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If you need help please visit www.hopeline.com or call 1-800-442-HOPE.

Demystifying Depression is a great article which helped me understand some of the ways depression was affecting me.

The Harmful Impacts of Confusing Pleasure With Happiness

The Addictive Properties of Sugar

And the impact of diet on all other aspects of our lives.

Important Lessons From Brain Scans

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Effexor is a dual purpose antidepressant released by Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories and approved by the FDA in October 1997. Effexor boosts serotonin levels in the synapse in similar fashion to other SSRI's. The main difference between Effexot and the SSRI drug class is that Effexor also has the ability to boost norepinephedrine levels similar to tricyclides. Official Effexor Website
If you or someone you know has had a problem with Effexor feel free to call the advertising section of FDA at (301) 827-2828. Also fill out the Medwatch form and also call FDA at 1-800-FDA 1088 press 0 or call (301) 443-1240.
Effexor Feedback and Side Effects

I have been taking effexor for a year, because I was having panic attacks. My panics attacks stopped shortly after starting the med. I feel
happier than I've felt in along time. I use to have a real short fuse. I have gained 20 pounds
and I feel like I am in a fog, I can't seem to
remember things and can't think clearly. I am
now up to 150 mgs. I was thinking maybe I need
to stop taking it now, but I'm scared I'll go
back to having panic attacks again.

Posted by: Lisa at October 31, 2004 7:10 PM

I took Effexor for about 2 weeks. I felt horrible the entire time. The only thing that felt worse was the week after I stopped taking it. While taking it, I couldn't sleep, I felt anxious, I had heart palpitations, my scalp tingled, my mouth was dry and I could not string a sentence together. I also suffered from nausea and constipation. When I stopped taking it, I continued with they symptoms for almost a week plus had headaches and even more confusion. I feel this drug needs more research and can be detrimental and even harmful to some, if not most, people.

Posted by: at November 1, 2004 8:14 AM

I started taking antidepressants over four years ago. First it was Zoloft which was okay in the beginning until it no longer helped at 250mg. I quit cold turkey and became sucidial, so my Dr put me on 25mg of Effexor. What a "miracle" drug it seemed! My life drastically improved, and I became "normal" and tolerable for once in my life. I have been successfully taking Effexor for the past two years finally reaching my max dosage at 75mg. Recently I decided to become med-free and with my Dr's help began tapering off my meds by 12mg every three weeks. Well, I have just reached the 25mg stage and am going through horrible withdrawl. All along I have suffered these symptoms with Effexor: no sex drive, dry mouth, and headaches. Whenever I would miss a dose, I would have horrbile headaches, and would see bright lights as my eyes would shift from left to right ever so often. Now though, the symptoms of coming OFF the medication is even worse! I have had crying spells so bad that I don't trust myself to go out into public or work, and when I forgot (another symptom-memory loss) to take it for two days in a row became sucidial again. The worst part of all this is the extreme anger I am now experiencing. From all my research on the internet, etc. I have def. made up my mind to go off Effexor, no matter what Hell I go through. My advice to everyone out there-NEVER GO ON EFFEXOR!

Posted by: Gina at November 1, 2004 6:35 PM

i was married to this woman for 16years i know every thing about her ,she was the most honest hard working person ive ever known,she started taking effexorxr 7 months ago ,i could tell a difference in her personalty about 2 months later, she also could tell also she liked it but also didnt like it ,it was just not her she was really changing . she tried to get off this stuff, about 4 days into the withdrawls were to severe so she got back on it .5 months down the roadshe started pushing me away,i was also her best friend, last month she ask me to leave ,saying she is starting a new life ,that effexorxr has made her fearless ,and all she wants to do is have fun in her life and i wasnt invited,.ive lost my best friend shes all but forgot her kids and me ,for all purposes, the woman that i new and loved is gone ,ive never seen a personalty change like this in my life ,. weve been through alot together and now ive lost her because of a pill ,if there ever is a law suit on these guys over this drug i want my name on top of the list .

Posted by: mearl at November 7, 2004 8:17 AM

I was prescribed effexor for clinical depression after an unsuccessful treatment with mirtazapine gen: (Remeron::)I was taking schizandra berries as a herbal antidepressant supplement prior to Effexor. I do not even know why I said yes to Effexor...after all the berries did some of their magic by eliminating repetitive thought patterns and fatique. I thought perhaps magic bullets for depression is an exaggeration... Effexor kicked in in about two hours. I immediately began feeling horrendous depression and feeling of worhtlesness and guilt, my movements became sluggish nd felt disjointed..I felt that i am completely alone on a cold desolate planet and, that my life is useless...more suicidal than ever at any point in my life... In the next two hours my mood began to change dramatically as the serotonergic properties of the drug resurfaced...this was horrendously exiting and scary...dilated pupils, my memory improved to the point where I could recite a 35 word text that I just read (!), in another half hour my visual acuity peaked nad i began feeling as if though I took a large dose of LSD but can't seem to reach the peak stage. At the same time i experienced unusual self confidence (almost maniacal though. I began to feel very strong physically and also, strangely enough My self-conceptions where dissociated from waking reality- I felt very hateful and agressive one moment and deeply empathicand compassionate in the next...my head felt as though there was a hot iron turned on inside.. I was very scared especially when I couldn't fall asleeep at 4a.m.! Took Diazepam and it didn't help me sleep for more than 2 hours Woke up tired and depressed more than usual. Some parts of effexor experience were like that of LSD eq: visual acuity, aural images...dramatically improved memory and cognition) BUT!!! not only was this serotonergic NOT euphoric- it was almost demonic and very demanding of the body. I realize that if I take it I will not be able to predict my future actions whether i will jump of the bridge or kill someone-- Word of advice: BE CAREFUL WITH SEROTONERGICS especially Effexor if nothing works for your OCD or depression try LSD...trip a while, realize how stupid you look with your petty emotional problems when there are starving people in the world. YOU are NOT that important to worry just about yourself- and a big part of depresion is about that self-aspect. Most problems are transitory if U only try to see beyond positively- LSD is the only serotonergic that worked for my depression but I do not even recommend it to majority as it is time consuming and setting (such as outdoors) is very important. If your depression is severe- try everything else prior to Effexor or any serotonergics. Most importantly- force yourself to act..move around. Depression hates action. It is an uncomfortable attempt of the mind to convince itself that you, it's owner- are powerless to change your life...- a cognitive defficiency that you can overcome..great part of reality is perception Good Luck. if that helped let me know

Posted by: Kosta at November 13, 2004 8:12 PM

PLS- revise your spelling RE: owner of the site!!!!!
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS NOREPINEPHEDRINE- what you probably mean is Norepinephrine- a hormone produced by adrenal medulla. Ephedrine is a stimulant class drug derived from ephedra plant is not endogenous- (i.e> not produced by the body)

:-) Keep up the good work !!

Posted by: Kosta at November 13, 2004 8:19 PM

I took Effexor for 3 months. Although it did dull the anxiety, it left me sleepy all day, and unable to sleep at night. I switched to Lexapro. And have been taking for about 6 months. It does not have the side effect of sleepiness. Both drugs killed libido.

Posted by: Kay at November 24, 2004 1:58 PM

Effexor was excellent at treating my depression. Within a month i had gone from being withdrawn, underconfident, self loathing and miserable to being back to my old self.

However there is a catch. If you miss a dose you can't function at all - dizziness, feeling faint etc.

Also - my dreams are always a little disturbing on Effexor. I get the impression i do not sleep as deeply with this drug.

Also - i have lost all interest in sex. If i do engage in sex, ejaculation is hard to achieve because of a loss of sensativity.

All in all the benefits far outweigh the side effects.

I am about to start coming off the drug - i hope it won't be too hard and i hope my sex drive comes back.

Posted by: Sebastian at November 29, 2004 7:44 PM

If you've had chronic depression like I've had (over 25 years), you have to realize that the medicines stop working after awhile. You have to be aware of side effects (all drugs have them), and be vigilant as to how the drugs are affecting you. I've been on Elavil, Prozac, MAO's, etc. Some of them work for years, then it's time to change. Presently I'm on a combination of Wellbutrin and Effexor. I haven't felt so good in years. I get occasionally low points, but can talk myself out of them. The medicines seem to affect sleep (don't need much of it), and I am dreaming more. I'm alert, reasonably cheerful and productive. Readers, please remember that no drug is the magic bullet. Anti-depressants should be combined with counseling.

Posted by: D at December 1, 2004 9:34 AM

I just wanted to leave a note that, when you take Effexor and miss a dose, you WILL know it. I always feel like shock waves are going through my whole body, when I miss a dose. It is not pleasent at all. Another symptom I get when I've missed is very vivid and strange dreams. These can be very disturbing. The sleep cycle itself is totally disrupted as well. I'll feel like I'm switching back and forth from REM state to an almost awake state, very quickly all night long.

Posted by: Joe Mule at December 2, 2004 1:45 PM

I am just reducing my intake of Effexor. I have been on 300 mg since May. I've recently been getting back into the working world and I've discovered that the drugs dulls my ability to think. In conversations I feel as if I'm a step behind almost like I'm in a mental cloud. My psychiatrist is reducing the dosage to 150 mg. I'm wondering if the overwhelming depression will come back.

Posted by: Lamont Crook at December 2, 2004 3:41 PM

I was on effexor for about a year, during which time it really did help relieve me of depression symptoms, with not very noticeable side effects. The only problem with being on the medicine was that I became very spacey. The bigger problem, however, was when I decided I'd had it with taking drugs and decided to stop. If I ever missed a day's dose, I would get a mild headache. I figured that would go away after the first day. But when I tried to stop for good, the headache just got worse and worse over a 3-day period. So what I had to do was start taking it again, then wean myself off by cutting my dose in half for a few days, then taking it every other day before I finally was able to give it up.

Posted by: ---------- at December 4, 2004 5:49 PM

I've tried a number of drugs: Paxil, Celexa, Wellbutrin, and Prozac to control my depression. After a year of talk therapy and Prozac, I had some days where my excruciating depression would lift a little, but never enough for me to lose the 100+ lbs I gained, to make new friends to replace the ones I lost when the bad, bad, bad depression hit. When I moved, I lost the therapist I had bonded with and new therapists weren't helpful. The Prozac wasn't cutting it anymore, so I stopped meds (and therapy) completely. Now, it's winter; it's dark outside and the horrible holidays are around the corner, so I asked my Physician's Assistant to put me on Effexor. (It is too rural and the system is too taxed to get psychiatric care unless you're hospitalized for your psychiatric condition.) Two hours after I swallowed the first pill, I had nausea. Five hours after the first pill, I had cottonmouth. I finally read the drug fact sheet that came with my prescription - these were both normal side-effects. I was okay with them - thought they'd help with my obesity. At 10pm that night, I started having numbness in my neck and face. (The numbness in my neck was "striped" while my face was numb on the lower left side.) This symptom was *definitely* not on my drug fact sheet. I went to Google and typed in "numb Effexor face" and got several hits - this is a REAL side effect - not on the fact sheet!! I'm not the only one. Nausea - fine. Dry mouth - fine. But a numb face? - NOT OKAY. I feel like nothing will work. I want my life back.

Posted by: JJ at December 4, 2004 11:30 PM

I'm a 20yr old female and i have been on effexor xr 75mg for about a year and am currently trying to get off them. I have been on half a cap for a week and a half and for the last three days i haven't been able to stop crying, i've lost my appetite, i fidget a lot and want to sleep all day. When i was on the full dosage i was fine but i don't want to be dependant on a pill for the rest of my life. my doctor didn't even tell me there would be any side-effects coming off them. All they seemed to do when i was on full dose was make me numb, this is the first time i've really cried or felt anything deeply for a long time. I think it's a stronger drug than i realised, i don't know if GP's should be able to prescribe them. Anyway its really hard at the moment but i hope it passes.

Posted by: Caitlin at December 6, 2004 12:25 AM

Hello People
l have been taking Effexor for the past 5 years,l have not been myself since.l just want to sleep 24 hours a day and have thoughts of suicide on my mind everyday.l am 35 years old and have 4 beautiful kids,but l do not do much with them do to never feeling good.
l have been tring to get of this poison since 1 year ago but l have so many side effects like dizzyness,electrical shock feelings going into my head and eyes,cronic fatigue and many other problems.
This drug will distroy the quality of life you have,it has for me.
l am not the same person l was before l started this drug,l would just like my old self back,is it possible?

Posted by: Paul Trahan at December 10, 2004 4:29 PM

I just started taking effexor 37.5 mg/day - the first two days I took it in the evening, and the nauseau, sweating, and poor sleep at night made me think about stopping the drug, but once I started taking it in the morning, I am starting to feel positive effects without the side-effects. Libido is improved but completion is delayed (good for her :). Only draw-back is my vision is a little funky (hard to explain).

Posted by: at December 12, 2004 11:26 PM

Well...Ive been on Effexor for about a year now. My dad had started it a few years ago and I saw a dramatic impact on his anxiety and anger issues, so it enlightened me to switch to Effexor when my other antidepressent stopped working, as they often do after a period of time. When I first started effexor at 75mg, I dont remember any of the side effects that people have talked about when first starting the med. It took me till now to realize that Effexor may have prevoked anxiety that I had never experienced before. The past year, I have had the worst anxiety and it has caused me to alienate myself from my friends and become more depressed. I was miserable with school being hard and my anxiety being too much to handle, so the doc doubled my dose of effexor to 150mg....bigggg mistake. My friends were convinced i was on drugs and i had random people asking me what i was on because my pupils were always dialated...my heart would race and I was no longer able to exercise like i used to. Exercise was the best drug for my energy level and depression, and I could no longer do spinning classes (what i loved) because I would feel like I was going to pass out as soon as I even tried to push my self the least bit. My spinning instructor became concerned and curious as to why I could no longer perform...my heart rate would sky rocket to 180 over the least bit of exercise. He's the one who told me to check out getting on a different med. My doctor prescribed me 150mg of wellbutrin and wanted me to continue taking 75mg of Effexor, but this only lasted 3 days before I stupedly became ambitious and determined to get off the Effexor. I basically quite cold turkey. For the past 2 weeks I have had the worst Vertigo ever and hot flashes, i wake up with the sweats and my workout performance has been even worst...Ive lost 5lbs in the past week and I am soo weak that I feel like my muscles are wasting away. I also had crying spells, and still today this day (2 weeks later) I have all of these withdrawal effects, and im scared that i will never be able to get back into exercising and perform at the level i used to. At times during these withdrawals I havebeen tempted to get back on Effexor just because the withdrawals are so horrible. But I know that its not a good medication for me, and it has made my conditions worse and has been nothing but a pain in my rear. I am furious that my doctor didnt tell me anything about the side effects or withdrawals nor before starting effor or when I asked about getting off of it. I strongly suggest people be careful when taking this medication and know that once your on it....its next to impossible to get off of it.

Posted by: HW at December 17, 2004 3:19 PM

I am 15, two years ago i was put on effexor, i first started taking 25mg and then i was put on 75mg. I was put on it because i tried to commit suicide. I hated effexor, when i finally quit taking it two years after i had begun taking it I went cold turkey. The side affects of me doing this was that i was very dizzy, sick to my stomache, and basically i felt 'drunk'. Well when i was on effexor i felt numb to everything, never happy or sad, just there. I didn't like that feeling.

Posted by: Mariss at December 30, 2004 3:51 PM

I had severe withdrawal effects from Effexor although tapering very, very slowly in the spring of 2004. I began to feel nauseous every morning moving down the dose and had trouble working, by the time I got to 112.5 dosage I was very ill, could not work. At 37.5 it was the worst, I was not only very sick but the electrical shock sensations kicked in. I was 3-4 weeks completely off Effexor and still had those effects. It's a crime that Wyeth gets away with it. I am in a class action lawsuit but the lawyers will probably get all the money if it's ever settled. This happened in the spring and my job is currently on the line because of the disability time I missed..

Posted by: Debbie M at January 17, 2005 1:52 PM

DEBBIE M if you see this posting please contact me.. would like information on the class action lawsuit please.... email me at Bradyacres@hotmail.com.. in the subject line please put effexor... thankyou

Posted by: Shannon at January 23, 2005 4:38 AM

I would like you to know that effexor xr did not alleviate my depression at all. But neither did any of the anti-depressants that I have tried throughout a years' time.
All I got were all the crappy side-effects of these drugs.And I find it rather annoying that these commercials come on claiming to alleviate major depression, when they don't alleviate Depression/Agoraphobia.It's all about these drug companies and the FDA making millions off of these chemical/drugs.
The fact is that these anti-deppressants don't work!!

Posted by: Becki velasquez at April 16, 2006 11:48 AM

For now I am maintaining my 225 mg dose of Effexor daily. My attempts to reduce the dose led to plenty of dizziness and the electric shock to the brain side effects. These I could live with, as they abated after a week or so, but after I flew into a couple of rages, my family and my doctor recommended resuming to 225. So I have, but now I am having some mysterious numbness in my left arm along with some general dizziness that is not quite like the withdrawal dizziness. Anyone else feeling these things?

My family physician thinks I am having a heart attack, and wants me to go to the ER. I had been wondering if something was impinging on a nerve, but I'm checking with you all first before I sign up for an MRI...

Posted by: Chris U at May 8, 2006 2:34 PM

I just quit taking Effexor XR cold turkey due to insurance reasons. New insurance won't cover it.

It's day three and I feel so awful. I feel dizzy, light headed, nauseous, tired, pissed off, want to cry a river and I have no patience.

I started taking it for irritability after a hysterectomy about a year and a half ago. It helped with that, but this withdrawl stuff sucks.

I haven't had these shock things I am reading about -what is it - what does it feel like?

And about how long before I don't feel like I have the flu? I can handle the crying bit - but I am too busy and have two kiddos and am very actively involved at their school and I cannot feel like crap forever!

My doctors office knows about having to go off of it because they were trying to find out if they could locate a generic or something that would work - no one from there, not even my doctor warned me of any of these side effects.

Does benadryl really help? Any other ideas?

Posted by: kati at May 10, 2006 5:48 PM

I was put on Effexor four years ago after going through a gross betrayal by a friend employer that caused me to get fired, a three month sexual harrassment that led to termination and a protracted court case and losing my home and all my personal belongings. I was quite a mess, depressed all the time, hyper-anxious and a complete loss of confidence. The bad things went on for over two years and I really just never thought I was going to feel different.
The doctor was concerned about suicide and put me on the Effexor beginning at 75mg and working up to 150mg.
I immediately began to gain weight, which at the time I didn't connect, always had a terrible taste in my mouth, couldn't sleep and actually felt more anxious. I no longer felt like myself, the way I reacted to things was just bizarre. I no longer was interested in sex at all. I began to have very strange reactions to events in my life. An amazing anger seemed to overtake me at any event I felt I had been wronged. I have gone through over five jobs. Everything just got worse. I began drinking heavily just to calm myself down at the end of the day and be able to sleep.
When I did become suicidal this last fall and felt totally out of control I checked myself into a 30 day residential rehab center.
There I learned many things about my reactions to things, behavior etc. I had excellent counseling and when I was released immediately decided to discontinue the Effexor understanding that it had never been the answer and I did not need it.
Just not taking it for a day I slept so soundly at night it was amazing. However, the next morning I would waken to a noisy head, swirling, feeling like I was falling at the least movement. I often through up in the morning. Needless to say I would take it again.
I finally went to a doctor who wanted to ramp me up even more and even gave me an additional medication to help me sleep.
I decided to ramp down instead. When I first went from 150mg to 75mg it wasn't to bad. Still some swirling, but I began sleeping better. I did this for two weeks, then went down to 37mg for another two weeks. At this point things did get a little more symptomatic, but it was when I tried to completely stop from the 37mg that I just stopped functioning. After three days, I felt that I was either going to kill someone or seriously hurt them. I was so nauseous I could barely move, the spinning, whirling noise in my head was unbelievable. I started taking it again at the 37mg dosage.
Then I got mad and just decided enough, this drug was not going to take over my brain. I had just begun a new job, only worked a week! I told my boss what was going on and I have cold turkeid the last week.
My method has been to purchase a whole body cleanse and drink huge amounts of water. I have bulked up on brain foods like blueberries, beets, romaine lettuce, spinach and began taking a drink called Ultrameal which has mega vitamins for the heart and hormones. I have been trying to flush the toxins from every part of my body. I have also had two massages in the last week to break the toxins loose from my muscles and tissues where it has been building for years.
I won't say it has been easy. I have told my husband to die and go to hell and countless other people things equally unpleasant.
Today is my fourth day and the swirling, noise in my head along with the anger is greatly reduced. I am confident I will be able to return to work on Monday.
I am so relieved to have this awful substance mostly removed from my system and am looking forward to me again.
I can already taste my food, seriously thinking about sex and happy with my decision.
I think every doctor who prescribes this needs to give a complete warning of all the potential problems. Go over the side effects in detail. One of the side effects is actually anxiety.
There should be a law against such wanton disregard for a person's health.
If we had been allowed to make an informed aware decision this is definitely not a medication I ever would have taken.
I did take Benadryl, can't say if it helped or not. I have heard OTC motion sickness medication helps.
Don't be discouraged, keep trying. If you don't take care of yourself you won't be able to 100% take care of your family. They need to understand and support you through this in any way necessary.

Posted by: RaeLynn at May 12, 2006 7:24 PM

I am 30 yrs old and I took Effexor for depression and anxiety for 9 months, starting at 75 mg/day and ending at 300 mg. It worked well (nearly immediately) to counteract the excrutiating anxiety I was experiencing. Prior to this my life was truely "hell on earth." It kept me going, functioning without panic attacks - but did little to improve my mood. I continued to be sad all the time, crying for no reason. With increased dosage, it looked like it worked at first - but I was actually becoming more and more numb. At 300 mg/day I felt zombie like and had an increase in side effects - mostly "night sweats" - it got so bad I had to change clothes up to 3x per night b/c I would wake up drenched and freezing. It was gross. Also combined with alcohol - even a small amount - would produce relapse into severe depression in the following 4/5 days. My doctor switched me to Welbutrin which has worked MUCH better for me. Synopsis: Effexor worked great for anxiety, but barely at all for depression. Plus the side effects made it feel like a "job" taking the meds.

Posted by: denise at May 19, 2006 1:19 AM

I began taking effexor almost one year ago. I felt incredibly good for the first time EVER; no more "going down under" all the time. I lost 40 lbs. without trying. My skin conditions disappeared, I needed little sleep, my stomach troubles disappeared. 300 mg. was perfect until a couple of months ago. I am right back to where I used to be. Is it PMS? Menopause? Stress? All of the above plus POST-ms? Everything is back, inluding most of the weight. I don't know if I need to increase my dose or go off this now. It is such a disappointment, I feel even more depressed now.

Posted by: Bea at June 12, 2006 9:12 PM

I have been on effexor xr for some 7 months. The biggest problem I have is my sleep patterns which are "all over the place". Vivid dreams every night which results in reslessness and waking up feeling totally exhausted. I am at a loss as to how I deal with this short of coming off the medication.

Posted by: ken purdue at July 4, 2006 5:22 AM

I wAs just prescribed Effexor yesterday by my doctor after taking Zoloft for a year with increased depression, exhaustion, and the development of bizarre suidal/death thoughts.

I am afraid to take this stuff after reading the previous posts! I already have enough problems, and, as a single mom of 2 toddlers, it frightens me that some of the people here have reported such bizarre behavior! Could it be that maybe Effexor didn't work for them at all and the side-effects they describe are actually PART OF their depression and anxiety problems that intensified because the treatment wasn't working for them?

Posted by: Diane at July 7, 2006 8:50 AM

i was on effexor for about 9 months after my wife and i split over my severe depression. it did take care of my initial anxieties...the stomach cramps and dizziness were allot better than dealing with the high's and constant low's of my impending divorce, but i was "flat-lined"..felt nothing, numb, dis-connected and dis-engaged, and left me with a feeling of being totally uninterested in anything..couldnt cry...couldnt get angry..couldnt be sad...once i started twitching and the anxiety returned....takin more of that shit just didnt seem the right idea. I quit cold turkey and have been off them for 5 years...probably the best decision i ever made.

Posted by: paco at August 4, 2006 11:49 AM

I want to stop taking effexor xr since I am taking it to take away hot flashes. It doesn't work. I tried to stop once before and I stopped cold turkey and I had a drug withdrawal. It was terrible. I didn't know what was happening to me. When I told the doctor what I was doing she said you just can't stop and put me back on again. I wanted to go off and she said it doesn't matter if I stay on forever. Please help and tell me what to do. Thanks

Posted by: Linda at August 5, 2006 10:19 PM

I can't even remember a time in my life before I was on anti-depressants. A true child of the nineties, I was put on prozac at age 12, and have since gotten to experience Paxil, Celexa, Risperdal, and now, for the past year and a half, Effexor XR. I am 21 years old, and have never been an adult, or even an adolescent, without some type of SSRI in my body.

I thought the Effexor was working, I truly did. I no longer had panic attacks, crying jags, or any of the other myriad symptoms of depression and anxiety which the other medications had not altogether prevented. I could live with the loss of libido, and the need for 12 hours of sleep each night. It pained me not to have the energy to join my friends at clubs and bars, but better healthy than not, right?

It was, in fact, a change in my finances that prompted me to quit the Effexor. The stuff is not cheap. My student insurance required me to purchase the medication at cost, and then submit paperwork for reimbursement. Between the Effexor itself and the visits to my psychiatrist, I was spending $500 a month to keep myself "healthy." This isn't chump change for someone with a job. For a full time student living on her own in Manhattan, it was a joke. Clearly something had to give.

I tapered down from 300mg to 150. Lacking the money to buy a smaller dose, I simply stopped taking the 150mg pills. More accurately, I tried to stop. I couldn't walk more than a few yards without being hit by vertigo and "the zaps." Getting out of bed became a huge ordeal- I could only stay up long enough to use the restroom and force myself to eat something. Another bad idea, at least evinced by the nausea.

After four days of being essentially bedridden, I gave in, and took 150mg of the stuff. That was half an hour ago. I feel like I might be able to stand up without any repercussions, but I seriously wonder how I am going to get food. I haven't eaten in 24 hours, and I don't have enought energy to cook. I'm going to try to shower and dress so that I can order in.

My advice to readers of this blog: Tapering off Effexor XR apparently takes a lot longer than two weeks. It is frightening and expensive, and not only will your doctor give you no warning, it is entirely possible that he or she has no idea of the true course this drug takes when it exits the body. It's an addiction. It might as well be cocaine. At least if it were, we'd all have the consolation of looking like Kate Moss.

Posted by: manologirl at August 9, 2006 3:34 PM

I've been on Effexor xr for over 5 years.....150dose...my insurance stopped over a year ago and each month I pay over $100 for my addiction to this stupid red pill. I would love to find a supplement to replace it without having the withdrawls, but I doubt a replacement is out there.....any ideas? thanks

Posted by: Jane at September 3, 2006 11:06 AM

I just took Effexor for 13 days and awoke on the 14th day with my head, neck and face completely numb. I threw the medication away and have been hopeful each day since then that it would dissipate. That was 11 days ago. I am still numb. Calling the doctor and calling the medicationís manufacturer has not gotten me any answers. And I just want to know this: WILL THIS NUMBNESS COMPLETELY DISSIPATE ONCE THE DRUG HAS LEFT MY SYSTEM?

I feel like that SHOULD be a Yes, No, or even a Maybe answer and yet, I cannot even find THAT out.

Would anyone happen to know the answer to this question? I am rather terrified right now. Thank you so much.

Posted by: Karen at October 4, 2006 10:43 AM

im beth.i was put on effexor for a couple of weeks,ifelt better than ever.then one morning i was real sad,this went on for another week or so.icalled the doc. and he tald me to hold out for a while,so i did.then it was to late.i started to have horible,violant dreams.on top of that i could not get any doc. to take me off it.i was having mood swings,i could not sit down,i was running in circles,crying and pulling my hair out.this is the worst i have ever felt in my life.still i couldnt even get the mental hospital to help me.i tried to just stop taking it but i was getting sicker i felt like i was being electrecuted,on top of that, my doughter went to school and told the councler that i was sick and childrens sevices take all four of my children.after that i went to the hospital a docter finaly wote a med that would make me sleep though the first few days.i was on it for about three months,that was in january.i still have nightmares every night.im scared to go ot sleep still.in order to not remember my dreams i have to take xanax.i think the med give me some kind of nerve damage or muskle damage,at the end rigt after i stopped icould herdly walk.i still have problems.

Posted by: beth at October 16, 2006 9:54 PM

My wife began taking Effexor about 7 months ago. We have been together for 15 years. We were happy w/a nice home and two great kids. There were never any signs she was unhappy. Around 3 months later her behavior began to change. She began dressing differently and going out a lot. I found out she had begun flirting w/people at work. Before I knew it, and completely out of the blue, she told me she was no longer in love w/me and wanted a divorce so she could get on w/her own life. She then had an affair and we eventually separated. Even her friends and family are shocked at her changed behavior and have distanced themselves from her b/c of it. I have spoken w/them and they all agreed she never told anyone she was unhappy before taking these medications. Throughout this time her moods have ranged from being done w/the marriage and wanting out, to telling me she loved me and wanted to stay to telling me she wasn't sure and needed to go. She feels powerful and more self-confident and refuses to get off the medication b/c she claims she is afraid the anxiety will return. Her friends convinced her a couple of times to ask her doctor to be taken off the meds but she claims (b/c we don't know if she actually asked him) the Dr. convinced her to stay on them b/c if she didn't her anxiety would return. She lost weight b/c of them and feels sexier and more confident where she used to be somewhat shy and insecure. These damn medications have ruined my marriage and my life, as well as my kids' lives.

Posted by: Anonymous at November 18, 2006 10:03 PM

please help I have bipolar,anxiety disorder,and social phobias. they gave me effexor was on it for one week and it made me go psychotic-talking about hurting people thinking I was here to end people who r evil. doc said quit taking it and then I had lsd like symptoms for 2 weeks or so went to mental hospital about it told them what i was going through and the f!%^&ers claimed I was delusional checked right out b4 I hurt someone I was so mad. Now am off it for a month and having the brain zaps,headaches,food don't taste right, constipation, extreme insomnia,forgetfulness,confusion,hungry then not hungry, want to die, everything that normaly entertains me i cannot enjoy, naseua, vision issues, some hallucinations terrible nightmares among many other horrible withdrawl effects. I have tried numorous psychotropics and ssri's and have horrible effects from all of them. my doc now finally after all this agrees that I am a rare case and these meds just dont work for me. I am afraid that they have permanently screwed me up!! can anyone tell me what will help speed up recovery time, doc says med free it might take up to 6 months and I don't know if i am strong enough to do wait it out. I am supposed be caring for my 4 year old daughter as stay at home dad, I have had to give her to my mother temporarily until i get through this. Someone please reasure me that their is no permanent damage and that I will return to my normal self. AND SOMEONE IN CHARGE PLEASE TAKE THIS MED OFF THE MARKET.

Posted by: Joe Pierce at February 9, 2007 10:06 PM


I started on Wellbutrin 300mg and two days ago, 37.5mg of Effexor was added and I'm supposed to taper up to 150mg. Within the first two hours of taking the first pill I got waves and waves of nausea. I thought it was food poisoning (from a legitimate reason) so I made myself throw up in an effort to feel better. After I did that, I could not stop vomiting for an hour. The nausea didn't subside until about 5-6 hours later. The next day, I took my dose and again, within two hours I had worse nausea. I decided to fight it, because letting it win the day prior didn't help at all. Nausea lasted in waves for 7-8 hours. Last night (2nd Night) I experienced Anorgasmia with my girlfriend... she was happy... she got off four times. I still had libido and sexual arousal but when I realized there was a problem, I lost all motivation. I ate lunch (2nd day) but my appetite was suppressed through today (the 3rd day). I drank PediaSure because I was unable to eat. Experienced Anorgasmia again today. Same problem. It's almost a lack of sensitivity and mental concentration? I am not feeling nausea today (yet).

Anyways... From all of the withdrawal stories from people discontinuing Effexor, this doesn't sound like a road I want to venture down. Out of all of these stories, I've only seen one success story and it was for anxiety... not major depression. I was wondering if the Anorgasmia ever goes away like the nausea?

Posted by: Justin M at December 10, 2007 1:17 PM

I started taking Effexor about 5 months now. I was recently taking ZoLoft which I felt stopped working. I'm on 75 mg of Effexor now. It took about 2-3 weeks before I could really tell a difference. I did have a few side effects the first week or so....my legs jerked and twitched when I would lay down or even relaxing on the couch. And also had a hard time getting an erection. But all that has gone away. I really like the medicine. I can totally tell a difference now with no side effects. .... well... actually the only side effect now.... is I have really weird dreams, but other than that...It's all good!

Posted by: Lindsay at February 17, 2008 3:26 PM

Took Effexor off and on for nine years. It was effective off and on in high doses, 150 to 300 mg/day, but in the long run, the side effects were intolerable. I had no sex drive. Zero. Less than zero if that's possible. I had dry mouth, and sometimes stopped eating entirely, which would cause low blood sugar, confusion and fatigue. The worse the side effects, the better it worked, however. Truly a devil's bargain. I stopped and am trying Paxil, which has fewer side effects, but is less effective for my depression.

Posted by: BB at March 13, 2008 7:46 PM

some one help first prescribed prozac lost 30lbs but still weepy then effexor hair falling out by handfulls no sleep i need help or just some one to talk to 719310 7479 any ideas my dr seems to have non chanlnt approach

Posted by: pressie at March 18, 2008 2:15 AM

I love effexor. I was in a very deep dark hole for 1 1/2 yrs. I had been on welbutrin for years and no or little help. I am now taking 300mg of effexor for 7 mnths. I am back to my happy loving life self, thank the Lord. I do have the body shocks, loss of sexual desire, sweats and dry mouth. These side effects I can handle much better than the depression. I no longer attempt or think about suicide, withdrawl from friends and family or drink myself silly. I also added therpy to work out some issues. But all in all, life is wonderful. Best to all who suffer from depression. Life does get better.

Posted by: char at May 15, 2008 1:13 PM

i have been on effexor for 1 week and 1 day now. i have struggled with depression for a few years now and could not find a medication that seemed to work. now that i am taking effexor 75mg i am able to get up in the morning , i feel more alive, but i do have some side effects. I have dry mouth alot, i sometimes find myself staring off into space, i get nausea for the first hour after i take my pill, but i have lost 10lbs in the last week. my eating habits have changed alot, i eat the same amout as my 5 year old child. Also it is hard for me to sleep throughthe night now, i find myself having weird dreams and restless legs at bed time. very good medicine to control the weight gain from depression and the mood stabilizer but not good to get a good night sleep

Posted by: melissa butera at October 2, 2008 1:04 PM

I have been suffering from panic disorder since I was 15 yrs old, I have never used medication to treat the depression or panic until yesterday.
My panic has started to take over my life and really bad this time so my gp suggested that I try Effexor. BIG MISTAKE! after about 2 hrs after taking the first 37.5 dose, I started to feel alright, a little dizzy but the anxiety subsided. Then out of no where I started to feel really hot and my face and neck flushed so bad that it was really hot to the touch, I felt really shakey, confused, heart was poounding so heard I thought I was gonna have a heart attack, so dizzy that I thought I was gonna pass out. The symptoms scared my bad enough that I went back to my gp the same day, She told me that I was just having a panic attack from the symptoms. Although she told me that b/c the symptoms were so bad that she wanted me not to take anymore and to try taking clonazepam twice a day for 2 weeks and then we'd try the effexor again. After I went home, the symptoms started to subside a little until bed time, then the whole ordeal started all over again.. flushing, pounding heart etc. I couldn't sleep, I'd just nicely drift into a deep sleep and then suddenly wake up scared, disorientated, hot, pounding heart etc. This medication has scared me so bad that I'm not even gonna try the other med that my gp has recommended. I'd rather suffer with the anxiety b/c I no that it will oventually pass. It is now 28 hr after i took my first effexor pill and I still feel very off.. still hot, shakey and very tired. NEVER TAKE THIS MEDICATION. SAVE UR MONEY FOR A PSYCHIATRIST INSTEAD!

Posted by: Colette at October 18, 2008 2:20 PM

I was taking Celexa 80mg for about 3 years and for about six months in 2007 i took cymbalta also, but the depression passed and i stopped taking it. i went to my doctor recently and started taking Effexor XR and didn't feel like it was doing anything and so she upped it to 300mg and I've been having panic/anxiety attacks for the last two weeks and if i miss taking the pill by a few hours i get a pretty bad headache. my doctor told me that the Effexor would treat my anxiety/panic like the celexa did, but it's not and I don't know if the depression is any better because now I'm annoyed, not depressed. And i am scared to go off it because of everything I read about the withdrawals.
Bottom Line: I don't like Effexor and i've done the line of meds[paxil,prozac,klonopin,celexa,cymbalta,wellbutrin] and i have a doctors appt today at 130 and i'm going to ask to go back to the celexa and add in some cymbalta.

Posted by: danielle at January 5, 2009 1:04 PM

Pure evil. I took effexor for over 9 YEARS! The withdrawal effects from SLOWLY tapering was the worst 3 months of my life. This drug killed my emotions, my connection with spirit, my sex drive, my ability to love and sympathize, the feeling of being a real person, etc. It did curb my panic attacks for about 2 months... then it was just like a heroin habit- I took it to feel normal because not taking it was hell on earth. From my heart I warn you... DO NOT TAKE THIS DRUG! Find a homeopath or naturopath and use herbs or more natural gentle helpers. Chemicals just bury the issues and make you more of a zombie robot and less of a human being.

Posted by: JW at July 7, 2009 7:59 PM

hi just wanted to ask anyone out there, I stopped taking effexor 2 months ago..my face is red and hot and my cheeks are flush. could this be a side effect of stopping and how long will it last,

Posted by: gary at July 14, 2009 6:32 AM

I have read everything written here and I'm so relieved to realize that I'm doing the rigt thing.I have lost my marriage, our home, most of my family, job after job and I am still losing. I have no medical insurance so I am weaning myself off of this garbage. I became a different person completely after I began taking efexor. I didn't even realize how it had taken over my life, my mind and my spirit. I have no friends, no family, no job and I yet I feel like I am finally going to be free. The withdrawal is HELL, my skin feels as if there are things crwling on me, I do not sleep and when I do..the dreams are awful. I have not felt true honest emotion in so long.. but I feel like some are beginning to break through..yet I don't know if they are real or simply a side effect of coming off of this drug. If anyone is really reading this and they truly suffer from depression and GAD..things will only get WORSE by taking this "medication". Its pure poison and will ruin your life. DO NOT TAKE THIS DRUG UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Lori at August 3, 2009 9:02 AM

after having breast cancer, my doctor gave me effexor 75 mg. that was 2 years ago and after knowing I can not do this forever, I quit cold turkey 4 days ago. This is the worst time of my life. I feel like a person on the outside of her own body. I will get through this awful drug and feeling that I have but it is the toughest thing I have tried to do . Please never start this drug. What ever you want tomake better in getting the drug will only hurt a hundred times more later. August 30,09

Posted by: freda richards at August 30, 2009 9:22 PM

I am taking cymbalta now. it doesnt seem to be working anymore ( after about 2 years). can I start effexor as soon as stopping cymbalta?

Posted by: jan at September 30, 2009 12:51 PM

After having tried about 7 different depression medications and a trip to a mental institution because of an epic medication failure, I started taking efexor xr. I have felt so much better while taking the effexor and have experienced less side effects than I did on another other medication.

Posted by: Melissa at January 5, 2010 2:13 PM

The past week, I've been finding whole undissolved Effexor tablets in my stool. I used to take capsules but switched. I'm going back to capsules. I don't want to end up in the hospital again.

Posted by: happy at February 12, 2010 6:23 PM

I went cold turkey to get off Effexor and became suicidal. It was the worst time in my life almost.

Posted by: Joe at March 24, 2010 11:48 PM

Hi guys, every now and then I like to research the medication I'm on and read others experiences so I thought I would share mine. I'm 25 years old and have been on effexor 75xr for about two and a half years.

In 2009 I was involved in a motorcycle accident. Ended up pretty busted and took 12 months off work. In the beginning I was so happy to still be alive, despite being bed ridden. The oxy probably helped.

After about five months my mental state deteriated to a point where I no longer wanted to see anyone or do anything. I would wake in the night covered in sweat from the nightmares. Loud noises would scare me and crossing roads on foot to this day still makes me shake.

After being diagnosed with PTSD and depression I was started on Lovan. This was short lived and after two weeks I stopped. From memory it was making me sleepy and sweat at night. I immediately started on EFFEXOR XR 75mg. Even at such a low dose I can't get off them. I have tried three times and am currently on the fourth. I'm five days into a cold turkey quit. Luckily I'm off work at the moment so it's not too bad. The other times I failed to quit were all cold turkey too except for once where I dropped to 37.5mg XR and within a week was crying my eyes out to a doctor without really knowing why. I was put back on the 75mg.

Around 48 hours without a pill I will start to get headaches, randomly cry while still maintaining a constant feeling of apathy and as everyone else has said, I get the electric shock feelings through my head. They are horrible.

Other general side effects are constantly tired during the day and night but still unable to fall asleep easilly. When I do fall asleep sometimes I will sleep for 12 hours without moving one bit, others I will toss and turn and sweat all night. I am absolutely hopeless at basketball now, it feels like my vision is delayed and the contrast is turned up really high when I move my eyes. My coordination and balance is really bad and I have no energy or strength. I also have a bit of a beer gut now but eat less than I use to. If i do drink alcohol, which isnt offen these days, i have a horrific hangover. Loss of appetite. Dizziness. Confusion, inabilty to think straight, memory loss and i notice that when I speak I often stutter or get a word out and forget the rest of the sentence. My libido is almost completely gone and when I do feel like sex (rare), a lot of the time i cant finish. Ive been in a relationship for four years and she has stuck with me through all the ups and downs but she has told me I'm a different person now, that's one of the hardest things to deal with. Honesly, the list goes on.

The tablet does decrease my symptoms of depression and PTSD slightly but at what cost? if I could do it all again I would have burnt the script for this drug and either gone with something else or tried therapy for longer. It's a horrible drug and I would never recommend it to anyone. As I've been typing this I've thought of things I should add into previous paragraphs, by the time I scroll up Ive forgotten what I was going to type.

I just want it out of my body and to start a normal life again without the shopping lost of side effects but it's easier said than done. I'm currently on day five of quitting. Wish me luck. Id rather be dead than live life with this many downfalls anymore.

Posted by: Sean at May 15, 2012 2:41 AM

I have been taking Effexor XR, 300 mg since 2008. I love the stuff except for one thing. If I am late or miss a dose, I get the WORST heart palpatations I've ever had. It is so scary. I am no longer on an insurance policy and Effexor XR is expensive so I don't know what I am going to do, since stopping or reducing it affects my heart so horribly.

Posted by: Kayrose at September 16, 2012 2:49 PM

I am the POA and Best friend to a male friend who has been mentally disabled for a long time. He also lives with me. Last week due to his not being able to take cymbalta any longer due to severe leg cramps His Dr who knows how sensitive to drugs ordered venlafaxine er 37.5 mg..He had every side effect that you can google it was horrible..Now the I would not give him any more but that one pill they gave him has plummeted him into a severe episode of depression... Ive never seen him like this. Im tired of Drs using patients as their personal ginny pigs... He is almost non responsive ..I am calling his clinic tomorrow. But right now can any of you out there talk to me if you know about this Im freaked out and Im here with him He is my best friend know n him all my life and Im scared for him

Posted by: SARA at September 20, 2012 11:15 PM

I have only been on Effexor for about 4-5 weeks, and I am ready to be done with it!So after my first bottle of pills was empty, I didn't refill my prescription and have been going through withdrawal for almost a week. Backstory: I went to a therapist to talk about my panic attacks, he suggested Xanax (which is something I had taken before and already knew would work for me), but said I had to go talk to a MD about it. So I went, and she agreed to prescribe Xanax but also wanted to try Effexor, which I really, really didn't want to do and didn't really feel like I needed... but I trusted her judgement and so got an RX for that as well. Xanax is great, it works well for me in crisis situations when I feel an attack coming on (which isn't very often... until now), or when I feel like I might need some extra help in crowded social situations. Effexor... hasn't really done much for me mood-wise. I feel about the same. But the side effects!! The first day, I felt extremely hot and sweaty. That faded, but I felt nauseous for about 2 weeks and had no appetite. Then, I started having hot flashes, sweating, hair loss, and bruising. I will say that the Effexor seemed to boost my sex drive, which was awesome (I'm on birth control, which has effectively killed any fun urges for the past several years), but not worth all the other crap with no noticeable benefit to my mood - which is at a good level. So, I stopped cold-turkey. Seemed fine the first few days. Then, I started feeling dizzy if I stood up or turned around too fast. And last night was by far the worst. I started feeling soreness and tingling in my left arm as I was getting ready for bed - I was horrified that I might be having a heart attack or something! This turned into the worst panic attack I've had in months. My wonderful boyfriend helped me out, told me to do square breathing, and got me a Xanax (Xanax saves the day!). Last night was horrible. Thanks, Effexor - I'm glad I'm getting you out of my system. I will say, the advice at the bottom of this page is legit - if you are having problems, of ANY kind, writing them down or talking them out with someone is a PROVEN way to help ease depression symptoms. Please read James Pennebaker's Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions (it's available as an e-book!). It has opened my eyes to alternative ways of dealing with depression and trauma. Even if you still need some medication - which many people legitimately do - expressing your feelings in some way can also boost your mental and physical health. Good luck, everyone. <3

Posted by: Bre at November 8, 2013 11:36 AM

Effexor is about the 6th in a string of antidepressants they've tried on me... Made my anxiety worse, raised my blood pressure, made me feel "off" and just generally lousy all the time, and made my whole digestive system go completely wonky. I was miserable. One month was more than enough for me. Unfortunately getting it out of your system sucks too - I have a lot of dizziness (physical and mental) and my lips/face have a really creepy surface numbness. I feel out of it. Can't wait to get this crap out of my system.

Never again.

Posted by: effexorsucks at June 1, 2015 6:58 PM

How does it take to work am on 150mg am very low mood on these has anyone else experice the same

Posted by: corrina at August 3, 2015 2:16 PM

I am on effexor 225mg for the last 6 months. I have gained some energy but my is still not in remission.I am going through my 3rd episode. I saw mu doctor yesterday and she told me to carry on with the same dosage. Can anyone agree with this.

Posted by: Shiraz at April 14, 2016 9:14 AM

I have been taking 150 mg of effexor for years. My doctor is trying to switch me from effexor to wellbutrin. I started off skipping every other day to every two day to every three days and now I'm every four days. The dizziness, headaches and zapping in the brain and of course being able to cry on cue is just horrible after the fourth day. I do have xanax of .5mg of valium to help with the side effects. It's absolutely the hardest thing I've ever had to do...when will it get easier and I start feeling like myself again. So sick of this!

Posted by: Suffering at January 3, 2017 4:56 PM

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Many people who are depressed simply lack the ability to channel their energies or express themselves. Sometimes just by writing things down it is easy to feel better about things that happen to you.

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