#1
Old 10-04-2002, 11:40 PM
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Effexor XR experiences?

I know, YMMV, and everyone's experience is different. In any case, I've been on Celexa for about two years, and I truly think it's pooped out on me. I've been going downhill for the past few months, and I can't take it anymore.

My doctor left town a couple of months ago, but gave me the name of a colleague of his, another gay doctor. I hate to come off as a pill-grabber, but I've heard a lot of good things about Effexor XR (especially that it's an SNRI and not just an SSRI, like Celexa, Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Luvox). I've also heard the typical horror stories - but I hear them about every med, even ones I've been on with no problem.

First, if you're on Effexor XR or have been on it, I'd like to hear about your experiences, including side-effects. Second, I'd like advice on how to gently suggest to my new doc that we try out a new med.

The doc might at first want to double my dose of Celexa, which I'd try, but I really feel there's something missing.

FWIW, I've been on: Prozac, Paxil, Serzone, Wellbutrin, and Celexa, as well as clonzepam for anxiety, and trazodone for insomnia. (On top of that, several benzos for sleep, which I don't take anymore.)

Thanks for your input.
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#2
Old 10-05-2002, 12:06 AM
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If what your going though is anxiety Effexor XR would most likely work every well for you. I didnt have any side-effects, and i'm the kind of person that has a side-effect of everything *I couldn't take a prenalte b\c I couldn't keep it down*. One of the good things about Effexor is that you can't get hooked on it. you feel like crap coming off of it if you dont take it slow but your body doesn't get to the point of needing it like it does with Paxil. I dont think it gives anyone highs.

Tell your doc that your meds dont seem to be working like they used to and you have heard some really good things about effexor and would like to try it with out your other meds ask him if he will step you off of celexa and onto the effexor for a trial run if it works great it takes about two weeks to kick in. Just like any other med of that sort.

thats how I went about it with my doc when paxil wasn't working for me anymore.

Good luck in finding a med combo that works for you.
#3
Old 10-05-2002, 12:47 AM
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I'm not just talking about anxiety. In fact, they treated me for depression long before I demanded (no, really) that they do something about my anxiety. The clonazepam takes care of the anxiety/panic, but right now I'm worried about depression. My appetite is unpreditable, my sleep patterns are totally screwed up, I have bizarre thoughts sometimes, and most of the time I just feel like I bumble through a typical workday, doing the best I can, which isn't my best. It takes an incredible effort for me to get out of bed every workday, I have no energy, and on the weekends, all I do is sleep.

I've been in this situation before, so I know very well what's going on. I just don't know if I should go to from 20 mg Celexa to 40 mg (under a doctor's supervision, of course), or try something new. In any case, I'll see the new doc and try something, but in the meantime, I'd still like to hear your experiences about being on Effexor XP. I've heard conflicting reports, but as I said, having been on many other meds, I've heard it all, about everything, pro and con.
#4
Old 10-05-2002, 02:28 AM
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Scott, go and talk to your doctor ASAP. Gathering anecdotes on a messageboard isn't really that effective for treating what ails you. I can give you horror stories about Celexa -- it was a nightmare drug for my SO and for my kid but that's meaningless in the context of what you need. It seems perfectly reasonable to me to go and talk to a doctor about drugs which are no longer effective. That's what happens for a lot of people. If he doesn't listen to you, go and find a doctor who does.

I looked into Effexor extensively a couple of months ago as it's the next drug of choice for my kid. It looks interesting.
#5
Old 10-05-2002, 02:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by scott evil
The clonazepam takes care of the anxiety/panic, but right now I'm worried about depression. My appetite is unpreditable, my sleep patterns are totally screwed up, I have bizarre thoughts sometimes, and most of the time I just feel like I bumble through a typical workday, doing the best I can, which isn't my best. It takes an incredible effort for me to get out of bed every workday, I have no energy, and on the weekends, all I do is sleep.
I know exactly what you are going through. When I was on clonazepam I felt completly drudged out. It got so bad I had to stop taking it all together just to have a "normal" day. Personally I think that clonazepam is a nasty drug. I felt ten times better after discontinueing it.
I started to take Effexor shortly after that and I presonally didn't like it. I got that plastic akward feeling every dose I took. My doctor told me that it would go away within two weeks but it didn't.
I was taking Effexor for depression and anxiety and it did curb the depression but I felt Effexor made my anxiety worse.
Maby it will not make you feel all icky like it made me feel. I think that it is still a pretty new drug and apparently affects people differently. I say talk to your doctor about dropping the clonazepam for awhile and picking up Effexor to see how it affects you.
I hope you get to feeling better.
#6
Old 10-05-2002, 02:47 AM
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I have the same symptoms you describe, Scott. Right now, my doctor is escalating my dose of regular Effexor in the hopes of switching me to Effexor XR in a few weeks.

I find that I need a fairly high dose (200-250 mg daily) of Effexor before it relieves any of my anxiety. Also, it doesn't do anything to settle my sleep patterns and I depend on Ambien to put me down at night.

Of course, this is the kind of thing where milage significantly varies. Talk it out with your doctor, as this was just my two cents.
#7
Old 10-05-2002, 01:52 PM
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I was on Effexor years ago (not XR, does that mean Extended Release?) and I didn't like it, but I guess you could say I never really gave it a chance. The sexual side effects were significant, that's all I'll say, much more would be TMI. I don't know how important that is to you. I stopped taking it myself, which was unwise, but I was 20, whaddya gonna do? I went through withdrawal symptoms I was completely unprepared for. Headaches, nausea, blurred vision, confusion, and a weird scraping sound in my ears every time I moved my head. I wish someone would have told me.

Now I take Luvox, and it's good, but my diagnosis is OCD, so your experience might be different.
#8
Old 10-05-2002, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Snugglebear

I know exactly what you are going through. When I was on clonazepam I felt completly drudged out. It got so bad I had to stop taking it all together just to have a "normal" day. Personally I think that clonazepam is a nasty drug. I felt ten times better after discontinueing it.
Actually, clonazepam is the one med that has helped me the most. When I was diagnosed for depression for the second of three times in 1998 (three strikes, you're out), they put me on Serzone (an SNRI, as is Effexor), which was a nightmare. I was switched to Paxil, but even though my depression lifted somewhat within a couple of weeks, the anxiety worsened.

I should mention I was on medical leave from work at the time.

Finally, the anxiety got so bad I couldn't take it anymore. I was pacing around my apartment, looking out the window, and wanting to just jump through it - I lived on the 12th floor at the time. I wanted to jump not because of suicidal feelings, but because I couldn't take the anxiety anymore.

I went to the ER. The bus ride was harrowing. Every time someone's knee touched mine, I freaked. I was scared of the sliding doors to the ER. In any case, when I was finally seen, I demanded that they do something about my anxiety. I was prescribed clonazepam, and 24 hours and a few doses later, the anxiety was gone.

So, in essence, it's done wonders for me, and still does. I know very well I'm dependent on it, but my former shrink told me that as long as I don't abuse it, what's the problem? Many might disagree, but I hold that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Getting back to Effexor, I have to admit I have some trepidation about trying it. There's the whole possibility of sexual side effects, which I had on every SSRI except, for some strange reason, Celexa. I'm also worried that since Effexor is an SNRI like Serzone, I might have the same bizarre side effects: tunnel vision, everything appearing further than it is, walking around in a daze.

In any case, I'll suggest it to the new doc, and maybe try it. I don't know why the hell I ever went off Wellbutrin. It really worked for me. I just would feel weird suggesting going back on since I already went off - how do you justify that?

Thanks for your input, and more of your experiences are welcome, of course.
#9
Old 10-05-2002, 10:02 PM
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I've been taking Effexor XR since the middle of May. The doctor started me slowly, on 37.5. We increased once a week to 112.5. I've been taking 150 for about three months. I've never taken any other anti-depressant.

The first few days when I started and the first day of each new dose I had zero appetite, nausea and headaches. Now that I've been on the same dose for a while, those effects are gone. I still get the headaches if I take it without food. As for sexual side effects, I'm not interested as often as I used to be, but I don't have a any problems when I do have sex (I'm a woman). The one constant side effect from the beginning is that I don't get tired at night. Ambien gets me to sleep and keeps me from waking up several times during the night, though I'd say I get about six hours solid sleep before waking up in the morning. I've also noticed recently that I've been having some memory loss. My doctpr says it is common with many anti-depressants and is not permanent. We're talking about lowering my Effexor dosage and possibly adding something else.

The Effexor has worked great for my depression, and I don't feel "druggy" at all. I've also been told that the withdrawal when going off Effexor is minimal if you taper and/or take a few days of Prozac.

I read some horror stories online before I started it and was pretty scared, but my side effects have been pretty minimal, and I'm feeling SO much better.
#10
Old 10-06-2002, 03:12 AM
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I just took Effexor for a month for depression (late August - late Sept.) and I personally wasn't much for it. I agree with the others here that the sexual side effects were significant (namely zero sex drive and ...errr.... let's just say I could go on the journey, but I wasn't really getting anywhere) and I had a definite lack of appetite and screwed up sleep patterns. When I told my doctor about this, she switched me over to Welbutrin for a month trial, which seems to be okay.

The first day of Welbutrin was ROUGH (I felt amazingly drugged and out of it), but I think that had more to do with me still having Effexor in my system at that time. Welbutrin has pretty much put me back on track as far as those side effects are concerned. I still get the weird plastic-y feeling on occasion that I got with Effexor and I have some crazy dreams from time to time, but overall I like Welbutrin a lot more. I take a small dosage (only one pill per day) and it seems to keep me pretty balanced.
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#11
Old 10-06-2002, 08:23 AM
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Re: Effexor XR experiences?

Quote:
Originally posted by scott evil
My doctor left town a couple of months ago, but gave me the name of a colleague of his, another gay doctor
Am I missing something here - what does your doctor's sexual preference have to do with any thing???

#12
Old 10-06-2002, 12:27 PM
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I took effexor for over year. It worked well, enough so that with also helping myself, I was able to take myself off medications completly. I can't recall many side effects, in fact it really started working fast for me.

Getting off of it is a cinch too, I had no withdraw symptoms whatsoever.
#13
Old 10-06-2002, 07:53 PM
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Re: Re: Effexor XR experiences?

Quote:
Originally posted by LolaCocaCola


Am I missing something here - what does your doctor's sexual preference have to do with any thing???

Umm... a lot, Lola. I feel more comfortable discussing aspects of my life with a gay doctor. Not to diss straight doctors, but a gay doctor is more likely in tune with gay mens' health concerns. And my previous doctor would always know of gay community resources, new clubs, and what not, that a straight doctor most likely wouldn't have.

Sorry, Lola, I like you, but that was an unnecessary hijack.
#14
Old 10-06-2002, 08:10 PM
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Well, I'm not sure if asking for a clarification with regard to your post is necessarily a hijack. I just thought mentioning your doctor's sexual preference came out of left field and I wondered what it had to do with anti-depressants, is all.

And now I know.
#15
Old 10-07-2002, 03:55 AM
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I've been on Effexor XR since May for depression, this is my first experience with antidepressants. I was on 75mg a day, but increased to 150mg a day after about six weeks. 75mg wasn't strong enough to get me to where my doctor and I wanted me to be. The 150's worked better once it built up in my system. Even people who don't know I'm on it have noticed the improvement. My mood improved that much and my batteries felt recharged, so to speak.

I had lack of sleep and appetite problems during my depression, on Effexor my appetite has increased to an acceptable, healthy level without regaining all the weight I lost during my depression (which helps my self-esteem). Although most food still tastes not quite right to me. I also experience smells more intensely from time to time, as well, since I've been on it. This seems to be rare from what my doc and others I know who've been on it say.

I slept in fits at first on Effexor and had problems waking up and staying awake. My doctor said to move when I took it to a different time of day. I work nights, and took it around 10 pm (midday for me) originally, so I moved it to about 2pm (my morning time) when I first wake up. After about two weeks on the new schedule, I adjusted to it and sleep fairly well now. At least I'm actually sleepy when I get home from work and can maintain a regular sleep pattern.

Sexual side effects haven't been a real problem for me, I've had a slight decrease in interest lately, but no problem with performance (male FTR).

So Effexor has been mostly positive for me. YMMV, but you already know that.
#16
Old 10-08-2002, 03:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by scott evil
I was prescribed clonazepam, and 24 hours and a few doses later, the anxiety was gone. Many might disagree, but I hold that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Getting back to Effexor, I have to admit I have some trepidation about trying it. There's the whole possibility of sexual side effects, which I had on every SSRI except, for some strange reason, Celexa. I'm also worried that since Effexor is an SNRI like Serzone, I might have the same bizarre side effects: tunnel vision, everything appearing further than it is, walking around in a daze.

I don't know why the hell I ever went off Wellbutrin. It really worked for me. I just would feel weird suggesting going back on since I already went off - how do you justify that?
I totally agree that clonazepam really kills the anxt. I had to stop taking it basically because I couldn't wake up in the morning to go to work. No matter what I did I could not get up and going.
As far as sexual side affects with Effexor, I had em bad. I had absolutley no mood for sex. It's funny because when I met my wife she was on Paxial and had no sex drive. When she switched from that to Effexor she gained hers back. At this same time she switched I was going on the Effexor and I lost mine totally.
As far as the other side affects you mentioned, I never really had them accept for the walking around in a daze. But that went away after the initial two week build up.
Scott Evil don't be anxt about asking for the Wellbutrin again from doc.
If the Wellbutrin really worked for you I see no reason why your doctor would have a problem with you going back on it. My doctor has always said that if something isn't working for you we will stop it and continue with what does work. Try justifying it as being the med that worked for you. I'm sure he'll give you a honest awnser.

I know this is off the topic but have you tried any other methods to help you break the anxiety and depression? For example: exercise, support groups, diet, and pets...
These are things I've done that really helped me a lot. I'm just wondering if you are doing other things than just taking the meds...
Let me know what happens. I'm interested to know what you and your doctor decide on.
#17
Old 10-08-2002, 04:28 PM
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I started Effexor back in the Spring. My symptoms were mainly depression and the feeling that I was swimming through mud constantly. I started out on 37.5 mg for a week, and have been taking 75 mg ever since.

The first couple of days taking it, I had headaches and felt rotten. On the third day, I felt GREAT! It wsa the happiest I felt in years! I all the sudden had energy and drive and felt like I could do anything. I had decreased sex drive and appetite for several weeks, but my worst side effect was probably being way too reckless. I'd cut off rednecks on the freeway, laugh at them, flip them off, etc.

My therapist told me it was rare that the Effexor could have such a quick effect, as it usually takes several weeks. Since then, the high has levelled off to where I'm just slightly above mellow. I have had a few days where I felt like my old depressed self, so I'm going to ask for an increased dosage next time I see the shrink.

There were a few times where I'd forget to take the medication that day, and wound up having really restless nights as a result, since my subconscious was so hyper, I was having continuous waking dreams. The next day, I took two capsules, and got a rush like I did on the abovementioned happy third day, and was able to sleep again. It's amazing how much the causes of depression are indeed chemical in nature.
#18
Old 10-08-2002, 06:47 PM
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I've been on Effexor for over a year, XR 150, twice a day. I'm pleased with it. As for side effects, I got the delayed ejaculation. That doesn't mean I have sex and then come later at the grocery store. It means that, with the Effexor, sex lasts longer than without the drug. Apparently, one previous poster didn't care for that effect, but it's fine by me.
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#19
Old 10-08-2002, 07:53 PM
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AskNott, I had sexual side effects while on Prozac and Paxil (moreso on Paxil). I found it extremely frustrating, and would often have to give up, because my partners would get bored, having already climaxed.

Or fake it, if I was doing the butt sex thing...
#20
Old 10-08-2002, 07:55 PM
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Heh, it's not necessarily that I didn't care for the effect - it's that the finale (no pun intended) just wouldn't come. The girl seemed a little disappointed that she couldn't get me there so I had to explain the medication aspect of things.
#21
Old 10-08-2002, 10:13 PM
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I took it for awhile, and noticed a few odd effects. For one, it raised my blood pressure and heart rate by a decent amount; I don't know if this happens to others who take it, but as it stimulates the noreprenine (sic) system, this is to be expected. Secondly, when quitting it, for several days I experienced weird "brain flashes"; essentially, I'd get periodic sensations of a sort of "wave" of electricity through the brain. Weird, but not horrible.

Just thought I'd throw those out there. I didn't take it for depression, so I can't say how it would have affected that, but you might want to ask about what physically stimulating effects it might have.
#22
Old 10-09-2002, 02:10 PM
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I just started Wellbutrin. So far I have had minimal side effects--just an occasional "head rush" feeling. I have taken Paxil & Celexa as well. Virtually no side effects with the Celexa... but with the Paxil the "sexual side effect" I had was that I never wanted any...

For anybody experiencing "sexual side effects," try taking gingko biloba. Worked well to counteract the side effects I had.

daere
#23
Old 10-09-2002, 05:23 PM
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Addendum - My RN (psychiatric RN) said Celexa, Paxil, and other SSRIís work well on depression combined with anxiety. He suggested Wellbutrin or Effexor for me since I have very little anxiety combined with my depression.
Also, both before & after the Celexa I had very little energy or motivation. My RN said that Wellbutrin can help raise energy levels. In fact, Iíll be taking Wellbutrin 2 times a day and he made a point of saying the second dose should not be taken too late or it can cause insomnia.

Too bad I canít blame my tendency to ramble on the meds... Iíve always been like this. *grin*

daere
#24
Old 03-12-2013, 05:10 AM
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I literally took it for the first time tonight and almost called the hospital. I took it before bed and I woke up at 4am, at first I felt really dizzy and shaky so I tried to go back to sleep when I experienced the worst thing ever. The trembling got worse and I started getting this increased feeling of physical anxiety, my whole body got hotter and hotter and my skin felt tingly and hot and it just kept increasing and I though I was going to die. I had to keep checking my pulse because it felt like I was having a heart attack but it seemed to be beating quite normally even though I was totally freaking out. It happened about 3 times in a row.

I looked it up and it looks like it might be panic attacks. Which is something that people take Effexor to fix apparently??? I'm taking it for chronic generalized and social anxiety by the way not depression. I tried regular ssri's(zoloft) first but had a strange reaction(bad fever) and had to stop.
Has anyone gotten panic attacks caused by Effexor before (after the first dose too??) I'm going to talk to my doctor but as of now I'm on the fence about continuing this because if I do I'm really going to hate myself tomorrow if I have to experience that again.

P.S I have major sympathy/respect for those who get panic attacks because that was absolutely terrible. You really do feel like you're going to die. I have heard about panic attacks before and thought I might have had them before caused by my gad but boy was a wrong. I know now that those were extreme unwanted adrenaline rush/hot flash NOT a panic attack there is definetly a difference.

Peace
#25
Old 03-12-2013, 01:33 PM
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It helped me a lot with my depressive symptoms, while Celexa did not. Side effects were minor (feeling a bit shaky, some 'brain zaps' when it was getting close to time for next dose). Withdrawal really sucked - but I did it cold turkey, which is not advised.
#26
Old 03-12-2013, 10:39 PM
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Zombie thread, be warned.
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