Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by terrilynnb, Feb 15, 2007.
My son has been on it for years. Is there something I should know?
The important thing is, is it working for your son?
I've been on it for almost 4 years and it's working fine for me, and I have no problems with it.
I know it's horrible to wean off of, probably because the lowest dose is 37.5 and weaning should be done slowly.
I did well on the Effexor but like with the Cymbalta I think I just plain build up an immunity or something to it and since I was already at the highest (safest) doseage the DR decided to switch me to Cymbalta which again worked pretty well for me for almost a year and now again I am being switched to Welbutrin. If your son is doing well on it ... cool. That was just my particular situation. I thought the DR would put me back on Effexor but chose to try the Welbutrin. Others are maybe just fed up with the use of anti-depressants for FMS? I personally feel they have helped me somewhat but they are not a cure ... just a bandaid ... lol.
I agree, if it is working don't make a change. What I have read is many doctors are now not prescribing Effexor at all because it is so hard to stop. See the article below..
I have read that how doctors are handling getting people off Effexor is they change them to Prozac, then taper off the Prozac. It is very difficult to taper off Effexor because of the "half life" of the drug. I believe there is none. You can easily research it yourself. If your son ever does want to stop Effexor, check out transitioning to Prozac for a while, then going off that drug.
Effexor's pros and cons:
Pros: There are two last resorts among the modern meds to cure the deepest, blackest depression when your doctor is just switching you from one horsie to another on the med-go-round: Effexor (venlafaxine hydrochloride) and Remeron (mirtazapine).
Either in combination with an antipsychotic would really get you out of that hole of despair, but first you should throw away every mirror and scale in your house and buy expandable clothing. But for deep, despairing clinical depression that needs to respond to the standard tweaking of the three most popular neurotransmitters, Effexor (venlafaxine hydrochloride) often pulls people out of the abyss.
Cons: For many people Effexor has the absolute worst discontinuation syndrome of an antidepressant. Effexor (venlafaxine hydrochloride) is a medication people utterly loathe to have taken. It is not uncommon for someone to fire doctors during or immediately after they quit taking Effexor (venlafaxine hydrochloride).
Effexor's Typical Side Effects: The usual for SSRIs and SNRIs - headache, nausea, dry mouth, sweating, sleepiness or insomnia, and diarrhea or constipation, weight gain, loss of libido and a host of other sexual dysfunctions. Most everything but the weight gain and sexual dysfunctions usually goes away within a couple of weeks. Although some women will notice that the sexual side effects will diminish above 200-225mg a day when the norepinephrine kicks in. Maybe.
For tips on how to cope with these side effects, please see our side effects page.
Effexor's Not So Common Side Effects: Increased or lowered blood pressure, sweating, farting, anorexia, twitching, shock-like sensations.
Also alcohol intolerance and/or alcohol abuse. So Effexor (venlafaxine hydrochloride) is going to be just the thing to talk about at AA meetings.
I used to have these last two listed as rare side effects, but I've received way too many e-mails and have read far too many similar reports on various other sites after putting up this page about both of them. As is often the case here, the anecdotal evidence will often trump what is in the US PI Sheet. Best guess to date as to why both of these side effects can happen - Paul of Leeds (in the U.K.) posits that Effexor's broad spectrum use of liver enzymes probably interferes with alcohol clearance and tolerance, thus leading to the type of alcoholism that affects people without the proper enzymes to effectively metabolize alcohol. Between that and the way Effexor works your liver, you're probably better off giving up booze entirely if you're taking this med.
These may or may not happen to you don't, so don't be surprised one way or the other.
Effexor's Freaky Rare Side Effects: Someone's reflexes increased and someone else's breasts got bigger, proving that there is no pleasing some people. Someone else's hair changed color and, really, no Revlon was involved. But the most disturbing freaky rare side effect with Effexor (venlafaxine hydrochloride) is what Wyeth disingenuously calls "withdrawal syndrome," that once you acclimate to Effexor (venlafaxine hydrochloride) you are basically hooked for life.
The discontinuation syndrome never goes away if you try to stop. For someone with unipolar depression that's a pain in the ass, but something you might be able to work around barring any really adverse side effects, but for someone who is bipolar you can be royally screwed because Effexor (venlafaxine hydrochloride) can really aggravate mania and especially rapid cycling.
I've been getting a few e-mails and reading a few reports about how Effexor has caused Effexor users, as well as friends and relatives using the med to really hit the booze, so alcohol abuse may not be that rare a side effect after all.
You aren't going to get these. I promise. Although I make no promises about the alcohol abuse.
HERE IS A PETITION LETTER SOMEONE POSTED ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO SIGN AND SEND TO THE DRUG MANUFACTURER:
To: Effexor's manufacturer, Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories
We the individuals listed below have electronically signed this petition for the purpose of making it known that consumers treated with the SSNRI antidepressant Effexor have or are experiencing "often ignored" serious side effects of this medication.
And that thousands of patients in the US and worldwide are unable to discontinue Effexor or even reduce dosage due to the rapid onset of severe withdrawal-like symptoms which often initiates before a patient begins dose reduction due to the short half-life of Effexor.
Documentation of which the manufacturer, Wyeth-Ayerst has gradually disclosed now some 8 years after this drug was first licensed, being aware of these problems all along but failing to communicate this knowledge to the public and the medical community.
Wyeth-Ayerst misleadingly advertises through its Effexor labeling that only drug abusers are at risk of physical and psychological dependence, and withdrawal problems when tapering back or abruptly discontinuing Effexor usage.
Wyeth-Ayerst knows such representations are false, and that all patients, including patients not having a history of drug abuse, are susceptible to withdrawal problems after tapering back or abruptly discontinuing Effexor.
Effexor as prescribed to us by our doctors resulted in anxiety and agitation, sexual dysfunction, hypomania, weight gain, and many other debilitating adverse reactions such as insomnia and bizarre vivid nightmares, deterioration in eyesight, high blood pressure, dehydrating night sweats, memory problems, thyroid disorders which can cause the very depression this medication was first prescribed to treat, among other serious side effects.
These iatrogenic (medication induced) effects were ignored or underplayed by its manufacturer, which resulted in our overall inability to function normally for lengthy periods of time during usage and attempted dose reduction. Nor had proper disclosure been made that benzodiazepines had been co-prescribed during clinical trial in order to minimize the agitation that the manufacturer had recognized this medication could cause.
Effexor in many cases is not the "stand alone" remedy that it has been advertised to be. Patient in accepting treatment with Effexor are not being forewarned that by their use of Effexor -- sleeping medication, blood pressure medication, and anti-anxiety medication might become a concurrent necessity. Thus the mis-informed consumer totally unexpectedly finds themselves being prescribed many more drugs than they ever anticipated needing.
We all know that taking prescription medication involves some risks and that with each medication some percentage of patients are likely to experience adverse results. We strongly feel however, that the risks involved with the usage of Effexor is greater than the medical community and the public realize, certainly greater than we were ever told, and that Wyeth-Ayerst knew of these risks but failed to communicate those risks to the consumer and their physicians.
Our lives have been negatively, unexpectedly, and undeservingly impacted by the antidepressant Effexor. We were not given full disclosure of this medication's known adverse effects, and many of us suffered greatly because of this failure to warn.
Therefore, our purpose with this petition is to share information that we have gathered so that others will have adequate knowledge and be able to fully discuss options and risks of the use of Effexor with qualified medical professionals before they make any final choice regarding initiating these types of medications.
Thereby being able to be a knowledgeable consumer and make the appropriate decisions together with their physicians in regards to their own medical treatment and might be spared the suffering we have experienced first hand.
By this petition let it be made clear that we are not advocating the non-use of Effexor because this medication's possible benefits to the public at large is beyond our scope of knowledge to the extent that each individual now considering the use of Effexor has informational benefits we did not, now that more medical information regarding Effexor has been released to the public.
Now that others will have the benefit of this information where we did not, and the benefit of important public websites such as Steve Whiting's -- www.effexorfx.freeuk.com, each person must take responsibility to make their own decision regarding the use of these types of medications, assisted by proper advise from a qualified medical professional, fully knowledgeable of Effexor's profile and side effects.
But as individuals, and their are a significant number of us, we have found that the disclosure regarding the side effects and efficacy of Effexor that we were given and which is still being propagated, is significantly misleading to the consumer and the medical community at large. This cannot continue and we hope you will support us with our pleas to Wyeth-Ayerst for full and accurate disclosure.
[This Message was Edited on 02/16/2007]
I had read all the cons of effexor and was loath to take until I virtually could hardly get out of bed anymore.
I've been on it for a year and it has given me my life back. If I am on it for the long term so bit it.
We are all different, but it was a life saver for me.
Sue in ONtario
Let me tell you, going off Effexor and Cymbalta is pure hell even with weaning, etc.
I just didn't like the idea of taking a med that is there was something that happened where I couldn't get the med, I would be so physially ill.
So, that's my story. I tired both...Effexor was more effective than Cymbalta, but I would take neither again.
Just my own opinion.
I am on Effexor (75mg) and I have no problems with it.
Probably its because its a low dosage.
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