Armed with my research and a doctor’s willingness to listen, I was able to successfully stop taking Effexor!
You might want to read about the Effexor-Prozac Bridge here first.
You may or may not remember that I wrote a lengthly post about my addiction to Effexor XR and how I’ve tried for years to wean myself from the anti-depressant but had never been able to get below 37.5 mg per day. I tried taking the 37.5 mg dosage every other day – as suggested by my oncologist – but I would always feel horrible. Withdrawals from this drug are nasty. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I didn’t really need to take the drug any longer as I was initially using it to help manage hot flashes when I started chemotherapy back in 2008. My oncologist’s advice after I told her I couldn’t follow the every-other-day regimen? She said “just stay on it.” What? Not good enough. I hit Google for answers.
What I found was that I am certainly not in the minority. Hoards of people are taking a very expensive drug every single day because there isn’t an easy to stop taking Effexor. And then I found out about the Prozac Bridge. Basically, you swap Prozac for the Effexor XR. Sounds easy, right? And you know what, it was! With a little bit of patience I was able to stop taking Effexor and have been completely off the drug for about a week now.
In less than TWO WEEKS I was able to stop taking Effexor! It can be done.
At a recent appointment, I simply told my doctor (not the oncologist, but my family doctor) that I wanted to stop taking Effexor. I told her I didn’t have a need for the drug anymore and asked if she had heard about Prozac bridging. Thank God she knew what I was referring to and whole heartedly agreed to put me on Prozac. Her best advice? Open the Effexor capsule and take 3/4 of the granules if you start feeling those crappy withdrawals.
So this is what I did to stop taking Effexor (This information is not to replace any advice your personal doctor has given you):
- Day one – I replaced 1 37.5 mg capsule of Effexor XR with 1 10 mg capsule of Prozac.
The first day I simply swapped pill for pill. Whamo! I started feeling those awful flu-like withdrawal symptoms and worried I wouldn’t be able to break free from my Effexor addiction. And then I remember her advice – TAKE THE EFFEXOR! I broke open one Effexor capsule, poured out and counted the granules (there’s about 35 in each pill)
- Day two – I took 1 10 mg of Prozac and 26 Effexor XR granules. I continued that ratio for another two days.
- Days five and six – I took 1 10 mg of Prozac and had reduced the number of Effexor granules by 1/2, taking about 15 or so. I continued that particular ratio for another two or three days.
- Days nine, 10, and 11 – I took 1 10 mg of Prozac and about 8 Effexor granules.
- Day 12 – 1 10 mg of Prozac and NO Effexor!
It took me roughly two weeks to stop taking Effexor. Two weeks to stop taking a drug that I thought I’d never be able to move on from. Two weeks! Don’t accept that you have to take Effexor XR forever. Talk to your doctor about the Prozac bridge.
Have you ever taken Effexor XR? Tell me about your experience!
This experience with Effexor XR and withdrawal regimen is totally my own. Please do not replace this information as professional medical advice. Please talk to your doctor.
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