Anyone Take Effexor?

Lounge By cakemommy Updated 3 Dec 2008 , 4:11pm by cakemommy

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cakemommy Posted 29 Oct 2008 , 4:19am
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I was diagnosed with GAD 6 years ago and I have been on three different meds, two of which I am on still as of today. I have been suffering with some bad apathy the last few months which is completely not me. I have been hyperactive as well my whole life and have always been on the go. These last few months I have NOT wanted to do anything. I don't want to spend times with my kids, I don't want to do crafts with them like they have been begging me to do. They want me to play games with them, I don't. I can't even get my laundry done, I do clean my kitchen. That's a must! My poor husband before he left a month ago was rejected by me every time he approached me. He wants to be intimate, I could care less. Isn't that horrible?! What's up with that. I push him away like I am repulsed, not by him but by myself.

I have other issues that I will spare you all but I want to know if anyone is on or has been on Effexor and has it helped. What side effects are you experiencing. My main concerns are weight gain and sexual side effects.

If anyone can give me some insight, please share. I am taking the low dose of 75 mg. I start my first one tomorrow.

Thank you so much!


25 replies
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Amia Posted 29 Oct 2008 , 3:34pm
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I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety and generalized depression right after I graduated highschool (2004) and have been on Effexor ever since. I love it! The only side effects I have encountered were headaches, insomnia, and loss of appetite, but they passed after 2 weeks, once my body adjusted to it. I love Effexor. It has totally allowed me to function normally when I couldn't before.

Another good one is Lexapro. I've considered switching, but there's really no need for that since the Effexor works just fine.

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cakemommy Posted 29 Oct 2008 , 4:50pm
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Thank you for your reply! So it sounds like the med works great for you. Four years and running huh!!! That's a great amount of time and you're still feeling good on it.

I've been on Wellbutrin for about 5 years now and I have felt like it never worked for me. My DH though has told me that "Oh, it's working alright!" Gee, I must be a raging you know what without it. I just finally got fed up with it's non-help so I forced myself to make an appt with my Dr. and she referred me to the mental health clinic where it all began 6 years ago!!!

I took my first half dose this morning while I am weaning myself off of Wellbutrin. Six more days of that and then I start my full dose which is the lowest dosage of 75 mg. We'll see how that works. I might have to go up more but of course we have to give it a few months to start working.

I'm hoping to feel some positive effects of it before my hubby comes home around Thanksgiving. It would be nice seeing as how he was "suffering" icon_rolleyes.gif for a month or so before he left!!!!

Again, thank you so much for sharing something so personal. I sincerely appreciate your honesty!!!

Amy thumbs_up.gif

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Callyssa Posted 29 Oct 2008 , 5:25pm
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I had been taking Cymbalta; I'm not sure, but I think it's very similar? I know exactly what you mean about the apathy. I would go back to bed the second I got the kids out the door for school. I did feel so much better on it than I have in a very long time, but gained ten pounds in six weeks. I can't keep doing that every six weeks! So, unfortunately, I weaned myself off of it, and now I feel all irritated, agitated and worried again. Such a catch 22. Actually, today's been the worst day yet! It feels like PMS but way worse. As to the other question, I did not have any sexual side effects; if anything, it improved things. Good luck!

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koolaidstains Posted 29 Oct 2008 , 5:39pm
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I've taken a lot of different anti-depressants. Some worked some didn't, some worked in different ways than others. What works wonders for one person can cause horrible side effects in someone else. So, if Effexor doesn't work for you, don't get discouraged. There are lots of options available these days. I am currently taking sam-E and it's very effective for me with as far as I can tell no side effects. Prescription drugs worked great for me too, but I am one of those people blessed (HUGE SARCASM) with the sexual side effects. My problem was that my desire did not go away, but my ability to enjoy sex did and that was SO frustrating. I put up with it when I needed because I had little kids and babies that needed a functioning mom. But, when my youngest was 4 and my relationship with my husband was suffering I went looking for something else. Being pregnant and/or nursing limited what I could take for a long time.

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Amia Posted 29 Oct 2008 , 10:44pm
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I saw results with the Effexor within a month. Not that it works that way for everyone, but I was pleasantly surprised. I also have not experienced any sexual side effects (obviously, since I have a 2 yr old, a 9 mo. old and I'm pregnant again icon_lol.gif). I hope everything works out for you with the Effexor...wouldn't want DH to "suffer" anymore. icon_lol.gificon_rolleyes.gif

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cakemommy Posted 29 Oct 2008 , 11:43pm
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Nope, I guess there is nothing wrong with your libido! icon_rolleyes.gificon_redface.gif

BTW, congratulations on another little one!!! How wonderful!!! Sometimes I miss the newborn stage and think to myself, should I or shouldn't I. No, I shouldn't. Not sure if I can handle the stress. Plus I had my tubes tied back in '05 after my youngest so I guess it's a no but I sure get mushy when I see a little baby. icon_cry.gificon_cry.gif


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Amia Posted 30 Oct 2008 , 2:41pm
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Thank you! Another baby is scaring the crap out of me. I'm not even sure what to think at this point! icon_cry.gif

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Callyssa Posted 30 Oct 2008 , 3:14pm
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Amia, Don't worry about another baby; I've had five! The biggest and hardest adjustment was going from one baby to two, after that, it really wasn't any more difficult. Honest! You'll see what I mean.

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cakemommy Posted 30 Oct 2008 , 4:17pm
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Just think of the cute little baby toes and fingers. Baby feet are my favorite. My 6 and 3 year old think I'm silly because I love their feet, stinky as they are sometimes. icon_rolleyes.gif


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LittleMom Posted 30 Oct 2008 , 5:16pm
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I have taken Effexor at two different times in my life. Both times were between 6 and 12 months with evaluation by my doctor.

I experienced a loss of libido and lowered energy - although prior to taking them I was multi-phobic and considering suicide... lowered energy and no mojo was a maor improvement.

Other side effects were teeth clenching, yawning, weight gain (about 10 lbs in 6 months), and I experienced mild hallucinations (for example, a tiny dinosaur in full Samurai costume standing on my dresser). The hallucinations came 15 mintues after taking my pill and lasted for 3 to 5 minutes.

Another drawback of Effexor is drug withdrawal. I forgot to bring my pills with me when we went out of town to my brother-in-law's wedding. My withdrawal was something I'll always remember - vomiting, sweating, dizziness and feeling frozen from the inside. I spent all my spare time at the hotel gym walking on the treadmill because it was the only thing that helped.

However, if you find the side effects too much to bear, it is easy to transition to another drug once it's been about 2-3 weeks. I started on Zoloft, moved to Buspar, and eventually Effexor was the one that brought relief from the depression. I was finally able to function like a human being, then I was able to start eating right and exercising again and finally went off them and was healthy enough to finish getting better on my own. I lost all the weight plus some and my life has improved ten times over.

I hope you're feeling better soon!

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Callyssa Posted 30 Oct 2008 , 5:27pm
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I forgot to mention the teeth clenching and yawning also, so sorry! But it only lasted a week or so, until my body got somewhat used to the Cymbalta in my system.

Littlemom; I think it's awesome that you can share your personal experiences here and possibly help someone out. I'm so glad you're feeling better and hope you continue to do so. I have a question for you....did the hallucinations last the entire time you were taking the medication? I hope this isn't terrible of me, but when I read about your little samurai dinosaur I just had to giggle! Did you realize at the time that it was just a hallucination?

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LittleMom Posted 30 Oct 2008 , 10:10pm
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It's okay, the hallucinations were hysterical - and I guess they were more like visions, or apparitions or something - I was very aware that they weren't real. I think they started about a month after I began the prescription. Must take a while to get into your system. I've been off the meds since February or so, and I'm doing fine.

But now that I'm pregnant, I've already made my OB aware of my prior PPD (regrettably untreated) and recent depression. I just need to keep aware if when things aren't right. Looking forward to a healthy post-pardom this time!

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cakemommy Posted 31 Oct 2008 , 3:06am
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LittleMom, thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I too have contemplated suicide but I didn't have a plan or how to do it. The only thing that really keeps me from going THAT far is that I do NOT want my boys home alone with me wondering what's wrong with mommy because I won't "wake up". I can not put my kids through that. No way but sometimes, just thinking about it can't be helped. I get soooo bored sometimes and think life sucks and that there has to be something for me that's better than what I am living. I also have very brief, too brief, moments of euphoria, as I call them, when all seems right with the world, I love my life, I love my husband (I do no matter what of course), I am happy and nothing can get me down but then like five minutes later I am back to being depressed about something again. I really hate that!!!!

My Psychiatrist said I have GAD with depressive tendencies. I think that's right! Anyway, I know I have suffered with GAD for many many years. Some people take SSRI's or SNRI's to help them with depression, bring them "up". Me, I am taking them to bring me "down". Doesn't that sound strange but I guess the meds know what to correct according to the individual taking them.

I have only taken my second half dose today. I know I have a few weeks before I can, hopefully, notice a difference.

Koolaid~ Thank you for sharing. My libido as of late has been what it was like when I was on Paxil! NO LIBIDO whatsoever!!!! It really sucked. My poor DH would go weeks without and when I would finally "try" I just couldn't get into it. I couldn't climax and THAT was the worst part!!!! Finally, after almost a year I sought different meds and now those don't even work for me and haven't the last almost 5 years I have been taking them. I just now finally got fed up and decided to seek help.

It would sure be sad that when my hubby comes home after two months being away and three months without, if I still wasn't interested. Hello, isn't separation supposed to help in that area?!

Obviously my main concern is my anger and my incessant need to worry about dumb things.

Amia and Callyssa~ Thank you for sharing your personal experiences. It really does help me to know what to expect and to look out for. I don't know the dosages everyone was taking but so far mine is only a half of the smallest dosage while I am weaning off of Wellbutrin. My full dose will be 75 mg/day. I have a feeling I might need a higher dose. Who know but I am anxious (ha ha) to see some results or at least hear that someone else has noticed.


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Callyssa Posted 31 Oct 2008 , 4:40am
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Cakemommy.....remember too, that while the meds are building up in your system, you can actually feel WORSE! I got so irritated and agitated at EVERYTHING. It was like the worst possible PMS. Three weeks was the magic number for me with Wellbutrin and it was the difference between night and day for me. On Cymbalta it happened much faster; by day three I was feeling so much more calm and not so worried, and I kept reminding myself that I had some very serious issues to be worrying about, but I just couldn't. The only way I can describe it is when I was 18, single, and living on my own! I just wanted you to be prepared for that so you don't think the medication isn't working.

I also wanted to tell you what a gift you are giving to your children by not giving up and being there for them. Even being there as a grumpy, irritated, or euphorically high Mom is better than not being there at all. I know; my Mom attempted suicide when I was 12 yrs. old. It was physically unsuccessful, but she lost her spirit through the experience. No matter how much our parents told us it had nothing to do with us kids, to this day I still wonder....AND.....I'm not trying to start a spiritual controversy here and I don't have a clue where you are in your beliefs, but as a Christian woman myself, I feel terribly compelled to tell you that you would not end up with something better than your life here. We're all here for a reason, and even though you say you feel bored, etc. you may be doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing; raising your children. Things WILL get better, and as your children get older they will get easier also. You're doing the absolute best thing by not being afraid or embarrassed to ask for help, and now you just need to let that medication work it's magic and give you some normalcy in your life. God bless. Christine

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Amia Posted 31 Oct 2008 , 2:22pm
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So you're taking the 37.5 mg dose right now? Or half of that? And is it the XR or the regular Effexor? I am on the XR, but I tried switching to the regular b/c it was cheaper (they had a generic) but it didn't work for me at all. The XR is the only one that works for me (and yay, they just released a generic for that too!).

Just thought about that and wanted to clear it up. thumbs_up.gif

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cakemommy Posted 31 Oct 2008 , 2:45pm
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Thank you Christine~

It is tough sometimes to move past the negativity that consumes me most days.

I am a Christian, I go to Church on Sundays. Sundays are my days of therapy. My favorite part is our worship time. I listen to the words of the music and I am moved by them. The problem is, it doesn't last long. On the way home, my kids sometimes fight, not physically but it's the typical verbal fights kids have. That drives me up a wall especially when I'm driving. I get so mad. They are perfect kids in Church/Sunday School but when they get in the car they turn into little hellions. I don't know what it is but when they are around me they just fight and it drives me nuts. I know brothers/siblings in general go through this and sometimes they do it for Mom's attention but I can't take it. I just can't.

I definately appreciate your words of wisdom and encouragement. I know I have to wait a few weeks or a month or so to start feeling better, hopefully. I'm just, well, anxious! icon_rolleyes.gif

I would much rather be here than not if you know what I mean. I would miss my boys laughter and their silliness. Of course I would miss my DH but it's my children that I would be hurting the most.

Last night I helped my neighbor paint in her house and it was very therapeutic for me, last night. Who knows what today will bring. But it was great being able to start a project and actually finish it all in one day. Sure it took 7 hours, it was a big room with a vaulted ceiling. I wasn't focused on anything else but painting and being with my friend. Our kids get along great so I didn't have their fighting to distract me.

Now today is just beginning and I can't wait to see what it brings besides Trick or Treaters.


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cakemommy Posted 31 Oct 2008 , 2:49pm
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I am taking the XR. Right now I am on 37.5 until next Tuesday when I am done taking my Wellbutrin. A weaning process. Then Wednesday I start my full dosage of 75 mg.

I am glad to hear that the XR is working better for you. I am anxious to see what this new medication will do for me.


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SueW Posted 5 Nov 2008 , 2:46am
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Hi Amy,

I was on Effexor for years and it was a god sent to me!!! I have GAD as well as panic attacks and it worked wonders. It does take a week or two to get used to but then it was smooth sailing. I had a week or so were I felt like my head was fibrating, if that makes sense.

On another note I had to come off of it after a few years and I was so sad icon_cry.gif It worked perfectly for me BUT oddly after a few years I started lactating (nope not pregnant) and in the end they said it is a VERY rare side effect. Leave it to me icon_rolleyes.gif I am now on Cymbalta which is OK but to me Effexor was a wonder drug!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good luck.

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cakemommy Posted 5 Nov 2008 , 3:08am
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Thank you for your input. I have never heard of lactating as a side effect. I bet you were a bit freaked out huh? Tomorrow is my first full dose of Effexor. Yesterday I woke up pretty down. It actually put me in tears. It took me a few hours to get in a good okay mood. Today I woke up feeling great!!! I do expect some ups and downs while I am getting used to Effexor. So far so good though.

I am taking every little change I notice as a positive thing. I just can not CAN NOT go back to being the way I was.


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bharbor Posted 5 Nov 2008 , 9:53pm
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I took Effexor for about a year. It did help, however when I was ready to get off of it, it was really hard and took about 3 months to completely stop using it. The effects of quitting made me feel worse than the symptoms that caused me to start using it in the first place.

Also, if I missed a dose, I would start feeling it within a couple hours after I should have taken it. I would get migraine like headaches and get very dizzy.

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cakemommy Posted 6 Nov 2008 , 12:21am
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I'll be looking out for those headaches if I miss a dose by a few hours. I guess a headache (which I don't get often) will be my clue that I missed my dose. Some mornings are really hectic for me trying to get my oldest ready for school and my youngest ready for PreK that I do sometimes miss my doses.

Today was my first day on a full dose. I've been alright today but actually right now I feel jittery inside. I was told that I might feel that way at times.

Two days ago while I was still taking Wellbutrin with the half dose Effexor, I woke up feeling down, negative. It was a horrible start to the day. It took me a few hours to feel more "with it" but it was horrible while it lasted and also a let down.


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Jenteach Posted 7 Nov 2008 , 4:04am
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I have been on Effexor at 2 different times, both for the same reason - post traumatic stress disorder from almost dying and being on life support for 2 weeks. It put the worst fear in me and I was very depresses - when I got out of the hospital, my almost 2 year old didn't recognize me and kept calling me "Aunt Kim" (my twin, but still, not the best feeling...). Anyway, I truly also feel that effexor is a God send. I am currently weaning off (I'm on 37.5 XR) right now and plan on being off completely by next week. I would have no qualms about going back on them again though if needed. I know they don't work for everyone, but they have definitely worked for me!

Best of luck


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cakemommy Posted 7 Nov 2008 , 5:25am
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Thank you for sharing your story! I hope things are much better for you now. May I ask why then are you getting off the medication? If it's working why get off of it? Just curious!


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koolaidstains Posted 7 Nov 2008 , 4:44pm
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cakemommy and anyone else who suffers from "mood swings" might want to check out the above article. I go to family tree for my therapy and the above article helps describe borderline personality disorder in a "lay man's" terms. Some of what you described talking about feeling euphoric but minutes or hours later feeling really down made me think of it. I would always read about bipolar disorder, but it didn't fit for me because my highs and lows didn't last for long. But, feeling those brief extreme highs and lows might be borderline personality disorder. It sounds like a horrible thing doesn't it? But, for me, it was such a relief to finally have a "diagnosis" for what I was feeling.

In the above article you're supposed to have a certain number of the symptoms to be considered borderline. I have all 9! So, on those days when I feel irrationally out of control, or sad for no reason, or on a cleaning/organizing spree, I can say to my husband, "I'm feeling borderline today." That helps him understand that if I totally flip out and get mad over soemthing stupid, he doesn't take it personally. He knows that I'm quite literally feeling out of control.

The family tree website has a lot of great articles on a lot of different subjects. Some have really helped me understand my hubby too.

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cakemommy Posted 3 Dec 2008 , 4:11pm
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Thank you for posting the link to the article. I will have to read it. I didn't receive a notice that you had posted and it's been almost a month since I even checked my own thread. icon_redface.gificon_redface.gif

I am posting today because yesterday I had a horrible day. First let me say that during my transition from one med to the Effexor I felt great, for all of 6 whole days!!! icon_cry.gif Things went back as they were before. I had a follow up appt and my psychiatrist said to go ahead and take the Wellbutrin with the Effexor. He said he doesn't typically prescribe those two together but since I said I felt great while on both, to go ahead and try it. Well, yeah, THAT turned out to be just a one time feeling.

Yesterday I had a horrible break down all by 8 in the morning. My house has been a mess since my DH came home almost two weeks ago. My kitchen was a mess from the previous night's dishes, the playroom downstairs and upstairs was a BOMB and my DH's seabag was STILL on the floor in the living room. Seeing all of that ON TOP of my 3 year old having a melt down before 8 a.m. just sent me over the edge. I just grit my teeth and growled. I screamed, I pulled my hair, I hit my counter tops, I took my medication bottle and banged it on the counter I don't know how many times and then chucked it at my kitchen window. Fortunately I didn't break it. I just stood in the middle of the kitchen and stomped and screamed. What mother does that right in front of her kids? What kind of 36 year old woman does that at all?

I had called my Dr. the day before leaving a message for him to call me because I felt a breakdown coming on. He apparently did not get my message which I left with the front counter. So I called again yesterday afternoon and not even 5 minutes later he called me back. I broke down in tears. I told him everything I have been feeling and everything I did that morning. He told me to go ahead and stop the Wellbutrin and double my Effexor. So, today is my first day of that. We'll see how it goes.

I just can't go through the rest of this month being so volatile. My DH's birthday is the 12th, my youngest son's birthday is the 13th and mine is the 16th and then there's Christmas and New Years!!!!!! I just can't be "ME" during all of these times that are supposed to be happy.



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