My Effexor journey

Quick background: I used to only have periodic symptoms - a big vertigo attack 1-2 times per year, 90% normal within a week and fully recovered in 5-6 weeks. Of course, I didn’t realize it was MAV and didn’t connect headache issues with the vertigo. Last July, I had a major attack that I couldn’t fully rebound from. I had continuing vertigo and eventually saw Dr. Hain in September. Effexor is his drug of choice and he put me on a low dose (37.5).

Effexor immediately helped with the vertigo and I had some pretty serious headaches with it. I stuck with it for awhile but then started having side effects. The one that was a deal breaker was the sexual one. We tried scheduling sex one a week when I wouldn’t take the drug. This helped a bit but I was still having headaches and sleeping 10+ hours per day.

Finally I decided that after the holidays, I would try to go off Effexor. I wasn’t sure if it was helping or if I had finally recovered regardless of the med. I cut back to half the dose for a couple of weeks which went fine. Then for the past week I’ve been off it completely.

Well, now the vertigo is back. In other ways, I feel pretty good and I have much more energy. I was surprised yesterday that I could shovel snow, walk the dogs, go shopping and still not be exhausted. This would be perfect if I didn’t have that vertigo hanging around. It’s not the best of trade offs.

My next appointment with Dr. Hain is the end of the month. Should I try another drug? Do you think he will want me to try Effexor at a higher dose? Even though it helped with the vertigo, I had some pretty horrible headaches with it - some that kept me in bed all day. I want to be prepared when I see him so I don’t get bulldozed into something that isn’t right for me.

Thanks in advance for any advice or ideas.

Deb

Hi Deb,

Sorry to hear about the headaches- that is a frustrating trade off!!! When you said that Effexor stopped your vertigo, did you mean attacks of spinning? Can you describe the vertigo that it helped with? Do you have any trouble with your walking and did it help with that? How long did you take effexor in total?

Honestly if it were me (and I have been trying meds for 2.5 years with limited success) I would probably stay on it and ask if you can add a med to help with the headaches? Are you able to work if it makes you so sleepy?

Also when you say effexor helped immediately- how quickly- like in the first week? I am always curious when people say that- never had a change that quickly- but it does happen as I can tell from this forum!

My vertigo was mild but present most of the time when I started Effexor. Within maybe a day or two of taking a very small dose, it stopped. During the time I was taking it I still had occasional bouts of vertigo under stress or if I really pushed my limits. Then I would take 1/2 of a .5mg clonazapam - my emergency med. As soon as I was off Effexor completely, I started having the mild vertigo again.

The Effexor seems to work well on my vertigo at a pretty low dose. The problem is that the side effects may be worse and more annoying that the vertigo. Maybe my expectations are too high? I just want to be prepared for a discussion with Dr. Hain.

I’m going to try to give myself a few more days with the med. I need to be sure that my current vertigo isn’t a withdrawal reaction.

Deb

Deb,
How was your reduction from Effexor? Did you step down a little at a time, or just stop?
You could certainly have a rebound affect from being on the med…I wonder if you just took 1/3 of a capsule or 1/2? It might not hit the serotonin as much, where the sexual issues come from. Bummer about the headaches…I had a headache every day for over 3 months and once I started Ami, it stopped in 2 days…never came back either. Dizzies yes, headache no.

Kelley

I was only take a small dose but I cut it to half for about two weeks. We were traveling at the time and I didn’t want to take a risk of being off the meds during travel which is a trigger for me. It’s been 4 or 5 days now that I’m off totally. I felt pretty good this morning but now a little fuzzy.

Two possibilities - one is the withdrawal issue. The second is that I have to be much more careful with triggers. Normally diet doesn’t effect me too much but it might be that without the meds, I’m much more sensitive. My eating has not been stellar. Think Super Bowl party. I’m going to clean this up and see how things go.

Deb