Effexor Venlafaxine Side Effects and Withdrawal

If you wish to remain on Effexor but eliminate current Effexor withdrawal side effects, click here.

If you want to taper off the Effexor and you are not sure where to start, you can click here and read the bestselling book, How to Get Off Psychoactive Drugs Safely or send Jim Harper an email at [email protected] and he will guide you through the process of Effexor withdrawal.

Venlafaxine Effexor Side Effects If your physician referred you to The Road Back and you are not sure which supplements you need for Venlafaxine side effects, click here and you will go to a page that has links to the correct supplement package. Venlafaxine is a prescription medication used to treat depression, anxiety, and certain other mood disorders. While it can be effective in managing these conditions, it can also cause a range of side effects, some of which can be serious.

Nausea: One of the most common side effects of venlafaxine is nausea. This can range from mild to severe and may be accompanied by vomiting. Nausea can make it difficult to eat or drink, which can lead to dehydration and other complications.

Dizziness: Another common side effect of venlafaxine is dizziness. This can make it difficult to perform daily tasks, such as driving or operating heavy machinery. It can also increase the risk of falls and other accidents.

Headaches: Many people who take venlafaxine experience headaches. These can range from mild to severe and may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as dizziness or nausea.

Insomnia: Venlafaxine can interfere with sleep, leading to insomnia or other sleep disturbances. This can have a negative impact on overall health and wellbeing.

Fatigue: Some people who take venlafaxine experience fatigue or lethargy. This can make it difficult to perform daily tasks or engage in physical activity.

Anxiety: While venlafaxine is often prescribed to treat anxiety, it can also cause anxiety as a side effect. This can be particularly challenging for those who are already struggling with anxiety or other mood disorders.

Sweating: Sweating is another common side effect of venlafaxine. This can be uncomfortable and may lead to dehydration if not managed properly.

Sexual dysfunction: Venlafaxine can interfere with sexual function, leading to decreased libido, difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection, or difficulty achieving orgasm.

Dry mouth: Some people who take venlafaxine experience dry mouth. This can be uncomfortable and may increase the risk of dental problems.

Constipation: Venlafaxine can interfere with bowel function, leading to constipation or other digestive problems.

Diarrhea: In some cases, venlafaxine can cause diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms.

Weight changes: Venlafaxine can cause weight gain or weight loss in some people. This can be particularly challenging for those who are already struggling with their weight.

Increased blood pressure: Venlafaxine can cause an increase in blood pressure. This can be dangerous for those who have hypertension or other cardiovascular conditions.

Abnormal bleeding: Venlafaxine can interfere with blood clotting, leading to abnormal bleeding. This can be particularly dangerous for those who are taking blood thinners or who have a bleeding disorder.

Seizures: In rare cases, venlafaxine can cause seizures. This is more likely to occur in people who have a history of seizures or who are taking other medications that lower the seizure threshold.

Serotonin syndrome: Venlafaxine can increase levels of serotonin in the brain, which can lead to serotonin syndrome. This is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Mania: In some people, venlafaxine can cause manic episodes. This can be particularly challenging for those.

Hyponatremia: Venlafaxine can cause hyponatremia, which is a condition where the level of sodium in the blood is too low. This can be dangerous and may require medical treatment.

Suicidal thoughts: Venlafaxine, like other antidepressants, can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior, particularly in children, adolescents, and young adults. Anyone taking venlafaxine should be closely monitored for signs of suicidal ideation or behavior.

Withdrawal symptoms: When stopping venlafaxine, some people may experience withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, dizziness, headache, insomnia, and irritability. These symptoms can be managed with careful tapering of the medication.

Liver damage: Venlafaxine can cause liver damage in rare cases. Symptoms of liver damage may include abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice), and dark urine. Anyone experiencing these symptoms while taking venlafaxine should seek medical attention immediately.

Allergic reactions: In rare cases, venlafaxine can cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include rash, itching, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue, and difficulty breathing. Anyone experiencing these symptoms while taking venlafaxine should seek medical attention immediately.

Cardiac events: Venlafaxine can cause changes in heart rate and rhythm, which can increase the risk of cardiac events such as heart attack or stroke. People with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions may be at greater risk for these complications.

Glaucoma: Venlafaxine can cause an increase in intraocular pressure, which can exacerbate glaucoma or lead to the development of the condition in people who are predisposed to it.

Skin reactions: Venlafaxine can cause skin reactions such as rash or hives. In rare cases, it may also cause Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a serious and potentially life-threatening skin condition.

Hemorrhage: Venlafaxine can increase the risk of bleeding, including internal bleeding or hemorrhage. This can be particularly dangerous for people taking blood thinners or who have a bleeding disorder.

Akathisia: Venlafaxine can cause akathisia, a condition characterized by restlessness, agitation, and an inability to sit still. This can be extremely uncomfortable and may require a change in medication. 

Hypermotility: Venlafaxine can increase bowel motility, which can lead to diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms.

Respiratory distress: In rare cases, venlafaxine can cause respiratory distress, which may be life-threatening. Anyone experiencing difficulty breathing while taking venlafaxine should seek medical attention immediately.

Neurological symptoms: Venlafaxine can cause a range of neurological symptoms, including tremors, seizures, and confusion. These symptoms may be more likely to occur in people taking high doses of the medication.

Mood changes: Venlafaxine can cause mood changes, including irritability, aggression, and impulsivity. These symptoms may be more likely to occur in people with a history of these behaviors.

Renal impairment: Venlafaxine can cause renal impairment, which is a condition where the kidneys are not functioning properly. This can be dangerous and may require medical treatment.

Visual changes: Venlafaxine can cause visual changes, including blurred vision or changes in color perception. These symptoms may be more likely to occur in people taking high doses of the medication.

Gynecomastia: In rare cases, venlafaxine can cause gynecomastia, which is the development of breast tissue in males. This can be distressing and may require medical intervention.

Ocular effects: Venlafaxine can cause ocular effects, such as dry eyes or changes in vision. These symptoms may be more likely to occur in people taking high doses of the medication.

Urinary retention: Venlafaxine can cause urinary retention, which is a condition where the bladder does not empty properly. This can be uncomfortable and may increase the risk of urinary tract infections.

Anemia: Venlafaxine can cause anemia, which is a condition where the body does not produce enough red blood cells. This can lead to fatigue, weakness, and other symptoms.

Edema: Venlafaxine can cause edema, which is swelling in the legs, feet, or other parts of the body. This can be uncomfortable and may require medical intervention.

Hearing changes: Venlafaxine can cause hearing changes, including ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or changes in hearing sensitivity. These symptoms may be more likely to occur in people taking high doses of the medication.

Pancreatitis: In rare cases, venlafaxine can cause pancreatitis, which is a condition where the pancreas becomes inflamed. This can be extremely painful and may require hospitalization.

Thyroid dysfunction: Venlafaxine can cause thyroid dysfunction, including hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. These conditions can cause a range of symptoms and may require medical treatment.

Tardive dyskinesia: In rare cases, venlafaxine can cause tardive dyskinesia, a condition characterized by involuntary movements of the face and body. This can be distressing and may require a change in medication.

Hypoglycemia: Venlafaxine can cause hypoglycemia, which is a condition where the blood sugar level is too low. This can be dangerous and may require medical treatment.

Stevens-Johnson syndrome: In rare cases, venlafaxine can cause Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a serious and potentially life-threatening skin condition. Symptoms may include fever, rash, and blistering of the skin and mucous membranes.

Cataracts: Venlafaxine can cause cataracts, which is a condition where the lens of the eye becomes cloudy. This can lead to vision loss and may require surgery to correct.

Peripheral neuropathy: Venlafaxine can cause peripheral neuropathy, a condition where the nerves in the hands and feet become damaged. This can lead to numbness, tingling, and other symptoms.

Hepatitis: In rare cases, venlafaxine can cause hepatitis, a condition where the liver becomes inflamed. Symptoms may include jaundice, abdominal pain, and fatigue.

Pulmonary hypertension: Venlafaxine can cause pulmonary hypertension, a condition where the blood pressure in the lungs becomes elevated. This can be dangerous and may require medical treatment.

Osteoporosis: Venlafaxine can increase the risk of osteoporosis, a condition where the bones become weak and brittle. This can increase the risk of fractures and may require medical intervention.

Hypermagnesemia: Venlafaxine can cause hypermagnesemia, a condition where the level of magnesium in the blood is too high. This can be dangerous and may require medical treatment.

Part 1: Introduction to Effexor Withdrawal.

Effexor, also known as Venlafaxine, is a medication used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. While it can be effective in managing symptoms, many individuals who take Effexor find that they become dependent on the medication. This dependence can lead to withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop taking the medication. Withdrawal from Effexor can be a challenging experience, and it’s important to understand the process in order to manage symptoms effectively.

Part 2: Common Effexor Withdrawal Symptoms.

Withdrawal from Effexor can cause a range of physical and emotional symptoms. Some of the most common physical symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. Individuals may also experience flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and chills. Emotional symptoms can include irritability, anxiety, and depression. In some cases, individuals may experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Part 3: Timeline of Effexor Withdrawal.

The timeline of Effexor withdrawal can vary from person to person, depending on factors such as the dose and duration of medication use. Generally, withdrawal symptoms can begin within a few hours of the last dose and can last for several weeks or even months. The first few days of withdrawal are typically the most intense, with symptoms peaking around day three or four. Symptoms may gradually improve after the first week or two, but some individuals may experience protracted withdrawal, in which symptoms persist for several months or longer.  

Part 4: Managing Effexor Withdrawal Symptoms.

There are several strategies that can help individuals manage withdrawal symptoms from Effexor. One of the most effective is to taper off the medication slowly, under the guidance of a healthcare provider. This allows the body to adjust gradually to lower doses of the medication, minimizing the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Other strategies that can help manage symptoms include getting regular exercise, practicing relaxation techniques, and getting support from friends and family. In 1999, The Road Back found; 50% of the people trying to withdrawal off an antidepressant could make it through withdrawal but they still suffered withdrawal side effects. This withdrawal was accomplished by only using a 10% reduction of the medication every 2 weeks. Of the 50% that could make it off the antidepressant, 40% went back on the antidepressant because the withdrawal symptoms were too severe, and they saw no hope in ever living a normal life again. 

The Road Back began investigating other options than a slow and gradual withdrawal. In 2000, The Road Back began a trial using a whey protein shown to increase the glutathione in the body. The success was immediate. We found; 90% of those that went back on their antidepressant could now go off their antidepressant, do very well with the taper and remain off the antidepressant.  

During the next 10 years, The Road Back continued testing other nutritional supplements to improve the program and during the decade several changes were made to the supplements recommended.  

In 2010, a major breakthrough was accomplished. In 2010, our founder Jim Harper, discovered a gene that becomes altered with the use of every psychotropic medication. This gene, the JNK gene, was virtually responsible for most every psychotropic medication withdrawal side effect. Not only during withdrawal but also when a person is taking the full dosage of the medication as prescribed.

Part 5: Effexor Withdrawal, Where we are in 2023, and The Road Back Program .

The Road Back Program uses formulated nutritional supplements to address; the JNK gene, glutathione as well as aquaporins to help eliminate Effexor withdrawal. Over 19 million people throughout the world have now used The Road Back Program to get their life back.

Part 6: Risks of Effexor Withdrawal.

While most individuals who withdraw from Effexor will experience only mild to moderate symptoms, there are some risks associated with the process. In some cases, withdrawal can lead to severe or even life-threatening symptoms, such as seizures or suicidal thoughts. It’s important to work closely with a healthcare provider to manage withdrawal safely and effectively.

Part 7: Conclusion.

Effexor withdrawal can be a challenging experience, but it’s important to remember that symptoms are temporary and can be managed effectively with the right strategies. By working with a healthcare provider and taking steps to manage symptoms, individuals can successfully withdraw from Effexor and regain control of their mental health. If you or a loved one is experiencing Effexor withdrawal, seek help from a healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Part 8: Additional Effexor Information The majority of people attempting Effexor withdrawal experience an antidepressant withdrawal syndrome. This is also known as Effexor discontinuation syndrome in the United States. In Europe it is called Effexor withdrawal side effects. The F.D.A. estimates 10% of those experiencing Effexor withdrawal will go back up on the Effexor because the withdrawal symptoms are too severe.

The most common and debilitating Effexor withdrawal side effect is called “brain zaps.” Brain zaps are described by people experiencing it as a; electrical jolt that tends to run from base of the neck up into their head. Another side effect that tends to run with brain zaps is a shiver, a feeling as your head is floating, dizziness, and/or a whirling sensation in the head.

These symptoms can come in waves or even be persistent. The good news: in 2002, our founder, Jim Harper, discovered the correct type of Omega 3 taken in the right quantity will eliminate these devastating head symptoms quickly. Usually within a couple of hours.

The body in a normal state uses the oil from our diet, specifically from omega 3 found in fish, to build and replenish the end point of areas in the brain that sends and receives electrical signals. We are using easy to understand terminology, so it is easy to understand. Let’s leave the technical jargon to physicians. These brain zaps have nothing to do with serotonin levels or other made-up reasons. It is simple really; our body works in a very natural way with how it uses amino acids, proteins, fats in food and all other diet items to maintain a balance. When you introduce any toxin that disrupts these processes the body reacts.

The most common Effexor Venlafaxine withdrawal symptoms reported include: 

Flu like symptoms



Brain zaps




Increased suicidal ideation





Ringing in the ears




Mood swings

Please note: These are the most common Effexor withdrawal side effects but far from all potential Effexor withdrawal side effects.

There is a warning the FDA has put a black box warning on Effexor. WARNING: SUICIDAL THOUGHTS AND BEHAVIORS

See full prescribing information for complete boxed warning. Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in pediatric and young adult patients (5.1) Closely monitor for clinical worsening and emergence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors

You may have been prescribed Effexor within a very short doctor visit. There was no investigation into other life factors, lab testing, or any conversation about what side effects might present. The failings of this approach may cause quite a burden on the patient.

Depression, insomnia, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and other symptoms that Effexor is often prescribed for might stem from; diminished vitamin D levels, overactive JNK gene, specific proteins that need to be silenced, dietary concerns and food allergies, mitochondrial dysfunction, neurotoxic accumulation, and many other reasons. A full physical from an understanding physician is ideal, before prescribing Effexor.

Do Your Symptoms Require Effexor?

The Road Back Program uses nutritional supplements to help with the Effexor withdrawal. Most people feel a very fast relief from the Effexor withdrawal once they begin taking the supplements and we feel the odds are high; if would have taken nutritional supplements like these before starting the Effexor you would have been prescribed the Effexor in the first place.

In 2007, Jim Harper was giving a speech to a group of psychiatrists in Ireland and during his talk he mentioned his mother just passed away 30 days ago. He went on to describe how he made sure to take his JNK Formula each day to help the body cope with the stress being put on it do to his loss. He went on to say, “The JNK Formula will not remove the emotional loss and how I feel but it will keep the body strong during my time to grieve.

“How Do You Survive Effexor Withdrawal?

Surviving Effexor withdrawal depends on what you do at this very moment. If you keep doing the same thing you have been doing and you are in a heavy Effexor withdrawal, nothing will change for the positive, that is a given.

If you decide to do the Effexor withdrawal as an inpatient in a drug rehab center DO NOT DO THE 9 DAY PLAN BECAUSE THAT WHAT INSURANCE ALLOWS. Over the past 22 years I have worked with far too many people who were sold on a rehab facility, stayed the 9 days because insurance would only pay for that amount of time. The unscrupulous facility took them off the Effexor in 9 days as they promised and by the time the person got off the airplane after their return home they were in full withdrawal. You can’t do an Effexor withdrawal in 9 days.

The Road Back Program can normally help you get back on your feet again, but the rehab facility approach of this type is not worth the price you will pay mentally and physically.

You will find a few other outpatient Effexor withdrawal programs on the internet now and Jim Harper is not aware of one that will cause you harm like the rehab facilities mentioned. However, every other program on the internet was trained by Jim Harper years ago and they are doing what Jim Harper and The Road Back did during that time frame. Almost 2 decades ago Jim Harper trained several physicians and good intentioned people how to get a patient off Effexor. Jim went into detail of the process and what nutritional supplements were used and why they were used. At that time of The Road Back the success rate was not as high as desired and over the following years Jim changed the formulas used with the supplements several times to use new information with DNA testing.

Long story short; you will likely wind up using an Effexor withdrawal approach The Road Back used in 2003, that was scrapped for something more successful. If you are currently in Effexor withdrawal, send Jim Harper an email and he will personally guide you through the process so you can get back on your feet quickly and have a very successful Effexor withdrawal. It does not matter if you have been on Effexor for 1 month or 20 years. Recovery can happen and the good part is it does not take more time because you have been taking Effexor for years.

When Do Effexor Withdrawal Symptoms Start When Discontinuing / Quitting Effexor? 

Effexor withdrawal usually begins between day 1 and day 3 of adjusting the Effexor. For some people this is not the case but eventually most everyone hits some dosage of the Effexor when reducing that jars them. Effexor withdrawal begins and they have no idea what they should do. Their physician does not know what to do. They wind up in a spiral downward and wind up on a new medication to try and stop the Effexor withdrawal. The best case is the additional drug does that, but you are now on 2 drugs instead of only Effexor. 

What is Effexor?

Effexor is an antidepressant medication developed in the 1970s with FDA approval granted in 1991. This SSRI drug is prescribed in treating adult depressive disorders (MDD), panic disorder, obsessive compulsory disorders (OCD), social anxiety (SAD), post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

If you have anxiety before taking Effexor, or anxiety begins while taking Effexor, odds are the anxiety will continue to get worse. Effexor alters dopamine much like the antidepressant Effexor and anxiety is a byproduct of these two drugs.

What Is Effexor Used For?

Effexor is an antidepressant medication approved to treat adult MDD (major depressive disorder). The Black Box warning on the drug’s packaging mentions that the drug should not be prescribed to anyone under the age of 25, due to heightened risk of suicide. There is an exception to this for patients under the age of 25 who have been diagnosed with OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).

Potential suicidality is associated with all Effexor and may be a concern leading to consider Effexor withdrawal, which is recommended to be done always under medical or caregiver monitoring. 

Adult-only approved uses for the drug provided in a clinical or treatment setting include:

MDD: Major Depressive Disorder

PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder

PD: Panic disorder

SAD: Social anxiety disorder

OCD: Obsessive-compulsive disorder

PMDD: Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Effexor Side Effects

The full list of Effexor side effects is quite staggering. In 2004, Jim Harper used the Freedom of Information Act to get the full list of Effexor side effects. Jim received the information, and it is 500 sheets of letter size paper, single space, a number 10 font size, 3 columns per page. In other words, thousands of known potential Effexor side effects were disclosed. Some of the other Effexor and Effexor withdrawal side effects:

Serotonin syndrome: A life-threatening condition requiring immediate medical care in a hospital emergency clinic or ICU. Symptoms to watch for include sudden fever, losing consciousness, inability to move or speak, copious sweating, dilated pupils, chills, tremors, convulsions, diarrhea, agitation, restlessness, racing heart, etc.

Suicidal thoughts (common) Suicide attempt (common)Hyperkinesis (muscle spasms, movement disorder) Worsened depression


Paranoia (rare) Anxiety

Mania (common)




Teeth grinding

Akathisia (relentless internal restlessness and discomfort marked by repeated motions, pacing, rocking, etc., that can lead to suicidal thoughts as a means of relief) Tachycardia (racing heart, even when the body is at rest) 

Rash Itching

Burning, crawling feeling in the skin


Tics, sudden jerky movements, myoclonus

Emotional blunting

Behavioral apathy, SSRI-induced-indifference 

Pain on urination or difficulty urinating

Cloudy urine


Sexual impairments, i.e., anorgasmia, inability to ejaculate, lowered libido

Mood swings

Pain around the eyes or eye sockets


Bladder pain

Prickling skin sensation


Sensory disturbances


Depersonalization (common)


Nightmares (paranoia)




Weight gain 

Some documented Effexor birth defects and injuries include:

PPHN or persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, a heart and lung condition which can result in respiratory failure, decreased oxygen to the brain, and multiple organ injuries.

Congenital Heart Defects connected to Effexor and other SSRIs include ventricular septal defects and atrial septal defects, also referred to as “holes in the heart”, related to heart murmurs, suppressed appetite, breathing difficulties, tiredness, inadequate growth, etc.

Increased Risk of Autism has been extensively reported but evidence has not yet been considered conclusive enough for regulatory bodies to ban prescribing to pregnant women.

Increased Risk of Clubfoot connected to SSRIs during pregnancy as reported by NIMH, where exposure had the highest increase in clubfoot of all SSRIs.

Increased risk of atrial/ventricular defects and craniosynostosis was reported in a Canadian study from 1998 to 2010 and published in the June 2015 issue of the American Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics.

Effexor Withdrawal, What to Expect

If using The Road Back Program, you should expect to feel a lot better within the first couple days of the program. If you do nothing, expect to continue to feel as you do now. Possibly worse as time goes on. The chance of feeling better if you do nothing is nil.

In 1999, The Road Back only had people taper the Effexor gradually and slowly. They still suffered. Around 50% could get off the Effexor but most went back on the Effexor because they continual Effexor withdrawal side effects would not diminish or go away.

We wish there was a better answer for you than the above but with working with over 19 million people over the last 22 years, the truth is the truth. No way to water it down to make it sound better.

Some may think it is just their depression returning but who would not feel depressed if they were still going through Effexor withdrawal months after stopping the Effexor. We can’t stress enough; what you do or do not do at this moment in time is critical for your future. Take your time if possible. If you have brain zaps go buy any omega 3 fish oil, even the wrong omega 3 fish oil will help somewhat. While you read this you may want to pause and go take a walk. Look at the trees, the sky or anything off in the distance. Getting your attention off your mind and body may do wonders. Keep this close to your heart; There is Hope and There is a Solution. We are speaking directly to YOU.A 30-day supply of the nutritional supplements will cost you around $80. If you feel it is worth around $80 to take a chance that all of this can go away in a couple of days, then take that chance. Over the past 22 years many have sent an email to Jim Harper and said they were not sure what to do about the Effexor withdrawal. Even after reading this information. The people that tried something else generally came back within a few months and were in worse shape than before. We do not want this to happen to you. But if so; Jim will still be here to assist.

Can Effexor Make Depression Worse?

Common sense answers this question. If depression is one side effect of taking Effexor, then Effexor can cause depression. You do stand a greater chance of Effexor causing depression during withdrawal than while simply taking the Effexor as prescribed. The depression during Effexor withdrawal can be due to the other Effexor withdrawal side effects you are experiencing. Who will not start to get depressed if you have anxiety from morning to night, can’t sleep and your head feels like it is on fire.

Effexor Aggression in Children

Children are more prone to aggression when taking Effexor than adults. It occurs in 10-20% of children taking any SSRI antidepressant. Two clinical trials performed by Pfizer; aggression was the most common reason noted for Effexor discontinuation.

Can You Get Addicted to Effexor?

Yes and no. This is where Effexor dependence is a matter of wording. Medically speaking in the United States Effexor is not addicting. In Europe it is viewed as addicting. The bottom line is; Once you take Effexor for 7 days the Effexor has made its way through your body. If your body no longer has the Effexor in its system, your body will react to the Effexor being gone. Much like a person that eats a lot a sweets every day. Your body will react when the sweet substance is not present. Call it addicting, as we would, call it a dependence as United States physicians will, it is what it is. If you do not provide the substance the body reacts, and you also have mental feelings that are not positive. We can get into the insulin discussion etc., but we are only talking about a substance being present and then not and the body and mind reacting in a negative manner.

What is the difference between Effexor and a Benzodiazepine?

Effexor is an SSRI medication, an antidepressant, used to treat depression and anxiety. Benzodiazepines are prescribed mainly for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders but also prescribed off-label to treat depression.

These two types of drugs have different chemical components and were designed to work on different brain receptors and neurotransmitters, but some of their effects can be seen to overlap. Benzodiazepines are thought to mainly affect GABA transmission, which can slow the central nervous system to reduce anxiety, while Effexor is designed to block the reuptake of serotonin.

Benzodiazepines are known to be more prone to dependence/addiction than Effexor. While the withdrawal symptoms are similar between both drugs, Effexor’s half-life is 22-36 hours, and Benzodiazepines half-life is much lower. Benzodiazepines can have more severe complications if abruptly stopped, including seizures. For safe Benzodiazepine or Effexor withdrawal, either of these drugs must be slowly tapered to allow the central nervous system and neurochemistry to safely normalize.

Choosing to withdrawal from the Effexor first or the benzodiazepine first needs to be evaluated. Use Chapter 23, The Science to decide is part of that equation. Depending on the benzodiazepine you may be taking with the Effexor, if you reduce the Effexor first it may make you go into withdrawal on the benzodiazepine, even if you did not reduce the benzodiazepine.

How long does Effexor stay in your system after the last dosage?

Our founder, Jim Harper, made great strides with determining this question. Using his DNA testing company in 2004-2005, Jim conducted hundreds of DNA tests to determine how fast or slow medications took to metabolize. In roughly 34 percent of the population the Effexor can take as long as 48 hours to clear the body. In others, as little as 8 hours can occur for the Effexor to clear the body. Depending on other habits you may have, Effexor could clear faster or even take more time than the 48 hours. If you smoke cigarettes and stop smoking while taking Effexor, the Effexor dosage you are taking will decrease by 15%. On the other side of this, if you start smoking while taking Effexor, the Effexor dosage will act as though it is 15% higher than you think it is. This is because cigarettes induce an enzyme used to metabolize Effexor and anything using that same pathway will shoot though much faster. Caffeine restricts that same enzyme, so if you start or stop drinking coffee while taking Effexor you will either go into withdrawal or feel an overdose, even though you have not changed the Effexor dosage.

This is why The Road Back Program wants you to not change smoking habits or caffeine habits during the Effexor taper.

Can you overdose on Effexor?

Yes, it is definitely possible for Effexor poisoning to occur. A substantial Effexor overdose requires emergency medical intervention to prevent major health problems. This list of Effexor overdose symptoms would be the same as those Effexor side effects listed above, but more severe.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the use of intravenous benzodiazepines is sometimes required during Effexor overdose to prevent seizures. Extra cooling measures must be used to reduce hyperthermia, always under the direction of EMT or other medical staff attending to the patient.

Treatment for Effexor Withdrawal

Effexor has become one of the most frequently prescribed antidepressants in the US. Of equal importance is that depressive disorders have become one of the most frequently diagnosed conditions. These two facts together underscore two important steps toward improved health:

Providing safe treatment programs for those who have decided on Effexor withdrawal and offering drug-free options to regain natural mental health without the need for prescription medications.

The Road Back Program was described by Dr. Hyla Cass M.D. in this way:

Here’s an essential handbook on how to safely and more easily wean yourself (under medical supervision) off the heavily over-prescribed psychotropic medications. I have used the program with my patients, and it works! 

“Hyla Cass M.D. Author of Supplement Your Prescription

Send an email to Jim Harper by using the Contact link on the top of this page or read How to Get Off Psychoactive Drugs Safely by Jim Harper and follow the program for Effexor withdrawal.

Why Jim put his entire book on our website for free is so you can instantly read the material and start this process if you are ready now.

One last thing Jim asked us to provide at the bottom of each page of Effexor descriptions:

There is Hope and There is a Solution