Saturday, July 9, 2011

Effexor Sucks

My apologies in advance if the post is a bit disjointed - that's how I feel.  I've been of the generic version of effexor since the end of April.  I moved from 37.5 to 75 and then to 150mg pretty quickly.  The good news was that the depression and anxiety lifted markedly within a couple of weeks.

The depression got really bad over the past bit as I struggled to suppress being gay.  Became dangerous again early in the year.  C and the therapist finally forced/threatened me to go on meds - thank god.

But then the side effects - wicked dry mouth which went away.  Then the sexual ones.  Lack of libido, then to add insult to injury even when I could get it up I couldn't get it out.  One of the side effects of this crap is inability to orgasm (happens in women too according to a friend). 

So two weeks ago I talk to the shrink.  He moves me back to 37.5 (he had already moved me from 150 to 75mg).  And adds that if the sexual dysfunction keeps up I could get off it and maintain the wellbutrin he'd put me on.  The dysfunction lessens, but I decide Wednesday should be my last dose given the side effects including blood pressure issues which has C freaked. 

Then Thursday at 6pm, the time I take the dose, I notice that I feel kind of crappy.  A bit dizzy almost.  And it's like I have trouble finding words or like I'm a printed page with words randomly missing.

Brain zaps begin later that day.  It feels like and sounds like very small electrical pulses in the head.  Yes, sounds like - auditory and visual hallucinations are a potential side effect.  At least I haven't seen anything that's not there (I hope).  The zaps seem less when I don't move at all - any movement can bring them on.  I went from 9am to 4pm and again from 8pm to 9:30pm with very few.  Sometimes I get as many as 25-50 a minute - one right after the other. 

Insomnia is a side effect too - hence the 2:30am local time that I'm doing this.  

Time to be still at least to lessen the zaps.  To sleep - perchance to dream.

Not sure how long the withdrawal will last.   Again - what a long strange trip


  1. My doc raised my effexor dose from 75 to 150 a couple of weeks ago... after 3 days my head was buzzing constantly (like the feeling you get with some of those cold remedies, a disconnected feeling)... I called and told her I was going back to 75 and after another day I was back to almost normal... These drugs are great when they work, but horrible side effects for some (or so I've been told)...

  2. The only proscription I have ever taken was propecia, which works great to slow hair loss. The dose is only 1mg a day so it takes time before it builds in your system. Not everyone suffers side-effects from that crap but a lot of guys do. In my case, it dramatically changed my personality, decimated my erections, ruined my sex drive and now I'm being told, killed my marriage. After being on it for about 2.5 years I weened myself off. Even after going from only 3mg a week to zero it took 18 months before I felt mostly normal.

    This experience has made me extremely skeptical of big pharma meds. I'm sure it's easier to say than to do, but if I were you I would find any other way to deal with depression besides medication. If you're feeling and seeing certain side-effects you're probably only seeing part of the total picture. I say run away as far and as fast as you can from these science experiments gone bad.

  3. Took Effexor for a time also. Didn't have the brain saps but just like you said could get it up but getting it out was impossible. I got to the place all I could think about was having an organism. I thought I'd go crazy. Now I take welbutrin and have no problems at all.

  4. Thanks guys. I seem to be a bit better at this point. Feels nice. Two lives I agree somewhat with Big Pharma. But the Effexor brought me back from the edge. I'd been actively suicidal for some time, had engaged in self-injurious behavior. Highway bridge abutments were calling my name as I drove by. But we do give them out like candy and keep people on them way too long.

  5. Currently trying to discontinue Effexor also, after only being on it for a couple months. I've always been extremely sensitive to pretty much all chemicals I put into my system, dropping down from 75mg to 37.5mg induced some of the worst panic attacks I have ever had in my life. Almost as if my body was going through withdrawals. I'm ready to be off of them.]