venlafaxine : Jim has been having quite... - Advanced Prostate...

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JWPMP profile image

Jim has been having quite a bit of anxiety lately, a lot of upheaval with his family along with "anticipation" during the long wait for the Brachytherapy.

Anyway, the doctor prescribed Venlafaxine and I was just wondering if anyone has any experience with it?

Thank you

58 Replies

Yes, we are all different, for me it made my anxiety worst. But, have heard from this forum it helped others, please take notice of the effects, all the best.

JWPMP profile image
JWPMP in reply to DarkEnergy

thank you for that...Yes I was also wondering about side effects. the list looks long

Two guys in my support group use it for hot flashes and love it.

Ok, but it made me miserable, so it depends...

Thankfully, your experience is rare. That's why asking for comments on forums like this is not the way to make decisions. When the drugs are researched they get comments from hundreds or thousands of people. A few, like you have a bad experience, but the vast majority do well with it.

JWPMP profile image
JWPMP in reply to Tall_Allen

excellent point, thank you again.

Why rare? lets see here with user's responses if my adverse response is rare?

Well, we can do better than rely on a few people on this site. They tested Effexor XR in 3,558 people and 2,197 were given a placebo. Only 12% discontinued treatment vs 4% of placebo. The most common reasons for discontinuation (Table 7) were: nausea (4.3%), dizziness (2.2%), insomnia (2.1%). Increased anxiety (your experience) didn't even occur often enough to affect 1% as reasons for discontinuation. If we look at side effect incidence (Table 9), "nervousness" was reported by 7% vs 5% of those taking placebo.

Usually with SSRIs there's an acclimatization period of a few weeks while one's body gets used to the increase in serotonin.

One of the selling points for venlafaxine (according to my psychiatrist buddy) is that in lower doses it acts primarily as an SSRI; in higher doses it also acts as an SNRI; and in still higher doses acts on dopaminergic circuits. It's like 3 drugs in 1!!!

One friend who took it experienced symptoms of serotonin syndrome (agitation) in the first week, but his doctor gave him a short Rx for Ativan and the symptoms disappeared over the next couple of weeks. Now he loves the stuff!

Go figure. After that 4 years of trying different stuff--wound up on a cheap old tricyclic--nortriptyline. Everyone gains weight on SSRIs--I lost weight, until people were asking me if I was ill. Only real side effect of the nortriptyline is constipation (which I deal with). The class also sometimes raises BP, but that hasn't been a problem for me--so far.

It is so individual. My mother tried several before they found one that worked for her. Another friend takes a cocktail - lithium, welbutrin, and effexor - all at very low doses.

As you may know, they are investigating MAO inhibitors for prostate cancer, so the nortriptyline may be doing double duty for you.

True , and I only tried trintillex but it has merit to balance all three neurotransmitters . All have side effects . Pleas nite that weight is imp to choice . Fir example, I am aneorexic and on liquid diet bc of guy issues , so I have had to stop prozac when it killed appetite even more . Sadly it's a trial and error . If he has nerve pain cymbalta might be a try . Do you plan to discontinue .. then look into facts on discontinuation syndrome so all things must be considered and which side effects you can afford . Fir example a lil colase might be worth minor constipation . If overweight , ones that cause more are ok . Choose by the condition of the patient and the reported side effects . Here's a company that can choose a few of the best for ones body but it's truly trial and I'm praying this one does it . Let us know please xoxo GeneSight psycotropic

Gabby643 profile image
Gabby643 in reply to Tall_Allen

HealthUnlocked and posts from Tall Allen and others have helped me with my anxieties. The Great unknown!

Joeym1040 profile image
Joeym1040 in reply to Tall_Allen

Been using it for 8 years for hot flashes and it helps. Withdrawal takes time.

JWPMP profile image
JWPMP in reply to Tall_Allen

thank you.we can read all we want, but experience is very important, appreciate it

Tall_Allen profile image
Tall_Allen in reply to JWPMP

The stats represent the experience of many more people. They are much more useful for decision making. At any rate, stats only tell you the probability that you will experience a side effect if you are like the average person. The only way to know if you indeed experience a side effect is to try it and see.

JWPMP profile image
JWPMP in reply to Tall_Allen

Makes sense. The list of side effects seem worse than the anxiety and hot flashes. And it doesn't say anything about withdrawal symptoms such as happens with sertraline.Jim's Dr here in Modesto prescribed it, but we are running it by his medical oncologist at UCSF before we proceed. In the meantime we were curious about real life experience.

Really appreciate the good sense information you point out.

Tall_Allen profile image
Tall_Allen in reply to JWPMP

Remember that pharmaceutical companies are covering their asses when they list side effects. They are legally required to list all side effects that anyone reported, even if that side effect had nothing to do with taking the drug. And because a side effect is listed, doesn't mean you'll experience that side effect. It shouldn't scare you off if you need the drug. Effexor is safe and has a long history of use.

JWPMP profile image
JWPMP in reply to Tall_Allen

I did not realize that about the reporting of side effects...thank you

Work closely with your doctor about any side effects you experience. As others here note, each person has unique response and there are many other anti-anxiety, etc., meds that can be tried if one isn't successful. Speak from my husband's (& my own) experience.

This is the info from the FDA:

At low dose it could help with anxiety. At higher doses is energizing and help with depression and it make anxirty worse.

JWPMP profile image
JWPMP in reply to tango65

Wow, thank you

tango65 profile image
tango65 in reply to JWPMP

Best of luck!!

I tried it and it did seem to help with the hot flashes but it caused severe tinnitus and I had to stop. Still trying to find something that does not cause my ears to ring severely! Good luck!

Total loss for me, but many others that my dr. prescribed it to think it's great. Doubled my hot flashes and took my eyesight from 20/30 to 20/300 in six weeks.

JWPMP profile image
JWPMP in reply to Shooter1

sorry to hear that Shooter

Alot of info abt it - Anxiety and Depression Support on HU.

I was prescribed this for my hot flashes. It is the first thing that has helped reduce the heat. As a side note, my wife has not called me a d*ck nearly as much as see used to.

JWPMP profile image
JWPMP in reply to GoBucks

Now that's funny

I just started taking it, but more for the off label use of helping my neuropathy and my hot flashes. So far it hasn’t really made a difference yet. It made me a little jumpy the first few days then it seems to be better, but I did have this bone pain in the middle of my left arm that created a problem with using my Left arm. It too has settled down. It can take up to 3 weeks for thisMedication to work as it is intended- to affect ones mood .

I've taken it since 2002 - very helpful. But make certain it is time released capsules.

JWPMP profile image
JWPMP in reply to spinosa

Good to know

This was prescribed for my husband's hot flashes. It did not help with hot flashes but made him even more constipated. I did not notice a difference in his mood while he was on it.

Finally he was prescribed Megestrol for hot flashes and that has helped.

JWPMP profile image
JWPMP in reply to Grumpyswife

Thank you

Shooter1 profile image
Shooter1 in reply to Grumpyswife

Megestrol and Black Cohosh Root together took my hot flashes away completely. However, my wife wouldn.t let me drive long distances any more and my grandson who hates to drive and doesn't even have a license would insist on driving. Seems I used both rumble strips and the whole lane to drive. Didn't bother me any, I didn't notice. Another drug I have had to give up....

As Tall Allen says, don't make a decision based on a few people's experience. It's better to get guidance from the studies involving many people. You can look at average experience, but no individual is truly average. Best to try it and see what happens for you.Anyway, here's my two cents. I took it for hot flashes while on 6 months of Lupron. It helped enough so I could sleep without frequently waking up hot and sweaty. Starting with 75 mg long-acting, I was almost a zombie the next day. So I started with regular pills, not long-acting, 25mg daily, then slowly increased to 3 times daily without a problem. Try not to stop suddenly when you go off them, especially if you've been taking them for a while. I ran out of pills once while on a trip, and I started to hear a small dog yapping almost continuously. Quite annoying to have auditory hallucinations. I imagine other people might have different or more severe withdrawal symptoms.

JWPMP profile image
JWPMP in reply to golfbiker

The withdrawal does worry me a bit. I took sertraline for several years. I told my doctor I was ready to stop. he said why, it's not hurting anything. so I just stopped. big mistake. so I went online and read how to taper off...had no idea. Anyway it worked and after six months I was good. was wondering if this drug was similar and sounds like it.

I take those however for me I am always tired they help but I am on a high dose.But everybody will react differently to any medication so really it’s a case of suck it and see xxxx

Hi JWPMP, there are a lot of meds out there and it is very subjective to the person, dosage, and type of med. This drug appears to have different dosage for depression and anxiety, when I tried it I became more anxious, but this is also not unusual for some SSRI's for first few weeks. Remeron worked pretty well for me and rather quickly, for SSRI's you might try Paxil or Celexa. Also temporary use of clonazepam might help immediately in short term. Good luck

JWPMP profile image
JWPMP in reply to jjpeabody

thank you. his biggest issue is hot flashes but the anxiety needs to be addressed also because it's been so disturbing lately. but I do believe some outside issues are contributing and when things settle down maybe so will the anxiety.

I use it to help control my hot flashes I don’t notice any side effects.

When quitting Venlafaxine you have to taper it very slowly over several weeks. It's infamous for bad effects when stopping suddenly, not the least sexual. . I lost my libido when I quit cold turkey.

JWPMP profile image
JWPMP in reply to Purple-Bike

Libido is history with the Lupron and Abiraterone, that won't be an issue. Thanks for sharing that though, there was a time that would have mattered

I have been using venlafaxine for 8 years to control the hot flashes and sweats . Reduces them by about 90%. Works immediately. My spouse tells me that my attitude has been adjusted, too!

If you ever go off of it you Must taper. I did it once during a failed Lupron holiday. Even tapering resulted in suicidal thoughts and other issues.

Now that I am on Lupron for life venlafaxine and I will continue to be great friends.

JWPMP profile image
JWPMP in reply to tallguy2

Thanks for that ...Jim is probably on Lupron for life also

I've been treated for anxiety and depression for many years; I've had trials of many different antidepressants. The last time I decided I was "cured" and took myself off meds it took me 4 years to get back on track. During that time I had a trial of venlafaxine (Effexor) with lamotrigene (Lamictal)--an anticonvulsant someone got the idea was good when paired with venlafaxine. It didn't work for me, but what hastened my changing was that I developed a bit of a tremor in my hands (and as a dentist I didn't think that was a good idea). What I've read is that a lot of patients get what are described as "electric shocks" or something similar--either going on or getting off the drug.

But responses to antidepressants are very individual, and there's a large amount of trial and error in finding the one that works best for you. Try it and be aware of side effects, and report them to your doc.

Good luck!

Some say Do, some say Don't. I still Don't know if I should Do and I still Don't know if I should Don't. I guess I'll flip a coin..... but I still don't know which side of the coin is the do side and which side is the don't side. Like kissing a woman, is that a do or don't sign?.....Will I end up end up with me saying "I Do" then I'm better off saying "I Don't".

Good Luck, Good Health and Good Humor.

j-o-h-n Sunday 09/19/2021 1:36 PM DST

JWPMP profile image
JWPMP in reply to j-o-h-n


I started taking venlafaxine about 2 years ago to help with my hot flashes. The added benefit of having less anxiety and worry has been great. I will likely continue to take venlafaxine indefinitely.

I use Paxil, but I'm still a nervous wreck. My psych told me to take another half. I'm dealing with motivation issues, loss of interest in all of life actually. I have a therapist, and a psych.It's slowly working for me. Lupron 2 years, zytiga 1.5 years, 5 mg prednisone.

My advice from experience with these meds start at half the lowest dose and see how the body acclimates . Many have good results with that drug . Also a gene profile can help narrow down the best meds for him later on. Prozac is easiest to get off of bc it weans itself . Remeron is similar to the one you mentioned . It's atypical . Remeron is used fir insomnia and appetite and worth asking about . Prozac is the most activating of all the drugs and I have t gotten relief from anxiety . Look at user reviews and quietly write down daily reactions . Again start low esp fir someone never on a psych med. Here is the company name that did my tests and I have tried all that aren't good for me but these not tried yet . My dad is getting very ill and I truly have sunk with the ship the anxiety is incapacitating . I feel for him . Medical marijuana , 5 htp, l theanine , magnesium , over 1200 mg of epas ( fish oil) any or all can help reduce the risk of needing higher doses and may in of themselves help . Start slow and have tummy stuff in house. SSRI work largely on intestines bc there are more receptors in gut do they effect motility .. to fast or slow . Avoid nausea take with food . I've never tried but have tried trintillex which is similar but having IBS I had diahhreah. Others made me flat, some made me high, or shake .. so just start at lowest dose and pay attention while also trying to push that out of the forefront . He's never failed a psych drug bf so one will help him. Particular to anxiety they use among others paxil, Lexapro, pristique, remeron.. usually not prozac. Speak with a psychiatrist not just the Dr when you take notes on is reaction over a week . Sending love and support

GeneSight psycotropic .. bc this is trial and error this will knock out the ones that don't be great for him you can still take the test ( blood ask ref Dr to send in or psych or poss you can get blood spun and send out , but find a Dr that will do. It could save you from some that Are not good .

My blood pressure shot up to 155/90 after taking it for three days…doctor had me take a pause.

JWPMP profile image
JWPMP in reply to bean1008

Wow! Definitely don't need a BP spike...

Hi, first I would like to suggest that your Doctor prescribes this Effexors time release (XR). It takes about 45 days, of being in your system before you feel better. It helps with a window of opprtunity, in your thinking that helps before you react to what ever. It is very effective, when you on the right dosage. Give your self time. I took it for several years. The beauty of this medicine antidepressant is after long term use you brain has been trained. I don't need to take it any more. It is a good medicine, with little side effects, your libido will slow down as well is the only big concern for men.

JWPMP profile image
JWPMP in reply to Lj_now

Thank you.Libido is history so that's not an issue. there was a time it would have been.

Lj_now profile image
Lj_now in reply to JWPMP

Thumps up, you are welcome, I hope it works for you.

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