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Can You Quit Effexor Cold Turkey?

You should not quit Effexor cold turkey. Doing so can result in withdrawal symptoms.

Instead, it is recommended that you slowly taper off Effexor under a doctor’s supervision.


Known as venlafaxine, Effexor is an antidepressant that can assist people who have anxiety and panic disorders.

Per MedlinePlus, it is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) that controls symptoms by increasing the quantity of serotonin and norepinephrine in your brain.

Once you have received your prescription, you will generally start taking a low dose of this medication. It may take between six and eight weeks for it to work appropriately.


Antidepressants are meant to help you achieve a greater sense of well-being, but this takes a while. Some people may see their mood worsen before it improves. This is especially the case in children, teens, and some people up to age 24.

Some people who take Effexor may also feel increasingly worried, aggressive, or irritable. They may have a hard time falling or staying asleep.

There are other side effects that make people want to quit Effexor cold turkey.

  •  Nightmares
  •  Sleepiness
  •  Nausea
  •  Gas
  •  Changes in libido
  •  Chills
  •  Fever
  •  Coordination issues

This may prompt you to stop taking the medication immediately. Stopping the drug cold turkey can lead to withdrawal symptoms, such as confusion, anxiety, sadness, changes in sleeping patterns, and loss of appetite. These symptoms may even occur when you are tapering off Effexor, but they are more likely if you stop the drug suddenly.

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If you decide Effexor’s side effects are too much, you should talk to your doctor. Before quitting Effexor, try the following to deal with certain side effects:

  • Changes in sleep patterns: Take Effexor in the morning.
  • Dizziness: Make sure you get up and down slowly. Lie down until you are better, and do not operate heavy machinery when you feel dizzy.
  • Constipation: Exercise, such as going for a walk or jog, can help. Eat more fiber, which is found in fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. Make sure to drink enough water.
  • Sleepiness: This side effect may last up to two weeks. Do not drive or operate machinery while sleepy.
  • Headaches: Stay hydrated and get enough rest. Reduce your alcohol intake. Ask your doctor for medication recommendations if headaches continue. If your headaches interrupt your daily activities or last more than a week, speak with your doctor.

It is important to attend all your doctors’ appointments. Your doctor will monitor how or if Effexor is affecting your blood pressure and general health.

Some people may become suicidal or have thoughts of self-harm when they start taking Effexor. Immediately tell your doctor if these thoughts occur.


According to a 2010 article from Harvard Medical School, people who stop using their antidepressants can experience antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. This is because antidepressants change your mood by affecting chemical messengers in your brain. At least 20 percent of people who have taken antidepressants will experience discontinuation syndrome.

People who quit taking an antidepressant such as Effexor may develop symptoms that are similar to the depression or anxiety the medication is meant to treat. As a result, you should not just decide to stop taking an antidepressant on your own. You should continue using Effexor even if you feel unwell. Discuss any symptoms with your doctor first.

Medical News Today states that norepinephrine assists with the following reactions in the brain:

  •  Increases blood flow to the muscles
  •  Provokes a rise in heart rate
  •  Has a role in the fight-or-flight response

Serotonin regulates emotions, sleep patterns, and moods, and it plays a role in anxiety.

Together, these two hormones play a role in your consciousness and self-image.

Some people report having “brain shivers,” which are electroshock-like feelings that are not serious but can cause discomfort. This withdrawal symptom is common to SNRIs and SSRIs.

You may have good reasons why you want to quit taking Effexor, but you should still refrain from stopping your use suddenly. Talk to your doctor about how to discontinue the medication.


With Effexor, your doctor may suggest gradually reducing your dosage, so you can stop taking it with minimal side effects.

There are no formal guides for tapering from antidepressants.

Your doctor will advise the best protocol for decreasing your dose.

The tapering plan may change depending on how you react, and it may be adjusted throughout the tapering process.

If your dose was low, you might not require tapering at all.

The general rule is to taper patients if they have been taking medication for a long time.

A hand holding a single white tablet above a pile of others

Harvard Medical School says that it can take just one day for your body to get rid of Effexor if you quit suddenly.


If you struggle with depression, your doctor may recommend a different antidepressant.

The following can also help to alleviate depression:

Exercise and eat well.

A balanced diet and exercise regime can help to stabilize moods.

Find a therapist

People who turn to psychotherapy as a coping mechanism are less likely to experience major depressive episodes later.


Practice deep breathing exercises and meditation to promote balance and calm.


(November 2010) Going off antidepressants. Harvard Medical School. Retrieved April 2019 from

(October 2017) What you need to know about venlafaxine (Effexor). Medical News Today. Retrieved from

(December 2018) Venlafaxine. NHS. Retrieved April 2019 from

(December 2017) Venlafaxine. MedlinePlus. Retrieved from

(November 2018) Coping With Brain Shivers During Effexor Withdrawal. Verywell Mind. Retrieved from

(March 2019) How to Taper Off Your Antidepressant Medication. Verywell Mind. Retrieved from




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