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Venlafaxine (Velaxin, Effexor)

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by svetoslav80, Dec 10, 2018.

  1. svetoslav80

    svetoslav80 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I've been taking venlafaxine XR for 6 days, and today I increased the dose to 225 mg / day as prescribed. It seems to work well for depression and anxiety, however I'm getting tired much faster than usual. Before I was able to concentrate on some task for an hour or two , and after some break - even for another hour, and now I can't even concentrate for 15 minutes. Do you have any experience with this medicine? If so, please share ...
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
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  2. Stewart

    Stewart Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I was on venlafaxine for a lengthy period over a decade ago. It wasn't a positive experience.

    When I first started taking it I seemed to experience some benefits - increased energy, better mood - but this only lasted for a few months. After that my mood became much worse, my energy levels lower and my thinking muddied. Unfortunately the response of my GP was to increase my dosage - which only made things worse. So they increased my dosage again. And again. And again - until I was on over 400mg a day, which was more than the recommended maximum dosage. Every time I tried to collect a prescription the pharmacist would query the dosage and insist on speaking to my GP before handling over the drugs - which obviously greatly lengthened the process of collecting my order while also making me feel deeply inadequate.

    If it had been left to my doctors I probably would have remained on venlafaxine for much longer than I did - but after months of experiencing no benefits despite the high dosage I told my GP that I wanted to stop taking it. It wasn't a pleasant drug to come off. I had to reduce the dosage very slowly, and there were unsettling side-effects - mainly dissassociative feelings where you felt like a passenger in your own body and these weird sensations like mild electric shocks. I was glad when I finally saw the back of it.

    I don't know why venlafaxine initially had a positive effect, or why it stopped working so quickly. It could have just been the placebo effect - or it could have been having a positive impact on my dopamine levels. My GP sunsequently tried me on other SSRIs but none of them seemed to work for me either.
     
  3. Squeezy

    Squeezy Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Venlafaxine is HORRENDOUS to get off, so if you're having ANY doubts about it, please please review it seriously with your doctor.

    It is acknowledged in British NHS and American medical literature that the Discontinuation Syndrome that @Stewart describes is a serious problem with Venlafaxine, and I think it is highly irresponsible of doctors not to discuss this with patients before prescribing it.

    It shouldn't be a first-choice drug for depression and anxiety because of this. There are many that have better side effect and discontinuation profiles.

    Your concentration problems and tiredness could definitely be a side effect. They're side effects that can happen with too high a dose of any SSRI or SNRI medication.

    Antidepressant medications are wonderful things, when used appropriately, at the correct dose, and reviewed regularly.
     
  4. Alvin

    Alvin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    No energy to write much so just gonna say it made ME worse over time, caused permanent damage and according to an ME researcher i spoke with earlier this year said this one causes the most problems of the SSRIs for ME. They were surprised at my severe reaction but not surprised the drug went over badly.
    As mentioned if you want to quit do it now before your trapped into addiction and withdrawal symptoms.
     
  5. Arnie Pye

    Arnie Pye Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  6. Squeezy

    Squeezy Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It's so difficult. Less than 50% of people respond to the first anti depressant they try. Some research puts it at only 30%. But the figures for trying a second or third, or combinations of medications are more encouraging, but still far from making them the answer for all.

    It seems The Star D Trial in the US is the best, most impartial study yet done.

    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/funding/clinical-research/practical/stard/allmedicationlevels.shtml

    I find doctors are very cavalier about side effects. But we patients must balance those with potential benefits! Psychiatrists and GP's don't make it easy.

    I am so sorry that Venlafaxine made you so much more ill, Alvin. It comes as sad vindication for my theory about what might have kick-started my ME.

    I was physically in excellent condition. Very sporty and active. But I got very physically ill within a year of starting a Venlafaxine and lithium combo 12 years ago. Psychologically, I became incredibly stable on it, after 18 years of depression and anxiety, and remain so, 12 years later.

    But every psychiatrist I've seen in check ups has insisted my ME symptoms could not possibly be down to the medication. At least they also said it isn't psychosomatic.

    I wouldn't trade my ME for my depression. A million times over, I'll take ME. But I have to wonder - if my psychiatrist had listened to my reported side effects of profound exhaustion, lack of concentration, temperature dysregulation, gut problems... and then migraines too... and reduced my dose or changed me to another med...

    Would I have ME today? Or would I be less ill?
     
  7. leokitten

    leokitten Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    SSRIs have very strong stimulatory effects and make it hard to sleep. I wouldn’t ever use them in ME/CFS they very likely will not work and because of the above will probably make you worse over time. Being amped up chemically isn’t the way to go with ME you will just crash even harder. And like others have said they eventually become very difficult to wean off of and you can have a protracted withdrawal syndrome sometimes last into the years.
     
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  8. svetoslav80

    svetoslav80 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Venlafaxine is SNRI , and in high doses even SNDRI (serotonin-norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor) so it's even worse. I wake up every night around 2-3 am. Fortunately I usually get asleep again about 6 am.
     
  9. Squeezy

    Squeezy Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That's why I take all my 300mg dose in the morning. I did the same when I was on a high dose of 60mg of Prozac. I slept fine on Proxac, but my sleep on Venlafaxine has varied from normal, through to 10 hours a night when the ME started, then awake every couple of hours for years...
     
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  10. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I just started on Zoloft (SSRI) four days ago and all I want to do is sleep since starting them. :asleep:
     
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  11. svetoslav80

    svetoslav80 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Stopping venlafaxine seems to be serious sh*t, as you said. Even though I only took it for two months. It's one thing to hear it and another to experience it. As I like to experiment I tried to stop it cold turkey but couldn't endure the second night. And it was necessary to reinstate. My plan is 75 mg for a week then 37.5 for a week or two and then I'll see ...
     
  12. leokitten

    leokitten Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @svetoslav80 I’m seriously wondering why you are taking antidepressants, they will do nothing for your ME and will potentially make it worse. SSRIs and SNRIs amp you up a lot and therefore require your brain to use more energy which will just make you fatigued and crash faster and harder. Sorry to ask a personal question but why are you doing this?
     
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  13. svetoslav80

    svetoslav80 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It's absolutely what happened. My body was telling me to lie down because I feel sick, and on the other side the raised norepinephrine was forcing me to act, do something all the time. It was really exhausting. I didn't crash, fortunately, but was feeling much worse then usual.
    I don't mind personal questions. In short, my mother forced me. I don't work anymore and am financially dependent on her so it's impossible to refuse. Although I've gone through this once and knew it's not going to help. I do everything she wants and yet I'm constantly told "I'm sick because I don't want to get better".
     
  14. NelliePledge

    NelliePledge Moderator Staff Member

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    [QUOTE="svetoslav80, post: 136377, member: 110"
    I don't mind personal questions. In short, my mother forced me. I don't work anymore and am financially dependent on her so it's impossible to refuse. Although I've gone through this once and knew it's not going to help. I do everything she wants and yet I'm constantly told "I'm sick because I don't want to get better".[/QUOTE]
    In that situation I would continue to get the prescription but stop actually taking the tablets - seems like it would in any event need to be a very gradual process of reducing the dose before you come off it. Is your Dr colluding with your mother or can you be honest with them and they will respect your confidentiality? I am sorry your mother is doing this to you. I hope one day she will change and be understanding.
     
  15. svetoslav80

    svetoslav80 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @NelliePledge I don't intend going to the psychiatrist again because it's 4 hours waiting each time (and it's a bit noisy there) and it's just not possible for me. The few times I went, my mother was waiting for me there and then called me when my turn was close (we live near the hospital), and only then I was going. But it happened that we're both not well and the last time no one was able to go to the doc because we both were sick. So I told her I won't go anymore and am stopping the venlafaxine because it's not helping.

    She's caring for me financially and I know she won't leave me without food or something. But in the same time she continues with the psycho attacks and it really brings me out of my skin to the point I sometimes don't know if I want to live anymore. She is not very intelligent, doesn't know what she wants exactly. She says she wants me to "do something to get better" but when I ask her what she doesn't know. And yet she continues repeating this "do something to get better" mantra.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
  16. Squeezy

    Squeezy Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'm so sorry you're in this situation @svetoslav80. It does sound like your mother really cares about you, though, and wants to help you, but can't understand the illness at all and is frustrated, and fearful.

    I'm not excusing her for pressuring you to take antidepressants, and driving you nuts to find an elusive way to get better.

    The psychiatrist should NOT have given you antidepressants unless you are actually depressed, and agreed to them. That is his failure, not your mother's. I understand her wanting you to get checked out. But it's the psychiatrist's job to make an accurate diagnosis.

    It's her job as a mother to try to help you as best she can, to love, feed, and care for you. It sounds like she's trying. But she's panicking, and is full of worry and fear for you. That can make mothers impatient and angry, when we need to stay calm.

    My son is ill. It might be ME, or depression, or something hormonal. And even I want to shout at him to just DO something! It makes me ashamed. But I'm so scared.

    Mothers are just people.
     
  17. MEMarge

    MEMarge Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I would be sure to come off it (if that is your decision) very very slowly.
     
  18. NelliePledge

    NelliePledge Moderator Staff Member

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    I was taking Prozac for many years and when I decided to stop thanks to PWME on another forum I’m on alerting me to possible issues i came off it very gradually over a few month. I was taking daily tablet then went to 6/7 for a couple of weeks and reduced By one tablet til I was only on one tablet a week and I had no issues.
     

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