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Effexor 6 months in

I thought it would be worth sharing my update, as I read every post on every site that I could before starting this and others may be doing the same. Special shoutout to @LAM130 who started at the exact same time as me and has a been a lifeline as a pen pal and support system!

Prior to starting Effexor, I was at the point where I was stable, functional and managing my symptoms but never 100%. I still had constant triggers and a few dizzy days a week where I felt lightheaded and unable to focus. I wanted to address the lingering symptoms, so I started at 12.5mg of Immediate Release, and slowly titrated up to what I’m on now - 37.5mg of Extended Release. The ER was night and day from the IR. I felt pretty fuzzy headed, stoned and out of it on the IR. Immediately felt better on the ER so highly recommend getting quickly to that.

I will say that 6 months in, I feel quite a lot better. I am rarely dizzy anymore, my triggers are less triggering and I’ve noticed a huge improvement. I can exercise, play the piano, do puzzles, golf. All of these even mild activities used to trigger me as I am very easily visually triggered. The Effexor has really helped me to feel more stable. I still have some bad days but they are like once a month now, not several times a week.

I have to add though that the nickname “Side Effexor” is no joke. My success has come with a number of side effects. I will list them here:

  • Hair thinning - this happened to me when I tried Paxil a decade ago as well
  • Insomnia - it got better over time but I still struggle to sleep unless I take a supplement at night. Highly recommend tart cherry extract!
  • Caffeine sensitivity/heart racing - I’ve always been sensitive since I’m an MAVer but now I can’t have more than a cup of tea a day or my heart is racing and I don’t sleep
  • Cognition/memory - I feel just a little bit off. I have trouble recalling things easily, I do dumb stuff like putting salad in the cabinet, leaving a refrigerator open in my garage all night, and leaving a candle burning when I left the house. :laughing:

All that said, I’m still sticking with it because it’s working. I hope all my hair doesn’t fall out and I don’t forget to pick my kids up from sports activities or something. I hope I don’t get fired for being stupid now! Overall, the good outweighs the bad at this point. I’ve also added in Botox for my chronic headaches. I had hoped Effexor would help with headaches but it hasn’t really.

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Glad to hear effexor success story. I am on effexor as well. What dose of effexor ER are you on ?

Does this help, @GetBetter ?

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I forgot to add one thing - some people apparently gain weight on Effexor while others lose weight. (you’d think this just nets out to no impact on weight, right?) I’m happy to report I’ve kept my weight down and even lost a couple pounds. My appetite has been slightly lower overall.

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Thanks for sharing, did you go straight to 37.5 from 12.5 or slower somehow by splitting pills ?
Im thinking of starting it as I also suffering depression now.

I started by splitting the 25 mg IR in half and taking it first thing in the morning. After a week and a half I started taking the other half at night so I was up to the full 25mg. (I didn’t do the counting beads thing some people do with the ER, namely because my neurologist wouldn’t allow me to do it so I just sucked up taking the IR for a while).

I didn’t list all the side effects of those first few weeks that eventually subsided but there were many - tingling hands and feet, stomach cramps, woozy/extra dizzy feeling. Soon after titrating up to the 37.5mg that all went away (there was one day on it where I felt like I was hopped up on speed or some crazy upper but that subsided too). Good luck!