advice", not "doctor advise).

Expert:  DR MED MD replied 9 years ago.
Please do not accept the answer if you are not satisfied. I will opt out so that other expert will answer your question.

I hope it is fine with you.

Since you have stopped medication and having withdrawal symptoms and want to start again i have to tell you take you doctor advise because i have to examined you in person and he is the person who knows you condition well and can examine you also.

Thanks a lot
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Apparently no one's been listening thus far. I've been taking the SAM-e the doctor recommended as well as the B-complex vitamin. Maybe some more history would help. I've attempted suicide twice (in '89 & '91) due to intolerable pain. This is ABSOLUTELY NOT a threat and I try not to think that way any more, but nothing recommended is helping! This anger and these violent feelings and something I've NEVER experienced in my life! So unless you've a better suggestion than to "take it easy" your advice use useless.
Expert:  DR MED MD replied 9 years ago.
What drugs are you taking now?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Dr. AM MD's Post: I'm taking 50-1,000 mgs of Janumet for Type 2 Diabetes (2x/day), 25 mgs of HCT for BP, 90 mgs of Armour for thyroid 1x/day (my thyroid is 184 pts. low), Bayer Heart Advantage (81 mgs) 1x/day cause I'm 60, three gelcaps of flaxseed oil/day w/Omega 3, 2 caplets of SAM-e/day, 1 capsule of Kelp (for the iodine to help my thyroid)/day, and one caplet of Centrum Silver/day. Other than that, I take 2-3 Percosets/day for back pain (after two surgeries, a year on morphine in the pump up to the max which failed, and now a morphine pump filled with cone snail venom every
two months), 1x/day Soma, and Xanax PRN 3x/day.
Expert:  DR MED MD replied 9 years ago.
Thanks for your information.

Since you are having these symptoms and i think you need to again take medication like Effexor.

You can start with very low dose.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I knew as soon as I mentioned past suicides and a "past" morphine remedy, you'd effectively opt out. It's obvious to me that none of you have any experience with the withdrawal nor even the side-effects of Effexor. If you want to "learn, all you have to do is "hit the web". Type in (on the search line) "Effexor withdrawal" and you'll get all the detailed info you could want from "real" patients, not Effexor sales or "usage guide" information. For your information, even the doctors, including mine (who was promoted and moved out of state recently, which is why I'm questioning my new doctor's advice) were not provided with accurate nor adequate side-effect information for this class of drugs (SSRI), so certainly not with the withdrawal implications or details. Keep the $15 if you like, but I won't accept any of your answers. And I wouldn't recommend your service to anyone with half a brain.        Sincerely,

Grace Diem