Should I take Effexor

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by SusanEU, Jan 28, 2006.

  1. SusanEU

    SusanEU New Member

    I have just been diagnosed with FM, but looking back, I can tell it's been coming on for a few years. I am 48 and had a long recovery from a broken foot last year, that really seemed to be the last straw. My doctor, who I have been seeing for over 20 years, and trust, is adamant that the low dose of Effexor will help me. I want to do what she asks, but I am scared of the side effects, withdrawal, weight gain, etc. (Of course, with my anxiety, I'm scared of everything anyway.)

    You all seem like wonderful people from what I've read and seen on this board, and I'm very happy to be part of the group.

    Has anyone had success with the Effexor.

    Sue
  2. I take effexor xr, and it doesn't help with the pain, but it uplifts your spirits a bit. Try it , you can always stop it slowly. Alot of drs. suggest it, but then alot of people don't believe in it. I was desperate for anything to help. good luck.
  3. angeldust

    angeldust New Member

    I took it for a while and I thought it was great for pain. I guess it works for some and not others. Similar to cymbalta.
  4. BronzeWomn

    BronzeWomn New Member

    It made me gain weight and have hot flashes. Didnt help my legs much.
  5. foggyfroggy

    foggyfroggy Guest

    I also had a horrible experience with it - the first few times I took it I noticed a weird 'wired' feeling and within a week it put me into seizures. I have severe cfs though, and my doctor was pretty blown away; he has never seen anyone react that badly to it before. He is sure that it was the Effexor though as it does affect brain chemicals (that is it's job after all).I still take Lamictal 2 years later. Lamictal is an anti-seizure medication but it also helps mood and sleep so I wound up ahead in the long run anyhow. ;-)
    I would be very cautious.

    Gretchen
  6. dancingstar

    dancingstar New Member

    If someone wants to say that this is a scare tactic, it's not. It is my truth, completely, honestly, unvarnished, leaving off all of the details.

    It brought on or caused every symptom that I have today. During the time I took Effexor, after taking it for approximately three months during which time I was all too awake, jittery, and lost weight; I became so sleepy that I couldn't stay awake more than five hours or so a day...even if the building were burning down. I gained weight no matter what I ate...or didn't eat even if I worked out during my limited waking hours.

    It screwed up my entire endocrine and automonic nervous systems, and it took 16 months for me to become somewhat normal again when I stopped taking it. I just now found that I don't have colitis.

    Sure, some people have better luck with it, but if you already have CFS/FM, it seems like the world's worst choice and destined to backfire on our fragile immune systems sooner or later.

    Please go to Wyeth's web site and read all the side effects before beginning to take this drug. I personlly think it should be taken off the market...even if some people do react well to it. There is no free lunch with Effexor. Once you begin to take it, chances are you will have to take Effexor or somethintg similar to that drug for the rest of your life. I'm one of the few people on earth that took it for three years that now takes no similar drug in its place, and I paid a heavy price for that choice.

    Why don't doctors just prescribe seratonin after checking to see if people's blood levels are low? (because there is no drug called "seratonin.") If your blood levels are low, supplementation would be the most safe and natural choice. I don't get it...at all.

    Sorry, but I feel so strongly about this that I must make my voice heard on this subject so that no one goes through pain unnecessarily. Of course, I understand that millions will disagree with me. It's a long, lonely road...but I'll keep walking it.
  7. lilaclover30

    lilaclover30 New Member

    mayo Clinic put me on it for my horrid anxiety. i have none of it now. i have never tried to got off because I don't wanted to go back to that awful feeling on anxiety.

    Because of another Rx and its withdrawal, the fMS that I had and never was dx came on slowly and it is here to stay.This came on after i began Effexor but i can't blame it on to that.

    Gentle Hugs
  8. MKlady

    MKlady New Member

    I take it - the rheumy changed me from Zoloft and the FFC doc has kept me on it. I don't know that it did anything more or less for the pain than Zoloft, Paxil or any other SSRI I've been on. Have been taking an SSRI for 10+ years. But it keeps the depression at bay and that's an okay thing in my book.
  9. dancingstar

    dancingstar New Member

    Hi Susan,

    Now that I've ranted about Effexor, I'd like to add that doctors are tending to prescribe it a lot these days for what are likely to be hormonal issues, which makes absolutely no sense at all as it's a chemical and only adds more stress to your body when it is already struggling.

    Effexor doesn't add hormones, and in my humble opinion just stresses your already taxed system and ultimately confuses it, often causing other systems to backfire in order to compensate...like when we take amphetamines because we are so tired that we can't stay awake and pay the price the next day, but differently in this case. It's not the greatest analogy.

    I began to take Effexor when I was about 46 and in the best shape of my entire life, about 18 percent body fat. I had an injured back and was a wee bit tired and did need some rest, probably over-exercised as I was teaching at least five classes a week at the gym in addition to my own schedule and running a stressful business and home life.

    If you actually had all of your hormone levels checked, you might find that some had dropped. It happens to everyone when we're not looking. It's not just the estrogen/progesterone, but when all of them begin to slow down as we get older, even our natural seratonin, we start to feel icky.

    If these hormones are brought back to a healthier level NATURALLY (the operative word here) you might find that you are able to tolerate much more, much more easily and with the same grace that you have always had in the past.

    It's a shame that good doctors are resorting to using SSRIs/SNRIs instead of helping to really heal us. My guess is that you could benefit from at least having a complete hormonal blood panel done so that you can see what's up for yourself. I'd never have guessed that fixing this drama in my own life could bring back my energy, my brain, my sense of humor, make my joints feel more fluid, and relieve a degree of pain.

    I know that you'll find the answers that you are looking for because there are so many great people here, and someone will post just the information that you need that rings most true for you.

    Hugs,
    Bebe




  10. Angel6801

    Angel6801 New Member

    I had taken this when I was 18 (I'm 23 now) and stopped when I learned I was pregnant which was at 19 age. I believe that effexor was not really safe drug. But like other people said... It is varitiy in different people. Some people tolerated it while some don't. The dr gave me this cuz I was really depressed and had mild anxiety. But after I was on (about nine months), my panic and anxiety gotten worse. I believe this drug had trigged my panic attacks more often. I usually had them once while (related to bad experience I had in past) but with the effexor, my panic attacks seems to be happen more often. Sometimes I would get really scared right in the middle of store. Everyone got worry about me and doesn't like the fact I was on it. It totally changed who I was. Now, I was on remeron (with effexor) so I gained 35 lbs on this drug. Then I got unexpectant surprised that I was pregnant. Like other moms, I was worry how this drug will affect the fetus. So I went to my new dr to discuss the options about continue effexor or not. So, the dr pointed that it was best if I stopped in cold turkey. OF course, I pointed out that my other dr said that I am suppose to weaning it slowly... And I can tell that I had bad side effect if I forget take one today...But after the dr conviced me that it was all in my head(looking back now, I wish I could slap her right at this moment!)

    Okay, I am not going to lie to you. I had this horrible withdrawal!!!! That was when I swore myself that I would NOT taking any anti depressant medcations. Ever! (no offense to other okay? :) ) I didn't want to put myself through this... I had horrible headaches (the kind that i felt like electric shock, send me the pains in my head, arms, legs)I could not function anything. That means I could NOT talk to my friends... I ended up isolated myself in the dorm room. THis was the worst thing... I kept puking, so with the pregnacy and withdrawal in cold turkey is not helping the situtation. I was in college, which means my family was not with me, and I had NO support system at that time... I finally returned back to home and my family was shock to see that I lost so much weights. I ended up went to ER to get IV since I was only two month pregnant with my beautiful daughter... So... I finally got my strenghts back... But, I still have some problems and seems to get worst. So I dont know if it was all cuz of my pregnancy trigger it or it was... effexor that trigger it.

    So, now.. It is up to you. Just research a lot about it... I just don't want bad things has happen to you, mostly if this drug will makes some things worse for you. ONly you knows what the best. Like I said... Everyone is different.. I know someone who was on some anti depressant and did turned out fine. I had been on four different anti depressant. SO none of them turned out good for me. Good luck! And keep us update. :)
  11. SusanEU

    SusanEU New Member

    Thanks so much, everyone, I never wanted to take in the first place, but she - dr - seemed so adamant that it was the best thing. I don't think I'll chance it, my neighbour took it and gained 80 lbs and had horrible withdrawal. I tried paxil and stopped after 5 days, cause it seemed like it was making the panic attacks worse and i think this might be the same thing. I'm afraid my dr will be upset with me, but it is MY body after all.


    I'll think I'll just keep on with the diet changes, calcium and magnesium and vitamins, and the lorazepam at night to sleep. Good Lord, isn't the insomnia with this thing horrible!!

    Thanks again.

    Sue from Ontario

  12. nanna4550

    nanna4550 New Member

    I took Effexor for about 18 months. I didn't notice a reduction in the pain when I started taking it, but when I went off of it because of the terrible withdrawal I was in more pain. I finally decided to try Cymbalta, and within 3-5 days I noticed a dramatic reduction in the pain levels.
    I still have flares, but day to day the pain is bearable.
    I would never take Effexor again.
  13. Sheila1366

    Sheila1366 New Member

    First off I have to say never ever stop taking an AD cold turkey.You must be slowly weaned off.Withdrawl can be very serious.As is the same for any medication,you must wean off.
    I went to see my psych. this week and told here about some of the threads on the board saying that AD's damamge your immune system.She just laughed.SHe is also a dr. of pharmacutical medicine.Now some may say that she is a pill pusher because of doctrine but she's not.
    My daughter takes Effexor and it has worked very well for her.No side effects at all.But I did have a friend that took welbutrin and started having seizures.AD's as several other meds like humeria for RA and remicade for lupus have serious side effects.
    I think that an AD helps with just the emotional side of FM.I have never been told it would help with pain,it's not a pain releiver.
    I take the recommended vitamins and supplemnts my reheumy has me take and I am sure they help along with the combination of my AD's.
    It is yor choice as to which way you choice to go.It is good you have a great relationship with your dr.I am sure yor dr. will keep a close eye on you.
    But if youdo decide to take it and it makes you worse...call dr. and wean yorself off of it.The thing about AD's, if you have been taking it for a few months or longer that when you quit taking it all of a sudden whatever symptoms you being treated for with the AD will get worse.It's like you just bottom out.The sudden stop throws your body out of wack and can be dangerous.
    I'm trying to not to stir you either way but I just want to let you know from someone that has seen the positive side of this med.
    For many people out there it has saved their lives.All drugs have side effects and many of these have saved lives.Give it a try and see if it helps.I pray that it will.
    Sheila
  14. dancingstar

    dancingstar New Member

    ...but it's a good thing she's not my doctor, or I'd sue her pants off.

    Even my internist has watched the damage Effexor has done to me. He feels duped as well and has stopped prescribing it. Of course, he is an alternative medicine doc as well. She makes her money pushing pills and has damaged people like me to the point of near death. I hope that she experiences the same thing so that maybe she won't be so callous.
  15. Sheila1366

    Sheila1366 New Member

    Sensitive topic on this board for sure.We don't have to agree with each other but I think it is fair to give both sides of the story.Sorry you had such a bad exsperince.
    Sheila
  16. dancingstar

    dancingstar New Member

    ...to think that antidepressants are helpful. What I think is outright rude is the idea that a doctor would laugh at someone's immune system being damaged by these drugs when our doctors have watched what has happened to our bodies and our blood work because of our taking them.

    No one knows exactly what happens when you mess with the chemistry of the brain, and a delicate or fragile immune system or someone that doesn't tolerate these drugs well -- or someone with what is known as the "European gene" all can be hurt perhaps permanently by taking these drugs. I've even read this in studies done on Effexor that were withheld from publication by Wyeth-Ayerst.

    There, I'm done with this now.