Effexor or zoloft anyone?

Hi All,

Just wondered who here has tried either effexor or zoloft? I’ve been reading through some posts and figured some of you might be taking one or the other. If so how’s it going?

I know effexor is recommended as a migraine preventative, but am trying to work out if zoloft has also been recommended by neurologists for MAV? I am wary of effexor due to the extreme discontinuation syndrome.

Trying to decide which one to go for. I have exhausted most other possiblities - and can’t take certain preventatives due to a stomach problem. After 6 yrs of this condition on and off I am desperate for some relief.

Be grateful for any thoughts,


Hi Hannah,

Nice to see ya but i’m sorry to hear you’re still suffering.

Last time I saw you on the board I was just starting my Zoloft. I got some relief, not a lot. Since then I added Klonopin, which I got a lot of relief from and finally Topamax with dramatic relief. I did read somewhere on this board that someone had five good years with Zoloft.

You probably know this, but Furman uses Zoloft; Hain uses Effexor. Someone who is being treated at Johns Hopkins just started Effexor, not sure how he’s doing.

You might want to do a search for posts by Meagan (sp?) - she was doing great on Effexor but had a heck of a time withdrawing to get pregnant. There was one other poster who was here briefly, within the past month or six weeks, who was doing well, at least initially, with Effexor.

Good luck,


I was on an extremely high dose of effexor for awhile. My neurologist kept wanting to see “what happened.” I didn’t have any side effects at a low dose which was nice. High doses however were a disaster. I ended up with drug induced suicidal ideation, I’ve since learned that I’m extremely sensitive to increased levels of norephenephrine and that I should avoid increased levels of this neurotransmitter until I’m at least a few years older (I’m 19). On the bright side, I didn’t have a terrible time getting off of the effexor, the effoxor capsules are breakable so you can wean yourself off it if it becomes a problem.

The important thing is that everyone responds to medications differently, so you can’t really tell how it will effect you until you try it.

Hi there,

Thanks for your replies.

Julie, I was delighted to hear you’re doing so well on topamax, sadly it didn’t work for me, despite toughing it out for two months. Although I was, despite quite bad side effects, half tempted to stick with it due to the weight loss. It was fantastic, I was so slim, lol. Apologies if I have told you that before, the propranonol does a number on my memory.

I wasn’t aware there was a doc using zoloft for this. Does he recommend it specifically for MAV? Am not familiar with Furman, although have heard of Hain. Did you struggle getting on to the zoloft - was it a rough ride or ok?

Dizzyup - thanks for your thoughts. It’s true everyone is different when it comes to drugs, but it’s still nice to get an idea of what could potentially happen.

Anyone else with any thoughts- would really appreciate them,



After getting ‘the shakes’ with nortriptyline, headaches with Verapamil, & nothing with Atenolol, my neurologist just started me on Effexor. Had a week of 37.5 mg … today I’m supposed to increase dose to 75 mg daily. I’m a little nervous about it, mainly because I’ve been a little nauseous since starting the Effexor. Seems like as soon as my stomach gets empty, the nausea starts. If I eat a few crackers or something, I’m okay for a while. I was taking it at night before bed, but couldn’t handle waking up with the thought that I was going to toss my cookies. Moved my dose to lunch-time for now.

I’ve also felt pretty … drugged with Effexor. A little foggy & dizzy but not vertigo & the headaches have lessened. The one good thing I’ve noticed is that my mood is much better. This week should be ‘hell week’ for me (i.e., PMS) but I’ve been doing pretty well so far. Being peri-menopausal, however, who knows what my hormones are up to.

I dunno … I hope it helps but … am I gonna have to swap headaches for this constant loopy feeling? Will I be able to function at work on 75 mgs of this stuff? We’ll see.


You did tell me about the weight thing - looking at yourself sideways in the mirror - Topamax has forced me to proof-read everything I type, and my short-term memory is about 1/10 of a nanosecond, but i do remember you telling me that :slight_smile:

I think his name is Larry Newman, on the East Coast (Kira knows him) is also using Zoloft at a very very low dose, like 12.5 mg (?)

Anyway, my titration was difficult. He wanted me at 75 mg. I laughed. I said I would start at 25 mg and cut them. I cut those pills into 1/4ths and got severe stomach cramps and diarrhea that cleaned me out for a day or two each time i titrated up - in the beginning. After about a month, that all stopped, and even in the beginning, it only lasted one or two days. But I did feel a lessening in my dizziness so i kept at it. It takes Zoloft 7 days to reach steady state so I was waiting a week to increase but one week I may have gotten impatient to gone up a day too soon. I woke up hallucinating. I cut it back, the hallucinations stopped and i stabilized for two weeks, just to make sure. So i stuck with 1/8 for 7 days until I hit 50 mg and then the clenching got to be too much, along with some trouble getting to sleep.

I remember you having stomach issues; there are a lot of serotonin receptors in your GI, so they could all be a problem for you in the beginning.

After he started me on Neurontin, that calmed my nervous system down enough that I was able to go up to 75 on the Zoloft but felt no more improvement, so i took it back down. I have a lot of drug in me.

I know that was a lot of words. I hope it helps.


Hi Julie,

Thanks so much for your input re zoloft. I get my special tinted (over the pupil) contact lenses today for photophobia. I am going to give them a shot before I hit the zoloft. Despite my desperation to get well, these days I am a bit drug shy after some unpleasant experiences. I recently took flunarizine and let’s just say it didn’t go well. I even started on a tiny dose.

How long did the hallucinations last? That sounds daunting. Don’t know how I’d cope with that. Sometimes I still can’t quite grasp that I have to take these crazy drugs.




Wow, I hope that contact lens helps! sounds like a good idea.

The hallucinations - ugh! The first time it happened, the way I described it to my doctor was, i woke up and couldn’t stop dreaming. All morning, anytime I would let my mind relax, without intentional thought, i would go into a dream, not like a daydream, I mean a real vivid dream. It was scarey because I was afraid it wouldn’t go away. I downed some Valium which, for whatever reason, helped quite a bit. By noon, it quit. That day i reduced my dose of Zoloft and the next day the same thing happened, so I downed some Valium right away and, i don’t know why, but it helped. Next day, everything was normal. The other thing I felt that first day was an enormous thirst. My mouth felt like the dessert. I felt the same way, as did Scott, when he felt his Topamax kick in.

The second time I had hallucinations on Zoloft was when my doctor tried to push me up past 75. I told him that I saw no improvement between 50 and 75 but he wanted to try it anyway. Okay, I can do this. The very first 1/8 of a pill and I started seeing things out of the corner of my eyes. Just, like there was somebody moving, like in the shadows. I didn’t think much of it until one day i saw my cat out of the corner of my eyes (she wasn’t there) and it dawned on me “Zoloft!” I went back down to my regular dose - this time it took a full week before those symptoms totally went away, because I had been on the higher dose for a full week. This wasn’t as scarey, but they were not going to go away, they were actually getting worse as the week went on. So i called my doc and said, I’m at my limit with Zoloft - on to Topamax!

I was scared enough the first time it happened that when my doc suggested that I stabilize and try again even more slowly I said no. But we went over my contraindications and when he said - well then I’m at a loss, I said, ok, i’ll try the zoloft again. I did, i’m glad I did. But, yea, it was scarey. I sure am glad I don’t live with those kinds of symptoms everyday.

SSRIs are powerful drugs, i’m not at all sure how they’ve become so popular among people who don’t have disabling depression, given how hard they are to go up on.

Hope that all helps - good luck with those contacts,


Hi Julie,

Thanks so much for the info. Yes, the more I read about these drugs the more amazed I am that anyone takes them unless they are in dire straights health wise. If it wasn’t for the severity of this condition I wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole.

Not sure yet if I’m going to go for it with the zoloft. Although I have it in liquid form, so I can start on a teeny eeny dose. After everything I’ve heard I think that’s what I’d do.

I got my contact lenses but haven’t tried them yet. I’ll report back if they’re a resounding success, although I’m not holding my breath lol.