Effexor withdrawal or something else?

Hi All!

I’m struggling with a few symptoms and I’m not sure if they are from Effexor withdrawal or something else. I do have other “health stuff” going on as well, so it would be very helpful to know which symptoms can be attributed to withdrawal.

I tapered very slowly off Effexor over the course of a year - yes, a year - I’m incredibly sensitive to Effexor. Got every withdrawal symptom in the book even though I went so slowly.

So I stopped taking my last dose of Effexor on 2/20/2020 - so I’m about a month off of the medicine. For a week or so now, I am waking up every day with a few different symptoms that I want to ask you all if you think they are withdrawal related (based on your experiences). Those symptoms are:
- wake up with tingling on the left side of my head. It starts around my temple and then goes backwards toward the back of my head. Mostly on my left side. The pins and needles/tingling starts to go away as I get up and get started with my day.
- wake up with a headache everyday in my temples. I’m a “MAV” person, but that’s not what these are. They start and live in a different spot - my temples. My veins on the side of my temples will be raised with pressure and it’s just a really bad headache. I’ve been using CBD tincture to take the edge off, but they’re pretty intense. 3 Advil helps but I can’t be taking that everyday - my stomach is sensitive and I don’t want rebound headaches.
- I wake up most days (not every, but most) with floaters in my eyes. They are “aura” ish - they are usually in the shape of a “V” or like a DNA strand and blurry - and they move if I try to look at them. As the day goes on, I do get some floaters in my vision that look like little black gnats. They’re annoyingly but I’m not too worried about those.

So those are my current symptoms that I’m troubled by - mostly the daily headaches. It’s weird because like I said, I get migraines usually, not headaches - and these are different in many ways.

Does anyone have similar experiences to share? It’s been a little under a month of coming off Effexor - could these things just be withdrawal still? I almost hope they are because then at least I know they are temporary…

Any guidance would be so helpful! Tips on how to handle the temple headaches, other than OTC meds, are very needed!

Thank you!

I dumped Effexor cold turkey after 15 months on. I’m med sensitive too but had come to a breaking point. I was getting suicidal thoughts that were feeling way too alluring. I had the initial nasty withdrawal effects, tapering off after a month. Then I had a weird few months. I began trialing propranolol at that time too and have other health issues so like you it’s hard to say exactly what’s what. But, I do think there were some long term withdrawal effects. Effexor is a Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor. You’re right about at that stage where your brain starts to do whatever it used to do with serotonin before you changed its chemistry with Effexor. Do I know for sure? No. But it seems very plausible this is what recovery from Effexor looks like for you.

I appreciate your quick response. As I’m sure you can relate, I WANT this to all be withdrawal because then at least I know it will fade eventually. My other diagnosis, in addition to vestibular migraines, is Rheumatoid Arthritis - just found this out recently. I know that I have some arthritis in my neck, but the symptoms that I’m getting seem too…weird…to be a result of RA. I suppose they could be, but I hope it’s withdrawal.

Do you have any suggestions for coping with and minimizing these symptoms? I’m also having some stomach upset (which I never get) and just having a hard time getting out of a funk and focusing my brain on work. These additional symptoms are also leading me to believe that withdrawal may be a culprit.

I’m taking supplements I’ve seen suggested on here: Fish Oil, Coq10, magnesium, riboflavin, vitamin d, vitamin c, and a prenatal multivitamin. Anything else you suggest? I’m also using CBD tincture and topical CBD to take the edge off - as well as a heating pad on my neck.

I just feel all around crappy and am getting frustrated. As you know, it’s hard to open your eyes in the morning and immediately have symptoms. It’s helpful to know that you had some lingering symptoms too. A month off of Effexor feels long, but I guess it’s really not that long at all for such a strong drug (and for how sensitive I was to it).

Trying to take it day by day! Feel good!

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My approach has been to reduce inflammation. If you look at my diary you’ll see a stupid long list of co-mornidities. All of them have pro-inflammatory components, including MAV. The thing that helps me far and away for every aspect of my messy health is eating low carb. Caffeine had to go completely as did my known allergens and strongly suspected sensitivities. Eliminating sugar and processed foods has made a world of difference. It’s hard. It takes a while. But cleaner fuel means a better running engine and fewer breakdowns. Trigger avoidance and a migraine friendly lifestyle are obviously huge.

I didn’t find much in the way of drugs that helped. Fortitude was the best strategy. And maybe recognizing this is a process and you’re not alone might be comforts.

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Thank you - it definitely helps immensely to know I’m not alone.

I’ve been on the Paleo diet for about a month now. It’s hard, but if it helps, then I’m all for it.

I’ve seen in your posts that you have experience using CBD to help you manage symptoms. Can you share what dosage you do and how many times a day? So many people say the strength they are using but not the actual milligrams - which is the part that would be most helpful! I have a CBD tincture without THC (50mg per mL), and one with <.03 THC (35mg per mL). Any tips would be helpful! Inflammation is definitely my primary root cause of most of my issues. OTC medicines like Advil work like a charm but as you know, they have to be limited.

I do understand medication overuse rebound hell. Intimately. I have’t braved an NSAID in 2 years. :frowning:

I’m not using CBD on the daily like I did. I was using a brand from Washington state called Relief that I took at a high 50 mg/dose which is two droppers full. That helped a lot. I like it for the headaches, but even better for the visual issues and the nausea/dizzy thing. I find the most helpful thing is getting your CBD from actual cannabis rather than hemp plants - if you legally can. It’s supposed to be the same for the two plants, but it really wasn’t. When I used it regularly, I’d use a dose about every 4 hours. You’ll notice from the picture it has a bit of THC in it - not much at just 0.5 mg/dose (or 1 mg when I’m doubling up). That seems to help, too. It’s still in my rescue kit. I often take it with Meclizine if I think the episode is mild enough to avoid my more heavy hitting drugs (a cocktail of Fioricet, Compazine, Amitryptline and Benadryl - reserved for the big boy migraines that have gone on for days, feature lots of aura and are disabling).

Actual THC is a hit and miss for me. Sometimes it can take that giant MAV mess of crazy strange symptoms and calm it down. Sometimes it heightens the whole thing and adds a terrible loss of time so it just seems to go on forever. I’m super careful that way. If I’ve been too dizzy or if I’m too motion sick and hypersensitive to everything, I stay away from THC. If I’m otherwise ok but my head is splitting in half, I’ll try THC at night to help me sleep through the weird sensations in my head. (Like ants walking around inside my skull setting off landmines and fireworks I can hear and feel and see. Or like my brain is too big or too small to fit inside my skull, or it’s wobbling in there. Or like there’s a lightning storm raging right behind my eyes. MAV is so strange.)

My current regime includes Botox, Metformin (a diabetes drug), atenolol (for preexisting high BP), spironolactone (for PCOS), levothyroxine (hypo-thyroid) and paleo/ketosis. I was doing well with ketosis but then the stupid pandemic hit and we had to start eating more inside the box. We’re still paleo, until the time comes where we have to add back in rice and beans. Our stockpile is frozen, canned and fresh meat, poultry, fish and eggs; frozen and fresh veggies; various bits of dairy; and cooking fats heavy. For now. I’ll do what I can to stay low carb - really anything to stay healthier. Getting sicker right now seems a bad idea. I’m already wondering if they’ll let me renew my Botox injections at the end of April. A true lockdown that works might mean no unnecessary trips for several months to come. If I think about it too hard, I might have to dip into that CBD we’ve been talking about. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

PS Prenatal vitamins were hell on my stomach. Also, are you pregnant or still trying? Pregnancy hormones mean all bets are off with MAV. It’s a roller coaster.

Thanks for all of that! Yeah regular health anxiety + Coronavirus anxiety is not a fun combination.

I’m not trying to get pregnant yet but would like to soon. I’m really scared, to be honest, just because of the unknown. Some people do really well with migraines during pregnancy, especially if they are hormonal (which a lot of mine are). And then RA often goes into remission during pregnancy. So things could work out well, but we will just have to see as it unfolds. I need a little more time to get out of Effexor Withdrawal before I can handle pregnancy.

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I think you’re smart to give it a bit more time. I hope it all goes really well. My pregnancy was a disaster from start to finish. He’s 18 years old next month. Worth it.

Sorry to hear that it was terrible, but glad it was worth it :slight_smile: that’s my mindset going into it - I’ve wanted to be a mom forever. So if I have to suffer for 9 months, I will!

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I do get a lot of random tingling in my head that comes and goes. I also have floaters, mainly in my right eye which is also the same side that I get my migraines. But, part of my diagnosis is chronic migraines and that includes daily headaches. It doesn’t always have to been full blown migraine. I was only getting those maybe once or twice a month. I did however have headaches/head pressure far more days out of the month than I didn’t. I’m still trailing medications and it has helped reduced the amount of headaches I get.

Good luck!!

Thanks! Hopefully these symptoms go away soon for you but just saying too that they are also common with migraine conditions.

Hopefully you start feeling better soon! I keep hearing Effexor can be super effective but a really hard drug to get off of.

Hi Kara,

I’ve gone off Paxil a couple times. In my humble experience, since you tapered smartly (slow), its probably just MAV creeping in with different symptoms since you’ve been off Effexor for a while.

Are you on any other migraine preventatives at the moment?


I’m on Nortriptyline and recently started topiramate. I was just commenting on how the symptoms could probably just be part of a migraine condition since that’s what I experience too and have never taken Effexor.

I’ve heard Effexor is a rough medication to wean down from. It is the next in line for me that me neurologist wants me to try if this combination doesn’t work.