Venlafaxine HCl (commonly sold under the brand name Effexor) is an oral medication that is often prescribed to treat depression, anxiety, and social phobia. Unfortunately, patients who stop their consumption, whether intentionally or not, are often faced with symptoms of discontinuation of the drug which is quite extreme. Some of the symptoms that may occur are nausea, headache, irritability, itching, vertigo, tremor, etc., and can range from mild to quite severe. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to make getting away from Effexor more easily, namely changing the dose of the drug with the supervision and assistance of a doctor, as well as taking the other steps listed in this article. If you run out of medicine, immediately contact your doctor or pharmacy for a temporary prescription.
Method 1 of 3: Dealing with Discontinuation Symptoms
Step 1. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms
Some of the symptoms of discontinuation of Effexor are dizziness, fatigue, restlessness, anxiety, nausea, headache, irritability, tremors, hives, a clicking or buzzing sound in your head, sweating, discomfort, muscle aches, and insomnia. All of these symptoms can range from mild to severe. In addition, you may experience only a few symptoms or all of them.
Step 2. Drink as much water as possible
When experiencing symptoms of discontinuation of Effexor, there are actually several simple ways you can do. First of all, you have to drink as much water as possible. The faster toxins are removed from the body, the faster the recovery process takes place.
Step 3. Eat nutrient-dense foods
When you experience symptoms of withdrawal from Effexor, it is likely that your appetite will decrease. However, do not let the body starve so that your immune system does not decrease and recover faster. Instead, eat foods rich in nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, or nuts.
- Ask your friends to help bring you a smoothie made from a mixture of strawberries, bananas, almond milk, and coconut oil.
- In addition, you can also have a handful of trail mix (a mixture of grains, nuts, and granola) or a piece of beef jerky if you want.
Step 4. Rest
The best way to deal with Effexor withdrawal symptoms is to rest your body. Therefore, try as much as you can to clear your schedule and rest as much as possible. Even though you can't sleep, at least don't do intense activities and rest your body so that your condition recovers faster.
- This method should only be done if the body is well hydrated.
- Drink water before and after sweating profusely.
Step 5. Do deep breathing exercises
Try to relax, then take deep and long breaths as possible to circulate more oxygen in the blood, lower your heart rate, and stabilize your blood pressure. Deep breathing can actually reduce anxiety, panic, and even nausea, and has been shown to be able to overcome anxiety and headaches.
Step 6. Patiently wait
While the symptoms of stopping Effexor may be uncomfortable or even painful, understand that the effects are not permanent. In fact, most people feel better within 24 hours (or up to 72 hours). If you are aiming to detox Effexor, the steps you have taken are the right ones. Don't worry, the effect will wear off in a few days!
Method 2 of 3: Making Modifications to Avoid Severe Symptoms
Step 1. Consult a doctor or psychiatrist
Before deciding to stop taking Effexor, don't forget to discuss it with your doctor or psychiatrist first. Effexor is a very difficult drug to stop taking, mainly because doing so is prone to triggering intense emotional reactions, including suicidal ideation. Therefore, it is better to carry out the transition process with the assistance and supervision of trusted medical experts.
Step 2. Replace the Effexor XR tablet with IR
Some people receive a prescription for Effexor XR (extended release). Unfortunately, this type of tablet is difficult to reduce the dose. Meanwhile, Effexor IR (immediate release) tablets are generally sold in doses of 25 mg, 37.5 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg so that they are easier to control. Try to consult the possibility of changing your drug type with an IR tablet to make the process of reducing the dose easier.
- With the help of special tools, you can divide the drug in half if needed.
- Splitting a drug is the simplest method of controlling the dose.
Step 3. Arrange the timeline
Some doctors recommend that patients lower the dose of the drug by 37.5 to 75 mg, and take the new dose for one week. Then, the patient can again reduce the dose of the drug by 37.5 to 75 mg the following week. If you don't mind taking a longer time, try lowering the dose by 10% for one week, then lowering it again by 10% the following week. It may take several months to see results, but the risk of discontinuation will be minimal.
Step 4. Take a different medication
If you want to stop taking mood-altering drugs, this method will certainly sound contradictory. However, many doctors actually recommend their patients to change the type of antidepressant they are taking (usually Prozac at a dose of 10-20 mg) to make the process of discontinuing Effexor easier, especially because Prozac has a lower risk of causing withdrawal symptoms. That's why, you can take it at your doctor's request to stabilize your mood and prevent negative Effexor withdrawal symptoms from occurring.
Step 5. Check with your doctor regularly
Again, you should always contact your doctor after changing your dose, type of medication, or method of treatment. Some changes have proven to be risky for sudden mood swings, and can even lead you to take dangerous actions! Therefore, make sure you always communicate with your doctor so that your health and well-being is maintained while making changes.
It's a good idea to have a special journal to record how you feel at each stage of change
Method 3 of 3: Avoiding Accidental Discontinuation of Drugs
Step 1. Contact the nearest pharmacy
If you just realized that the stock of medicine at home has run out, immediately contact the nearest pharmacy and ask if you still have rations to redeem the medicine. If so, immediately go to the pharmacy and buy it.
Step 2. Call the doctor
If you run out of medicine, immediately contact your doctor to ask for a new prescription. See a doctor as soon as possible!
Step 3. Go to the Emergency Unit (ER)
If you have trouble seeing a doctor within the next 72 hours, you should immediately go to the nearest ER. As exaggerated as this may sound, understand that symptoms of stopping Effexor can appear within 24 hours of a missed dose of the drug.
Step 4. Talk to the nurse
In an emergency, you can consult the medical condition behind the consumption of Effexor to the nurse, when was the last dose you took, and how much to take. Since some nurses don't understand how serious the symptoms of discontinuing Effexor are, be patient and explain that missing a dose of the drug can make you really sick.
Step 5. Get a temporary prescription
Inform the doctor about the next examination time. This way, your doctor can prescribe a lower quantity of medication that you can take during this time.
Step 6. Redeem the recipe immediately
After leaving the ER, immediately go to the pharmacy and redeem the prescription. As a result, you don't run the risk of losing your prescription or forgetting to redeem it at a later date.
- Stopping Effexor suddenly can trigger tremors, dizziness, brain zap (the sensation of an electric shock in the brain), and nausea. Some people are even at risk of having a stroke or sudden heart attack. That's why, you should see a doctor immediately if you run out of stock Effexor!
- NEVER change or stop the dose of Effexor and any other medicines without your doctor's knowledge.