Quitting Venlafaxine Cold Turkey: A Risky Gamble with Your Well-being

So, you’re considering kicking Venlafaxine to the curb, cold turkey style? Hold your horses, friend. While the allure of ditching those pesky pills might be tempting, abruptly stopping Venlafaxine can be a recipe for disaster, potentially unleashing a torrent of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

But before we dive into the nitty-gritty of withdrawal, let’s rewind a bit. Venlafaxine, better known by its brand name Effexor belongs to a class of antidepressants called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). These medications work their magic by increasing the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine two neurotransmitters that play a crucial role in regulating mood, sleep, and anxiety.

Now, when you abruptly stop taking Venlafaxine, your body, accustomed to the steady supply of these neurotransmitters, goes into a state of shock. This sudden withdrawal can trigger a range of unpleasant symptoms, including:

  • Brain zaps: These are brief, electric shock-like sensations that can occur in the head, often described as feeling like a jolt of electricity.
  • Dizziness and vertigo: The world might feel like it’s spinning, making it difficult to maintain your balance.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Your stomach might feel like it’s on a roller coaster, with waves of nausea and vomiting.
  • Headaches: Throbbing, pounding headaches can become your unwelcome companions.
  • Insomnia: Sleep might become a distant dream, leaving you feeling exhausted and irritable.
  • Anxiety and irritability: Your mood might take a nosedive, leaving you feeling anxious, agitated, and easily frustrated.

The severity and duration of these withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person, depending on factors like the dosage of Venlafaxine you were taking, how long you were on it, and your individual sensitivity. For some, the symptoms might be mild and short-lived, while others might experience a more intense and prolonged withdrawal period.

Now, you might be wondering, “Is there a way to avoid this withdrawal nightmare?” The answer is a resounding yes! Instead of going cold turkey, the recommended approach is to gradually taper off your Venlafaxine dosage under the guidance of your healthcare provider. This slow and steady reduction allows your body to adjust to the decreasing levels of the medication, minimizing the risk of withdrawal symptoms.

Here’s a general guideline for tapering off Venlafaxine:

  • Start by reducing your dosage by 25mg every 2-4 weeks.
  • Monitor your symptoms closely and adjust the tapering schedule as needed.
  • If you experience any significant withdrawal symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider about slowing down the tapering process.

Remember, quitting Venlafaxine cold turkey is not a wise decision. It can lead to a cascade of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that can significantly impact your quality of life. Instead, opt for a gradual taper under the supervision of your healthcare provider to ensure a smooth and comfortable transition off the medication.

If you’re struggling with the decision to quit Venlafaxine, remember that you’re not alone. Reach out to your healthcare provider for guidance and support. They can help you develop a safe and effective tapering plan that’s tailored to your individual needs.

And lastly, a word of encouragement: quitting Venlafaxine can be a positive step towards managing your mental health. With the right support and guidance, you can successfully navigate this transition and move forward on a path towards well-being.

How Does Effexor Work?

According to the FDA drug label, how Effexor works is “unknown. The label further states that the medication has been shown to impact norepinephrine, an excitatory hormone connected to adrenaline, and serotonin, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, in “non-clinical studies.” The drug is also found to affect dopamine but to a lesser extent. To be clear, studies involving animals that are conducted in vitro (in a lab without the use of a living organism) or on live animals are considered “non-clinical” trials. 1,12.

While venlafaxine is not considered a scheduled drug by the DEA, indicating that it has no potential for abuse, medical literature does note that stopping Effexor (venlafaxine) abruptly or missing multiple doses can cause withdrawal-like symptoms. 4,5.

Common Effexor Withdrawal Symptoms

Commonly, many persons will experience symptoms of withdrawal from antidepressant medication within a day or two. The half-life of Effexor XR is approximately 11 hours, whereas that of venlafaxine’s immediate-release version is only 5 hours. The half-life point is a predictable marker for when withdrawal symptoms will begin to manifest. 5,6.

  • Flu-like symptoms (fatigue, muscle pain, aches)
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Brain zaps or brain shivers (electric shock-like sensations)
  • Dry mouth
  • Impulsive or erratic behaviors
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia, disturbed sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Seizures
  • Effexor withdrawal can cause a wide range of extremely distressing reactions, and these can differ from person to person. Seek help to avoid this outcome. And, never ever abruptly discontinue Effexor as to do so can be life-threatening. Seek licensed, competent help to assist you with Effexor withdrawal.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Some people might be able to stop taking antidepressants, particularly if they took them sparingly and for a brief period of time. For others, the negative effects of Effexor withdrawal may persist for several weeks, months, or even longer, particularly if they stop too quickly. The length of time it may take to fully recover from Effexor withdrawal depends on a number of factors, including age and general health. 6.

Effexor Venlafaxine Withdrawal Side Effects. Ahhhh!!! And some solutions.


What happens if I stop taking venlafaxine suddenly?

Missing doses of venlafaxine may increase your risk for relapse in your symptoms. Stopping venlafaxine abruptly may result in one or more of the following withdrawal symptoms: irritability, nausea, feeling dizzy, vomiting, nightmares, headache, and/or paresthesias (prickling, tingling sensation on the skin).

How long does it take to get venlafaxine out of your system?

The immediate-release elimination half-life is about 5 hours, while the elimination half-life of Effexor XR is about 11 hours. How long does it take for Effexor to get out of your system? Some patients may excrete the medication in just 16.5 hours, while it may take 1.6 days for others to completely excrete it.

What is the withdrawal rate for venlafaxine?

For venlafaxine, after only 8 weeks of use, 38.7% of patients were rated by study researchers as experiencing moderately severe withdrawal symptoms, with 3.2% as ‘severe’ and 1.6% as ‘very severe’ [52].

Can I stop Effexor cold turkey?

It is not a good idea to stop Effexor or generic venlafaxine cold turkey. In fact, it can be very dangerous. Like other medications for depression and anxiety, discontinuing with Effexor can cause intense withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it abruptly.

Can venlafaxine be stopped abruptly?

You should avoid abruptly stopping venlafaxine treatment unless otherwise directed by your healthcare provider. Gradually reducing the dose over 4 weeks can help to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms in most people. Do not stop treatment on your own. Your doctor can set up a tapering schedule to help you safely discontinue venlafaxine.

How long do venlafaxine withdrawal symptoms last?

Venlafaxine withdrawal symptoms typically last up to 3 to 4 weeks, but may persist even longer. You should avoid abruptly stopping venlafaxine treatment unless otherwise directed by your healthcare provider. Gradually reducing the dose over 4 weeks can help to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms in most people. Do not stop treatment on your own.

What happens if I miss a dose of venlafaxine (Effexor XR)?

This means that if you take short-acting venlafaxine ( Effexor IR ), you may begin to develop withdrawal symptoms within hours on the same day after your last dose. Similarly, if you miss a dose of long-acting venlafaxine ( Effexor XR ), you may start to develop withdrawal symptoms within a day or two.

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