Nortriptyline vs Effexor - side effects/withdrawal

Hi Everyone,

I took Nortriptyline for a month (up to 25mg dose) and it was helping me with migraine, but I had a horrible constipation from it (I took Miralax laxative daily and it wouldn’t help)

So doctor switched me to Effexor XR. The 37mg dose was pointless, so I went up to 75mg. I’ve been on that dose for 4 days now and I think it also is helping me with migraine but… I can’t sleep well at night (and it makes my restless leg syndrome worse).

So I was wondering - was anyone able to successfully battle constipation while on Nortriptyline or did anyone get through the insomnia effects of Effexor?

Also - were any of you on 75mg Effexor for couple of months and were able to withdraw from it successfully? - The stories on the web about nightmare withdrawal effects of Effexor are really scary…

I am on 25mg Nortriptyline and I do feel like it is helping the frequency and severity of my migraines. The only symptom I also have is constipation. Have you tried taking a fiber supplement instead of a laxative? I take a powdered flax fiber in water every morning it’s called “Fibernew” by Renew Life. I got it at a health food store and it has made a huge difference. I’ve also heard others have tried psyillium fiber and this works as well.

I haven’t been on any meds other than Nortriptyline but my Mom is on Effexor for depression. She once told me that when she misses a pill she feels really funny, so I don’t think withdrawal would be super easy. If you take it slowly with decrease your dosage I’m sure you would be fine. Give it a little time for your body to adjust to the initial symptoms. You might find in a week that you are used to the higher dosage and are able to sleep better. If not, maybe look at other options.

Thank you for your reply alexisc!!

I tried taking a Benefiber as well as a laxative, but may be I should’ve tried a different one…I probably gave up too soon.

With Effexor - i was wondering that too, if the insomnia is something temporary… I’ll give it till next Monday and may be try to go back to Nortriptyline.

Hi Tanya!
I have been on Effexor XR 75 mg for about 3.5 years. Try to give it much more time to really work. Unless someone is haveing horrible side effects from a drug and they are about 100% sure it is caused by the drug…One has to really give the med a fair chance to do its thing…6-8 weeks in most cases for the full effect.
Try to stay away from the generic form of effexor as most find it not nearly as good as the real thing and I have heard withdrawl can be hard. I figure I need my preventatives to function and participate in life so I will not worry about withdrawing at this point and cross that bridge when and if ever neccessary!

Pam

Pam - did you experience any insomnia when you just started? I’m just thinking that this is not a type of a side effect that goes away (like nausea). That’s my biggest hurdle with effexor right now - this week I’ve been like a zombie at work becaus of lack of sleep. Keep tossing and turning the whole night.

And good tip on the generic - unfortunately that is what I got, but I have my follow up appt on Monday so I’ll ask about brand name.

Hi!!!
No I didn’t experience insomnia but do you take it in the AM or PM? I take mine in the morning, but I also have Nortriptalyne for MAV that I take at night, apparently this helps with sleep.
Alot of people swear that generic is the same as name brand, but when it come to effexor this is NOT the case at all.
Pam

Tanya
I would try the effexor in the morning. These drugs can make you wired, or tired, so that dictates what time you take it. Also, until you get used to it, ask your doctor for something to help you sleep. Lack of sleep can make you feel so much worse, and then you might confuse that with effexor side effect. Personally, I found Restoril a very mild sleep aid that had no “hangover effect”…,
Good luck!
Kelley

Thank you for your responces!! I do take Effexor in the morning. For now I went back to a lower dose to get some sleep. I have a feeling that on Monday during my follow up I will have to decide if I will battle severe constipation from nortip. or insomnia from Effexor…

Kelley - I’ll keep Restoril in mind!

Pam - Nortiptyline (25mg) made me sleep like a baby - i loved that “side effect”! :slight_smile:

I have managed to counteract most of the nortriptyline constipation. Well, I managed to at 75mg. Now that I’m at 100mgs I’m having some trouble again but for people that are on lower doses this should work. And the best part is that it might help your migraines too!

The answer for me? Magnesium! I take 400 mg of Magnesium Citrate daily, one pill with breakfast, one at dinner I won’t claim that I’m 100% regular, but it works enough to keep me from complaining. And a lot of migraine docs think magnesium can help with your migraines. I take the Citrate form as it supposedly absorbes the best. Some forms of magnesium don’t absorbe so well.

Just wanted to update -

Decided to continue on Nortriptyline, got up to 50mg and on most days 90% of my dizziness dissappeared! I do have to deal with side effects though - i take meds for constipation and heatburn (both caused by Nort), but so far it’s worth it.

Wanted to bump this thread. I was on 10mg of nort for 1-2 months (? I think) and have had good results for my dizziness and other MAV symptoms. But still have some symptoms so my ENT said I should try 20 mg. I’ve been on 20 for almost 2 weeks now and the constipation is really bad. I had constipation when I started the 10 mg too but after a while it seemed to get better. It’s worse this time (upping to 20) so I’m nervous it won’t go away.

I take a tablespoon of psyllium fiber every night before bed like I have always done. Before the nort it worked like a charm in the a.m but since being on the nort it doesn’t work…at 20 mg nothing happens in the a.m. I’ve tried upping my vegetable consumption but confess I haven’t quite gotten into a routine of that yet.

I really don’t want to take other forms of laxatives that I might become dependent on but if I have to I will. I read this thread and will look into magnesium.

Has anyone else successfully treated constipation while on nortryptaline and if so, how? Please say your dose of nort, how long you were on it, etc. Thanks a lot.

I’ve been on Effexor (venlafaxine) for about 6+ weeks now. Worked up to 75 mg a couple weeks ago, and have handled it well for the most part. I had issues with upset stomach for the first few weeks. It’s also given me weird dreams that have yet to go away. I also have experience fatigue as well.

My doc just bumped me up to 112.5 yesterday (with the goal of 150mg), and I have been incredibly tired all day. I definitely felt ‘medicated.’ Anyone else experience this? I’ve had to take a couple naps in result.

I should also add, I was always taking it in the morning before, and I told him about my fatigue, so he said to take it at night. I didn’t sleep the best last night, but all day I was a little bit like a zombie.

Anyone else experience this?

I do have a magnesium product I swear by that really should fix the constipation–and possibly help with other stuff, at least for some people. It’s called 18% Magnesium Solution by Ecological Formulas/Cardiovascular Research. I am totally unconnected with this product, but I tend to sound evangelist about it because it did change the course of my chronic fatigue syndrome in a way that nothing else ever did (including magnesium pills), and so I’ve been dependent on it for 25 years. My doctor prescribed it for my chronic fatigue syndrome, saying it’s the most absorbed form after getting injections, and it’s well-tolerated by people like me with a ton of food sensitivities and triggers because there are no inactive ingredients other than double-distilled water. I’m a very objective person when it comes to symptoms–I’m not impressionable or prone to placebo effects–and I had gone to every type of doctor and alternative practitioner and received no benefits other than this. It was the only thing that ever made a big difference, eliminating several of my chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms (sore throats, low-grade fever, among others). Helped with PMS, too. It hasn’t eliminated the MAV, but maybe I’d be worse without it? Hard to say because I started taking the magnesium before the MAV got bad. I did give a migraineur (not MAV) friend of mine a half a bottle to take home–she wasn’t looking for a migraine cure, just to get more magnesium, but she found that she had no migraines during the entire time she was taking it (several months).

Anyway, I’m sure it would work on constipation, because you get diarrhea if you take too much, or if you take two doses too close together. In fact, that’s how you determine the dose for yourself: you start small and keep going up until your body hits its limit. It’s not a megadose or anything–in fact, I take much less than the RDA–it’s just extremely well-absorbed.

If you’re interested, I can give you more info on how to take it–the bottle doesn’t give you anywhere near enough info, and I ended up calling and talking to a chemist at the company several years ago when I found it seemed to work better when taken certain ways. I just didn’t want to write a bunch of instructions if you’re not interested! Actually, I might post this as a separate topic now that I’ve finally joined the forum, because I keep reading about people looking for good sources of magnesium.

— Begin quote from "requin"

Wanted to bump this thread. I was on 10mg of nort for 1-2 months (? I think) and have had good results for my dizziness and other MAV symptoms. But still have some symptoms so my ENT said I should try 20 mg. I’ve been on 20 for almost 2 weeks now and the constipation is really bad. I had constipation when I started the 10 mg too but after a while it seemed to get better. It’s worse this time (upping to 20) so I’m nervous it won’t go away.

I take a tablespoon of psyllium fiber every night before bed like I have always done. Before the nort it worked like a charm in the a.m but since being on the nort it doesn’t work…at 20 mg nothing happens in the a.m. I’ve tried upping my vegetable consumption but confess I haven’t quite gotten into a routine of that yet.

I really don’t want to take other forms of laxatives that I might become dependent on but if I have to I will. I read this thread and will look into magnesium.

Has anyone else successfully treated constipation while on nortryptaline and if so, how? Please say your dose of nort, how long you were on it, etc. Thanks a lot.

— End quote

Hi Lori! I am on Nortriptyline and the constipation is beyond horrible. I was prescribed two laxatives and two more otc and nothing worked even when taken at the same time. I purchased the magnesium solution you recommended and would appreciate any tips you have to offer. Thank you!

I went down to 25mg dose, eat high in fiber diet, and if nothing is happening for like 4 days, enema is the sure way to fix things. Not perfect, but works…

Rhonda try to get to the lowest dose that works for you and give your body time to adjust. My constipation was at its worst 2-3 weeks of switching doses.

Hi Rhonda (and anyone else who wants to try the Cardiovascular Research magnesium solution),

Sorry I didn’t notice the reply and haven’t gotten back to you. I hope it’s not too late to help! I actually talked to a scientist at Cardiovascular Research/Ecological Formulas. I had been premixing several days worth of doses into diluted juice, and one day when I ran out of juice, I noticed the magnesium was way more effective, so I called them and got more info. So here goes:

First of all, since I’m not constipated–quite the opposite–I’m always trying to space the doses well apart and drink them in plenty of water. My dr. had told me to start out with 1/2 teaspoon 3x/day, then work up to 1 teaspoon 3x/day, mixed into 8 oz. or more of water. More water makes it easier on my stomach, so I use a 14-oz. glass of water. And I never made it up to 1 teaspoon–I’m still on a quarter-teaspoon, either 3x or 4x/day. (It’s hard to get 4 doses in, because if I don’t space them far enough apart, like more than 4 hours apart, I get diarrhea.)

It’s important to start out with the lower dose and work your way up, because once the magnesium deficiency is corrected, any extra gives you diarrhea. How this works with constipation, I have no idea. But I have a super-sensitive stomach, so likely most people could take more than the 1/4 teaspoon amount I take. But once you have diarrhea, you’ve not only surpassed the ideal amount you need, but you’re also losing nutrients. But spacing the doses apart and drinking plenty of water with each one helps you take in more.

I found a fantastic way to take this with me on the go–I found these small, brown, glass eyedropper bottles at a local health food store. Two full squirts is just about 1/4 teaspoon, so now I can bring this to a restaurant or on a trip, and I don’t have to lug around premixed bottles, or deal with measuring spoons and sticky spills. And here’s why this matters: The scientist at Cardiovascular Research told me that if you put the magnesium into anything acidic–including tap water and bottled drinking water (they’re too acidic)–the magnesium crystallizes within about 5 minutes and you don’t get the full effect. So when I was premixing several days worth in bottles of diluted juice, I wasn’t getting that much benefit from this. The timing is important, also. She told me that it should be mixed into water that you drink right away, within 5 minutes. Otherwise, for premixing it in water, she said to use only distilled water–not bottled drinking water or “spring water.” So I was carting around distilled water with me on trips for years, but now that I’ve discovered the eye dropper bottle, I only need to bring the tiny eyedropper bottle and an empty water bottle. If I’m at a restaurant, I can ask for a glass of water with no ice (ice=bad). If their glasses are too small handle a full dose, it’s easy to break up the dose–one squirt for the first glass, and another when they refill my glass second (or two squirts if you can tolerate more than me).

The eyedropper also makes it easy to drink the dose immediately if you’re someone who’s not used to chugging a glass of water. (I’ve gotten used to doing this, so I just drink fast and move on with my day.)

I keep it in the fridge, but that’s not required. You should never freeze it or put it in ice water. The magnesium tastes better if you keep it cold, but I can barely taste it anyway if the drinking water is fresh and clean. If you don’t like how the magnesium tastes, try cold, filtered water. If your tap water isn’t very good (or maybe if it’s pretty hard where you live?), it might not taste very good. I suspect that perhaps the magnesium reacts with something in the tap water of some cities–maybe it’s how they treat the water or because their water is hard. Our tap water where I live is super-clean–they don’t have to treat it chemically as much as in most cities–and it’s really soft, so maybe that’s the difference.

Okay, that’s about all I can think of for now! Let me know how it works, and I’ll move these posts back into my primary inbox so I don’t miss them!

Lori

HI all, first post here,

Been feeling like this since beginning of July and was diagnosed with inner ear virus , then BPPV ? then last week told I have MAV that is silent .
I have had BPPV before but for many years have not had trouble . I am a motion sick person and take meds if flying etc

I tried Effexor XR last week for 3 days but was so sick and zhombied out on it , stopped, but my PT said to try 1/3 dose so today after a few"’ better "days I have taken the plunge again , and I have to say I am scared out of my wits

I am, like you all, so sick of feeling this way and hoping that by taking it slow this drug might help , so sorry to have to meet you all here, please tell me there is a light at the end of this horrible tunnel

Thanks