How long does it take for Effexor to work?

Hey guys,

First off, I am so grateful for this forum. This site has been a huge help and resource for me. I’ve always read stuff, but never actually posted anything until now. :slight_smile:

Long story short, I was (mis)diagnosed with Meniere’s about 9 months ago when my dizziness/woozy/lightheadedness started. But after several doctors and countless tests, they started to rule out MD. (Low sodium diet and other meds for MD didn’t work). I’m waiting for one more test to come back this week, but I’m seeing Dr. Cherchi at Chicago Dizziness and Hearing (associate of Dr. Hain that many of you are familiar with) and he started treating me for migraine because he believes MAV is the culprit. My symptoms were tolerable (though it sucked) up until December, and then it got drastically worse and I’ve had to work from home, can’t drive, and have to stay home most of the time. There’s been many weeks I’ve been bedridden. :-/ It’s scary and it sucks.

I’ve been doing Bucholtz’s migraine diet for about a month now. It’s helped a little, but not a whole lot. I was also prescribed Effexor, and have been on it for about 2 weeks. I haven’t noticed any difference yet. I’ve titrated up to 37.5mg, and supposed to go up to 50mg in a few days (that’s my target dose). I’ve been handling it pretty well so far. Originally he was going to make my target 75 mg, but I noted that I’m very sensitive to medications (I’m petite), and so he put me at 50mg.

I’m also doing a regimen of supplements (magnesium, riboflavin, feverfew, etc). I’m doing everything I possibly can to get better – so tired of being sick! I’ve been real healthy up to this point, so it’s been a total shock. No fun dealing with all this at 24.

How long did it take you to get improvement with Effexor? Has it helped anyone get back to normal?

I started Effexor about three weeks ago and still no change.

Effexor worked (works) well for me. Took about 4 weeks before it started to take effect.

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Hi there,
From the article that Lou posted from the BMJ publication re chronic migraine, the authors include this comment:
Be patient with prophylactic treatments. Patients with migraine often expect immediate results from new drugs. To improve adherence to treatment and reduce patient frustration, clinicians should make patients aware of the expected interval between starting a new drug and obtaining relief. Once the target dose is reached, six to eight weeks of treatment might be needed before maximum benefits are realized.

I personally found this approximate timeline to be true when I started Topamax. It took quite a few weeks/months once I hit my ideal dose to start feeling better (although I did notice small improvements as I was going up), and then the longer I took it the better I felt. The key is to be patient and stick it out. I think those who feel better immediately on any prophylactic drugs are in the minority, sadly. Most of these drugs take time to work on your system.
Good luck!

Thank you so much guys. I’ve been slightly better since I started, but I also have been doing a migraine diet for a little over a month + the supplements, so I’m not totally sure if it’s the Effexor that’s doing it or the other stuff.

Lily – I’m in about 3 1/2 weeks, too.

Furnok – How long did it take you to get back to normal after you noticed it start kicking in after 4 weeks?

Helen – Thanks so much for passing that along. I think the waiting period is the worst part.

Also, what dosages are you guys on?

Devan Marie

Thought I’d give an update here.

I’ve been on Effexor since the beginning of March. I also have done the supplements and the migraine diet pretty strictly.

It wasn’t until about 5-7 days ago that I started doing better. (and it’s felt like the longest freaking 6 weeks EVER) But it’s not all away yet. Not sure if it’s the Effexor or supplements/diet. Usually I’m somewhat OK in the morning, and as the day goes on, it gets worse. I started taking Valium to help, especially when I’m in a social setting since I get real anxious when I’m around others and feel real ‘off.’

I have been seeing Dr. Cherchi at Chicago Dizziness and Hearing (he’s Dr. Hain’s associate). He’s a very good, smart doctor and takes his time with patients and has their best interest at heart. I highly recommend him if you’re still trying to figure out a diagnosis for your dizziness.

Long story short, I found out my grandmother also is a migraineur, and saw her neurologist today (Dr. Larson in Woodridge, IL - he’s also a well-known doctor for migraine and headaches) to get a second opinion. He said Dr. Hain & Cherchi are very good at what they do – and probably the best doctors in the world dizziness and diagnosing. But when it comes to treating MAV they’re not as great since they take very slow, minimal approaches and it can take a long time to get better in result.

He took a much more aggressive approach for me and is bumping up my Effexor 75mg XR to 150mg. And added on Candesartan (Atacand) at 16mg (starting off with either 1/4 or 1/2 a pill). I guess it is a great alternative to Verapamil and at the lower dosage for migraine is much better for patients with lower blood pressure (like myself). It also has way less side effects than verapamil since it can be super constipating.

He also gave me some abortives since I experience ‘regular’ migraines/ terrible headaches often and no OTC pills will touch 'em.

Overall, it seems like Effexor might be doing something, but I read a study that showed Effexor at 75mg showed improvement in 80% of patients in a double-blinded trial, and at 150mg, it showed improvement in 89% of patients in the trial. Thought that was interesting.

Hope you guys are having a good start to you week!