Effexor - not having a good time

Hi Guys,

I’ve been on Effexor one week and here it is 2 am, I have a big day tomorrow (not demanding but need to be looking and feeling well at a day-long meeting) and I just woke up with my heart racing like crazy. I haven’t had this going on since back in the Cipramil days. It would only happen if I took Cip before bed. I’m only on 5 mg of this Effexor stuff and always feel slightly wound up. But this level of wind up tonight is way too much. I’m just not sleeping on this stuff and I take the dose in the morning.

Second problem is pain. My right heel has been sore as hell from the day I started the Effexor. And it’s getting worse. If I go for my usual 8 km walk it goes really nuts with pain. And right now I’ve got a migraine that’s right off the charts - even my eyes are burning which is a new symptom. When I lie down there’s some low-level vertigo … and there’s no way I can lie on my right side without positional vertigo going bananas. Cipramil was not exactly wonderful either but wasn’t nearly this bad. At the moment I want off this stuff and to jump over to either lexapro or cipramil again. What a nightmare. I really hate meds. This body of mine does not do well on them.

Any thoughts? Thanks.

Scott :frowning:

Sorry Scott… What about taking a benzo to get you thru the first month or so… If not you know cip worked

That is what I did. I am on a low dosage of Klonopin .5 which I will try to wean off this summer if I remain stable…But the first few months are tough which is why the patiernt does not last or the doctor takes them off

Hey Scott,

I’m so sorry your having a difficult time with Effexor. I was cautiously optomistic for you because a few days ago you said you were feeling a little better. Have you only had one experience with your heart racing…or has it happened a number of times? If you had the one expereience maybe as time goes on things will calm down. Too bad you could not take some time off when you get ready to start a new medication. Being at home in a safe enviorment when beginning a new medication is ideal…atleast to me. What does your doctor think about these symptoms…including the heel pain?

I am sensitive to medications…just like you so i know where your coming from. If it’s way too overwhelming for you then maybe you should consider weening off it. But talk to your doctor first.

I hope things get better for you.


So sorry to here this Scott. These medications are just so darn unpredictable and it makes those of us who are med senstive very uncertain about trying them.

My fear of the side effects are worse sometimes than the disease itself.

Can you take your benzo to help calm things down a bit. I know when I tried the Lexapro it sent me into warp drive like you are talking about and took almost three to four days for my system to calm back down.

well I am off to the doctor again today , see where we go from here…new symptoms I need to know what to do …we will see what she recommends .

Severe weight loss
Chest sweating only at night
tingling in legs
vibration feeling inside all the time

Go figure is it all just the MAV or something else all together.

Scott - I’m so sorry to hear that. I understand as I am VERY med sensitive. The only med I have been able to tolerate is Verapamil, but is hasn’t helped. usually side effects are worse at the start and then your body adjusts. Can you speak to you doctor? remind me - who is your doctor? let us know what your doctor says if you speak to him. I know sleep is important with this. I only feel well when I am asleep so that time is vital. I am also distressed to hear this as I’m seeing Dr. Hain in a few weeks, and was hoping to try Effexor. I do, though, know that everyone is different. I hope things get better. THis is such a tough illness to contend with. hang in there. we are here for you

Hi Scott

I’m sorry to hear you having a hard time. I know how frustrating it is, as you’ll probably have gathered, I too seem to be extremely med sensitive and suffer horrible side effects from most meds. I suffered from the anxiety-thing when I tried Topamax, I’ve never known anything like it. I woke up in the middle of the night struck by what I can only describe as sheer terror and was dripping in sweat (too much information? :slight_smile: ) Not something I want to go through again in a hurry.

From what I’ve gathered SSRI’s can worsen mood for the first 2-3 weeks of taking them, so maybe this anxiety will start to improve in a week or so? Also, something just occurred to me - do you think it could be due to being on too low a dose? I’ve read that the side effects of some medications get better as you increase the dose, could this be the case with Effexor/SSRIs? Just a thought.

I hope things improve.


I don’t think that you would be more sensitive on a lower dose. I believe that the lower dose is just the hardest to handle because you are just starting the drug. what they mean by side effects less in time, is just that your body begins to adjust. However, if you started at a high dose to begin with you would suffer greatly. I am no expert. I just have some knowledge of drugs from my job as a clinical psychologist, but I do not prescribe meds. MEd side effects are so difficult to handle in addition to our symptoms. I really hope we all find a drug that helps.

Scott, I am very sorry to hear that…I am hoping that you will have success where I did not! I like the recommendations for trying a low dose benzo for the first few weeks. I have not tried that but I think I may as I am having a tough time with the Nortriptyline thus far. One thing I did try when I really got the jitters on Effexor was swaping it and taking it during the day. It wasn’t a huge improvement but helped a little. I will say that my side effects seemed to improve slightly with an increase in dosage, but only to a point - once I went past the 37.5 mg dose, things definitley did not get better and maybe took a step backward. I am wishing you the best! Ben

Hi Scott,

I hope you are feeling better since you wrote that post. I’m still doing ok on Effexor. I’m on my 5th day at 10 mg a day. I have a little trouble sleeping but it’s not to bad.
I think you need to not think so much about it. Try to distract yourself as much as possible…I know it’s easier said than done. Avoid coffee and eat bread. My pharmacist told me when you feel anxiety from Effexor eat mac and cheese cause your brain need the carbs. Maybe that helps.

Anyways I’m here with you I hope we can get through this together.



Scott, Im sort of with Howie on this one. I think the only way you’re going to get one of these types of meds in you is to also take something alsong with it that has a calming effect as well, like klonopin or something to that effect, just something to take the edge off. I know Stephanie (can’t remember her screen name here) had trouble getting onto Effexor and used the same strategy. Now she is out living her life ONLY on Effexor with no side-effects. Just a thought. If you can’t stomach these types of meds, I guess you’ll have to go for somethng else, but I believe you had poor results with a few of the MAV categories of drugs. Maybe the next step is to use some companion meds to help allow the other meds to work with fewer bad effects? It’s just a thought.


Scott - I read some feedback about Benzos. I just wanted to let you know that withdrawal is very tough on them. I was on a low dose Klonopin for about 2 months, as my doc thought is would suppress the vestibular system (which it did not). When I stopped the Klonopin, my withdrawal was even worse than any side effect that I have had from meds. So just be aware. Klonopin in particular is very hard to withdraw from as it is a potent benzo with a very long half life. other benzos (e.g., ativan) may be easier to come off of. hope tonight is a bit better for you

Hey All,

Really, really appreciate all the input from you guys. I’m finally back from the meeting. Things got better as the day progressed but I’ve had low level heart palpitations all day and I’m definitely not functioning with a full deck of cards at all. Just felt really freaky and uncomfortable all day. I still got up there and gave a brief presentation on dietary stuff though for this diabetes prevention program that’s going on. It was a laid back and casual group so that helped a lot. Just now sitting in front of my Mac sent me off into some serious dizziness for about 15 min. Every bone in my body wants to toss this drug but I know it’s not the way this works. Funny how easy it is to hand out advice on meds but how hard it is to treat yourself! What makes me want to jump ship is the fact that getting onto Cipramil was a cake walk compared to this and I dove straight into that one at a much higher dose – straight into 10 mg. My work load is really going to ramp up in 2 weeks so I need to put a lid on this fast.

Howie and all who mentioned using a benzo: I did exactly that last night and it made me feel much worse! That is so weird … valium is usually the dream drug for me; I’d grind it up and put it on my cereal in the morning if it wasn’t so addictive! I wonder if there’s a problem with Effexor and valium? Seems unusual to me … never heard of it. Again, it was not an issue on Cipramil.

Lisa - don’t freak out over my experience and stay open and calm about it all. Everyone reacts really differently on these meds. Jenny was charged up the first week or so and is fine now. I’m just a little surprised that I’d be getting such a heavy charge at day 7 on 5 mg!! I literally throw down about 10 little beads in the morning. Doesn’t make sense. My sleep has been out of sorts for the whole week I’ve been on this really but last night was just crazy. Thanks too for the benzo reminder … I use valium really sparingly but really need it now to sleep.

Becky - yup, I’ve had one doc say the same thing to me ages ago that increasing the dose sometimes stops the bad effects yet this has not been my experience on any of the SSRIs. As I go up in dose, side effects increase although Cipramil never induced anxiety apart from weird night stuff if I took it before bed.

Ben - thanks for reminding me of your experience. Definitely makes me wonder if I’ll just end up as you did on this stuff. :?

Rich - good point but it’s not good that I can’t tolerate valium while on the effexor for some reason. I’m going to try it again tonight and see how it goes. Maybe it was a freak occurrence. The rest of my week is low key … if this is still going on by the weekend I’ll have to move on I think. It’s not sustainable while working fulltime not sleeping and feeling like an alien with my heart in my throat all day. Grrrrrr.

Emma - unfortunately for me if I ate Mac and cheese it would lay me flat out with a migraine. Can’t do cheese or the buns from Maccas. Even the milkshakes mess my head up.

Well, the good news (so far) is that I’m not fearing this no matter how ugly it gets. I’ve been down this hole so many times years ago and last year coming off Cipramil and know it isn’t permanent nor will it take me out.

Thanks again … Scott :smiley:

Hi Scott,

Those heart palpitations and jitters, I get already at night on no meds!
It started when I hit the menopause (this obviously isnt your problem) but they did tell me I had chronic fatigue syndrome (this is just a name for something they cant give an answer to) but people with cfs produce 8 times more adrenalin then everyone else, which makes me think of the adrenaline part of these drugs. Some have effects on the adrenaline (my brain is not up to analyzing the drugs but I wish the drs. who prescribe them would try and pick things that suit us individually)
When my heart races and I am jumpy every time I try and sleep I take one 10 mg propanalol (beta blocker), this stops the heart racing. I still cant sleep at night (probably because I have already produced too much adrenaline) but the heart palpitations stop.

Scott that is weird about the Valium…

Lisa if you come off the benzo at a slow rate the withdrawl is very tolerable… This is the 2nd time I am klonopin at a low dosage .5 1 to 2 times a day… I tried to come off all my meds couple of years ago when I was 95% or so stable… Big mistake

But I actually just went down a quarter of a pill every 2 to 3 weeks and I was fine… everyone is different but it depends on how slow you come off… took me like 6 months

I plan on coming off my klonopin if I remain stable for a few months and staying on the Zoloft and Verapamil…

Howie - quick question: did Verapamil ever cause you constipation? Luke is starting on it, is on 240 mg daily and everything has stopped working in that dept.

Scott 8)

I wanted to answer the question about constipation on Verapamil. I am very med sensitive and VERY constipated from Verapamil. However, thankfully, I finally found something that works — Miralax - it helps tremendously. I am doing fine now; just wish the MAV would go.

— Begin quote from ____

Rich - good point but it’s not good that I can’t tolerate valium while on the effexor for some reason. I’m going to try it again tonight and see how it goes. Maybe it was a freak occurrence. The rest of my week is low key … if this is still going on by the weekend I’ll have to move on I think. It’s not sustainable while working fulltime not sleeping and feeling like an alien with my heart in my throat all day. Grrrrrr.

— End quote

Wow, that really is odd. Ever think about a different benzo? Maybe Xanax or klonopin? I can’t take valium as it makes me feel aweful but I can do xanax just fine. Klonopin is so-so for me as it works great for the calming, but does make me a little nasty, so I stick with xanax when needed. You may jsut need a different one. But as you said, you need to function and if you just can’t stomach it, maybe you need to let it go. I know you know what’s best. But maybe one of these other meds could help stop you from getting off it. Just a thought :slight_smile:



I didn’t realize that mac and cheese can cause headaches, until I read about all the food triggers. Sorry…
I felt pretty off balance yesterday and it was hard to fall asleep, hate that feeling when you are floating in bed…Feel like I’m ready to take a higher dose of Effexor. I will go up to 19 mg on Friday…

By the way, have you ever tried Xanax with Effexor…?

I hope it works soon…


Hi Emma,

I haven’t jumped ship yet and had an ok day (as in I felt about 60%). I just finished dividing up another capsule into 6 piles. So I’m bumping it up to 6.25 mg tomorrow. My room mate thinks I’m a drug dealer. :shock:

I’ve tried Xanax before but found it was really super strong. Maybe this hassle with effexor and valium is just temporary while I adjust to it. I was ok today on a small dose of it today (1.25 mg).

Scott 8)

Scott: I must say you do get drugs easy over there…LOL…To bad I did not know you when I was in college

In answer to your question I am on 240 Verapamil and I have not had any issues… First time I was on a little urinary retention but this time no Side effects…

Email me when ever you want