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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 18762
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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Getting off Effexor after 12 years on it. My doctor and my

Customer Question

Getting off Effexor after 12 years on it. My doctor and my pharmacist do not agree on subject. My doctor is in such a hurry to get me off it. The pharmacist says "the longer you have been on Effexor, the longer you should take getting off of it". And, "the faster you get off , the more likely you will just get depressed again". I trust my pharmacist more than my doctor.
Thank you for any information you can give me. I would also like to know the most common side affects come while weaning off Effexor X-RAY, 225 mg.
Susan R
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.

Hello from JustAnswer.

I agree that someone that has been on an antidepressant for a longer period of time should have a more gradual taper off the drug, but the primary concern would be withdrawal symptoms, not recurrence of depression. There is a risk of recurrence of depression regardless of how the drug is stopped, but there is no evidence that the risk of depression is greater with a faster taper.

The evidence is far greater that there can be withdrawal symptoms. There are many different withdrawal symptoms that can occur, but the most common are anxiety, irritability, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, fatigue, tremors, insomnia, and abnormal sensations, such as shock-like sensations.

For someone taking 225 mg per day, I would usually decrease the dose in steps of lowering the strength by by 75 mg per day and then taking a step every 3-4 weeks. If any symptoms occur at this tapering schedule, then it would be reasonable to take smaller steps of 25-37.5 mg.

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Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.

Please let me know if I can provide any additional assistance.