Venlafaxine just passing through... has anyone else had this happen?

I have been led to believe that anti-depressant taking is not unusual for people with Fibromyalgia hence my posting this here. I had a very bad night after a discovery that has left me rather shocked. I have been on anti-depressants for about14 years. I’ve tried different drugs but the only one that seemed to lift my mood and also not give me much in the way of side-effects was Venlafaxine. Gradually I’ve gone downhill mood-wise until I feel nothing. My health just gets worse each year with new problems always cropping up and so it could be attributed to that. I can act happy, laugh at some things (although not much) and make jokes - but it doesn’t really touch me. I’m on 300mg. I take two 150mg generic tablets just after my breakfast in the morning. They aren’t extended release capsules; they are the cheapest ones available. Last night I was horrified to notice that one of the tablets had clearly gone through my digestive system completely whole. Now it was a fluke that I noticed, good peripheral vision – sorry to have to mention it but it is very relevant. I don’t know how long this has been happening, if either pill is going through undigested and then in that case if they are providing any help at all. Maybe this is me without the drugs really? Or not as much of the drug as I thought. I had a look on the internet and there are several incidences of people complaining about the same thing. Not that they had any answers bar cutting the pills up so that they would be digested. My point is; if they aren’t being digested surely I could come off them? Then amongst the research last night I found ‘The Way Back’ programme. Has anyone heard of it? I downloaded the free eBook and of course all the symptoms of Fibromyalgia are listed as caused by anti-depressants! True or not I have no idea. My head feels overloaded! Coming off anti-depressants is horrible and, apparently, really bad if it’s Venlafaxine. The people responsible for devising 'The Way Back' offer supplements that are supposed to remove the symptoms of withdrawal but to get all the recommended pills would cost around £150.00. Is it a scam? I just simply don’t have that kind of money. I will see one of the uninterested GPs available to me but I needed to raise it with some people who might know more. Sorry for such a long post. I find it impossible to be brief! Thanks for reading if you made it this far! Deb

33 Replies

  • Hi Disasterdeb,

    I think a lot of fibromites use antidepressants as pain blocking tools and to this end they are brilliant. Like many things as your body becomes used to it you may no longer be as aware of its success as you were. The digestion of our tablets as far as I am aware is not a problem.

    I have not heard of "The Way Back" programme with relation to Fibro. The money they are asking for seems rather excessive are they an English company or is it indeed as you ask a scam. I am sure should you wish to come off our medicines your Doctor will be there to help you! So Debs please proceed with caution xgins

  • Hi Gins - thanks for such a prompt response. I was prescribed Amitriptyline for the pain and so know what you mean. The Venlafaxine started off simply (huh) for the depression. This proceeded Fibro by a fair number of years. I can't remember exactly when depression started but probably about 6-8 years before Fibro. The Way Back is from across the pond and has been going since 1999 (if I remember correctly) but has European distributors of their supplements. I do have stomach problems and that probably won't help the pills. Although no-one on the forums I was lurking around last night mentioned stomach problems being an issue with their non-digestion of Venlafaxine. I definitely won't do anything without getting a GP on board, though, but appreciate the caution. Many thanks. Deb x

  • be careful of any new things, always check with your gp. my friend has ibs and bought an ibs food plan book. it gives recipes that involve some foods on her "banned" list from the hospital. yet it was sold on amazon.

    please don't stop or cut down your med's without talking to the gp.

    please keep in touch Deb.

    h :)

  • Aw, thanks Hamble99b. I will keep in touch. Yes, GP will be thoroughly consulted and let's hope that they are more interested than they sometimes are. One GP can be very grumpy at times and does take it out on his patients. Sometimes he can be very nice as well though. I do mean to change practices at some point but fatigue is an awful preventative! Hope your friend was okay in the end. Thanks.

  • Just read your post and would agree with gins. I don't think it is advisable to come off your tablets without consulting your doctor. I hope you can get things sorted, my best wishes go to you x

  • Hi - thanks for responding. Don't worry, I promise a GP will duly be consulted and I don't plan to stop taking the pills without their involvement. Looking back at my original comment I only mention seeing my GP briefly at the end of my long waffle and I don't think I made it sound important enough. Sorry folks. I just really wonder how much I actually ingest! Just thought - I do get withdrawal symptoms on the rare occasions I have forgotten or not been able to take them so they are doing something. Many thanks. Deb x

  • Gps seem to be a law unto themselves sometimes. Really hope you get it resolved, strange its not being digested. Swap stomachs for a day or two with you :) I am killed with acid sometimes, maybe you don't have enough hehe

  • You really wouldn't want my stomach. Have GERD or GORD or whatever acronym is preferred and a Hiatus Hernia which means my stomach lives 50% of the time in my chest cavity and prevents me breathing properly!! Normally acid is my problem too. On Lansoprozole and do take at a totally different time of day but just wondering if that is part of the problem. Agree about the GPs!! :-)

  • OK, changed my mind :p I'm on lansoprazole which works thankfully, otherwise I get a horrible lump in my throat and end up choking :) gives my hubby a good laugh, good to be useful for something :)

  • Dare I ask if your GP prescribed any of this?

    If they're not being digested, then why? The coating is supposed to be soluble and should not stay whole for the entire transit time.

  • Yes, don't worry, GP prescribed the Venlafaxine - but never hurts to check! I'm not taking anything that they haven't prescribed and I won't do anything without their involvement (I mention that as I don't think I made that clear enough in my first post). I can't afford 'The Way Back' even if genuine but always wary of scams!! The coating is supposed to be soluble but it clearly isn't getting broken down in my system and this is happening for some other people I found on the internet. Generally I shouldn't imagine many people would know if they digest them or not - I've been taken them for years and have no idea if this is new or not. Such a fluke that it was obvious! Mind you If not digesting them is new or occasional shouldn't I get some symptoms of withdrawal? Yesterday, say, or at other times? It's so strange! Thanks for your input. Deb x

  • In your reply to Britebreezy:

    Do talk to GP then. There may well be versions of this that will break down differently and I suppose there may be an underlying cause why it's not happening. Your report that it happens to others is comforting as it suggests there's nothing wrong with you in that area. If you're getting no benefit of the medication there's no point taking it.

    It was lucky you spotted it. :)

  • Please, please don't try coming off any anti-depressants without medical advice. I tried stopping once because I felt better and was very ill. And please don't spend out money on what may be a scam. It is possible to wean yourself off Venlafaxine. I was fortunate that there was a local drugs counselling service who supported me. But I was literally scraping off one piece at a time to start with and then more each week. It will take time and patience but it can be done.

    Big hugs xxxx

  • There's another danger of coming off something because you feel well.

    You feel well because you're on it. Beware of mistaking this feeling for a "cure", and seek GP's advice first. A lot of medicines must be tapered off without going "Cold Turkey".

    How long have been in the UK? We do things differently here. I'd normally say please don't hesitate to ask for help or advice, but you've already done that. :)

  • HI fenbadger - lovely pic. Fond of badgers. Totally agree with your comments although I don't feel cured - sadly. Numb or empty would be the best descriptions. But then if I'm not ingesting all the drugs properly who knows what impact they are having, or not...! Or if it's always not digested or happens only at certain times. I have always lived in the UK but realise I may have confused the matter by talking about The Way Back from being across the pond. I'm not - only came across this 'programme' via the good old internet after noticing my shock discovery late last night! As you say it was comforting that others have had the same thing happen. Makes me wonder about the quality of the drug! The eBook talks about tapering off using supplements that supposedly eases all the symptoms - brain zaps, dizziness, fatigue et al. Who knows if true or not? At over £100 I won't be finding out any time soon! I will be seeing my GP as soon as I can. Haven't even told hubby about this yet - he had to rush off early to work this morning (and I am appalling first thing in the morning) and it certainly wasn't something to wake him up for last night. Thanks for your thoughts. Deb x

  • Me too. I picked it because badgers don't live in fens, you can't dig a sett there. So it's a contradiction in terms, like me.

    That's ok. I misread the original question.

    We're not trained medics, or at least I'm not, but there's a wealth of similar experiences on here and lots of caring and good support - and nearly always someone awake :)

  • The awake bit is very true - noticed that straight away. Wretched sleep loss. I didn't know that about badgers though... Interesting. I've worked for a number of medical charities so know a fair bit about certain conditions, such as arthritis, but the rest is certainly a learn as you go! Cheers. Dx

  • Likewise. I learned much more on here than my GP has time to tell me and bless him he does not have personal experience. Yet he's one of the better ones. :)

  • Thanks Panda. I promise I'll be involving my GP and only doing things if I'm sure that it is the best thing. I did come off other anti-depressants with the GPs help before although it wasn't ultimately successful as the depression returned with a vengeance. It wasn't easy although as I said I have heard that Venlafaxine is meant to be one of the tough ones. It's good to hear that you got through it though! Well done, seriously. As the drugs are prescribed I hadn't considered a drugs counselling service. I shall see what the GP has to say next week. Or when I can get in..... Many thanks for the hugs. Deb x

  • Dear DizasterDeb,

    You sound very confused at the moment which sounds like it is causing you stress. Firstly may I say that I do not understand what gave you the impression Anti -Depressants are not recommended for Fibro (Was it a comment from a member)

    We have got a disclaimer that states the following Content on HealthUnlocked does not replace the relationship between you and doctors or other healthcare professionals nor the advice you receive from them

    May I also say Anti -Depressants are recommended for Fibro, please see the information from our FibroAction website link below;

    Can I further reassure you that we have the Information Standard Certificate the same as the NHS do , you can find us on their website using search organisations link below;

    The Information Standard is a certification programme for all organisations producing evidence-based health and care information for the public. Any organisation achieving The Information Standard has undergone a rigorous assessment to check that the information they produce is clear, accurate, balanced, evidence-based and up-to-date

    Venlaflaxine is a SNRI which is explained in our recommended Neurotransmitter medications for Fibro (see first link). Here's some information about Venlafaxine from who also hold the Information Standard Certifcate;

    You should not stop taking medications abruptly and should always consult your GP due to the possibility of withdrawal symptoms. If discussed with your GP and it is decided you will stop them he/she will advise how to wean off them slowly.

    I have not heard of a medication passing through anyone (may need to consider consulting your GP about this) but can provide you with information about crushing pills and the Do's & Don't with taking medication, please see both links;

    It is my understanding that you get ask your GP for liquid form of Venlafaxine if you think this will help,

    In your answer to the 'The Way Back’ programme, it does not sound like a valid source of information from the information you've given us and I've not heard or seen anything about it. The fact that it is asking for a large sum of money rings alarm bells with me, Could you please private message me the internet link as I would like to look at this in more detail.

    I would personally consider speaking with your GP about the liquid form & always look for information carrying certificates like the Information Standard etc.

    I do hope this has helped you and I would consider looking at our website to read the 'All about Fibro' range of factsheets which you can download & print for reference;

    If you are experiencing pain and feel your GP & the medication prescribed are not helping please ask him/her for a pain clinic referral, here's some info

    Best Wishes

    Emma :)

    FibroAction Administrator

  • Oh. Okay... I really must be writing particularly ineloquently today. Very sorry. As someone who undertook copy writing in some jobs in the past I have to say that's not remotely cheering.

    I think now I might have over explained some things and not enough about others. I have also written a similar post on a forum which is specifically about depression to see if anyone there has any relevant experience.

    I never said at all or meant to give the impression that antidepressants don't help fibro. As I am on a different anti-depressant for just that reason it wouldn't occur to me to even think it. I said at the start that I had heard that people with Fibro are often on anti-depressants to explain why I posted about my anti-depressant issue on this forum in particular. Clearly the explanation sucked. Again my apologies.

    I was prescribed Amitriptyline to help with pain from fibro and what I did say was that the Venlafaxine I take was prescribed for depression only at that time. The prescription in this instance predated my fibro by a number of years. That is not meant to be any kind of comment of Venlafaxine's use as a drug for fibro - it's an explanation about my own circumstances.

    I wanted to find out if anyone else had ever discovered that they didn't digest venlafaxine or if anyone had heard of The Way Back and knew if it was a scam or not. I have had some great responses. However, I did say at the end of my original post, but clearly not obviously enough, that I will be seeing my GP. I really didn't feel stressed. I don't really feel confused either - I feel more thrown of balance by this discovery. What is causing that feeling is purely the fact that I can no longer rely, with any degree of confidence, on what amount of Venlafaxine is in my system or not. If not much is going in I'm not sure I want to start taking it in another form - it feels counter-intuitive but as I said I will be seeing my GP.

    The people responsible for The Way Back are suggesting a number of supplements and the number than adds up to that sort of sum. I think they are extremely expensive for what they are. Just to be clear though, or make an attempt at being clear as clearly I'm not, it isn't a lump sum that they charge. Not that this precludes it being a scam. I shall privately message you the link though as you suggest.

    Thank you.


  • Hello Dizasterdeb,

    Please do not be despondent by my message, all information is always given to be as helpful as possible. We as volunteers try to provide you with the information you need so you are fully informed all about Fibro.

    Anyone of the volunteer team well in fact the majority of this community will support all members as best they can. It often happens with many people on forums and especially here due to the nature of our Fibro, Fibro Fog and general misinterpretation of the written word is so easy to misread things. It seems I have done just that.

    I have re-read the first sentence and please accept my apologies I misread it as I have been led to believe that anti-depressant taking is unusual for people with Fibromyalgia hence my posting this here -my mistake I'm sorry

    The majority of members here and comments made are done so because we genuinely care, hence I took the time to find the site called 'The way back' for no other reason than to help

    I am sorry you have felt the way you have from my messages but I can assure you all comments I give to the community are done so to help others and as professionally as I possibly can within my voluntary role as FibroAction Administrator.

    Again apologies for my messages if you found them direct for instance, we as volunteers all have different styles which means we have varied qualities we bring to the team. Members have reported this FibroAction community to be both informative & supportive and a good place to come to ask advice.

    I hope you find this to be the case too

    Best Wishes

    Emma :)

    FibroAction Administrator

  • Hello Dizasterdeb,

    I've found the link to the ebook and medications claiming to help you to come off Anti-depressant medications more easily (i wondered why I had not heard of it)

    The website was started last year with the following disclaimer;

    The claims, information and products mentioned through this site or within the book, How to Get Off Psychoactive Drugs Safely 2012 Edition have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration and are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information provided on this site or within the book, How to Get Off Psychoactive Drugs Safely 2012 Edition is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem

    I have since found two or more forum posts saying 'Tried it and t is a scam,that the medications can be bought at Walmart (the USA version of Tesco) for a quarter of the price!' Obviously it is not for me to say but thought I should advise you of the information I have read. Please be sure you find out as much information as possible before parting with your money as once you've paid if a scam it is almost impossible to get your money back with a fight using Trading Standards & other organisations

    The internet can be a great place for education & research but unfortunately can also be used to advertise money making scams really easily due to the fact that it is so easy for anyone to make websites using templates & buy very cheap domain names now for under £2 on some occasions

    Please let us know how you get on if & when you visit your GP

    Best Wishes

    Emma :)

    FibroAction Administrator

  • Thanks for the info, much appreciated. Although I must admit I do feel a wee bit frustrated as somehow I've not managed to get across the fact that I was actually asking because I was suspicious. I didn't plan on making any purchases (too hard up even if I wanted to). I did say 'is it a scam?'. I just thought someone may already know about it here. By the time I finished finding out more about other people not digesting Venlafaxine it was around 5am and I actually was feeling sleepy.

    Still, least we now do know about it and can just dismiss it.

    Thanks again.


  • Hello Dizasterdeb,

    I must assure you, that we all realised that you were asking because you thought it sounded suspicious. I clearly saw the words'Is it a scam?' so I went investigating for you and for other members too, as I am FibroAction Administrator I like to know about as much information as possible in case I get emails about the same issue or other posts appear in a few months.

    I am again sorry you felt despondent by anything I've written, it truly was not meant in any other way but to advise you and all members reading this post.

    I hope you can accept my apology as I never meant to upset you in any way.

    Best Wishes

    Emma :)

    FibroAction Administrator

  • No, no! Please. I'M sorry - I've really been appallingly incoherent. Grovels (mentally - knees couldn't do the real thing). I also do have a habit of writing in a self-denigrating style which doesn't always work in my favour! Slaps own forehead. Lack of sleep directly affects that part of the brain so that's my excuse.

    I do genuinely mean thank you for the information. I did feel a bit 'misunderstood' but I was mainly blaming myself not you. Although I can see why it came across that way. Looking back I went into over formal mode inadvertently while aiming for more clarity! Idiot me. Really sorry. I did feel frustrated but I'm usually clear in what I'm writing although I suppose the frustration was evident. When you go from writing as part of your job to being rubbish at explaining yourself on a forum it does make you feel a bit rubbish - but that's not been caused by you. Oh dear - think I came across as a teenager having a 'misunderstood' moment. I shall just have to get over myself - ironic use of possibly ancient teenage slang. I'm just too old to know any current slang. It wasn't helped by a town crier - what is a town crier doing in my village? - bellowing his head off in the close shouting about the local shop being reopened (the excitement). That in itself was not the problem but he set off my two very loud terriers (who hate each other) and I was typing while shouting 'shut up' 101 times. Lets just put it down to my lack of sleep, my noisy dogs and neither of us worry.



  • Hello DizasterDeb,

    Please do not worry about it, let's not say anymore about it. I've forgotten it already :) As long as you get the advice you need and the help you need next week. Living with Fibro is a challenge to us all but we have each other to make is just that little bit easier :)

    Please do keep us updated

    Emma :)

    FibroAction Administrator

  • is it a scam? in a word yes. my friends and i have been through loads of these. the lightning program and the other things that give us great hope only to come off everything and while the euphoria continues everything goes ok then real life kicks in and with out the help of those drugs we know take 3 to 4 months to start working again. they all have the same intention ... to part the desperate from our money and let them get rich quick. if a med worked the the great british NHS would be giving it away on prescription. i am sure they would rather i had a bunch of supplements than the two anti depressants and the three sorts of pain killers and the stomach lining meds to help with the stomach putting up with those tablets. .

  • Hi,

    I to am on Venlafaxine, I have never had it no absorb and really think it is a fantastic drug. A brilliant anti depressant and is supposed to be a good very good drug for fibro. I have heard it is hell coming off the, but if you do it with your GP it should not be too bad.

    Good Luck with finding more info on how it can help.

    Gentle hugs,


  • I would contact my doctor. Please don't cut or crush the pills if they are time released. It could hurt or kill you. Something is wrong with the pills. It wouldn't hurt to call the pharmacist too. Best of luck!!!

  • Another drug that nearly killed me a few years ago I had to go to hospital , I was put on a drip for a week , it really messed me up , don't take it , I was severely dehydrated through constant diareeah(can never spell that word!)

  • I found my Venlafaxine in the potty after having a movement too. Mine were extended release though. I am going to talk to my doctor about it this week. I have to take them consistently or I get really sick(nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weird brain shocks,ect...). This concerns me too. Let me know what your doc says and I'll do the same.

    Good luck!


  • I have the exact same problem with my Effexor. I too am on 300mg a day and I take the white/yellow round pill slightly soft. I have severe constipation and am currently being evaluated for IBS. Anywho, I did notice the pills and a few weeks ago. I have an appointment with my Primary Care Physician soon but in the meantime I am continuing my medicine. This is because when I did try to stop about half way through the first day I immediately went into withdrawal. Brain zapps, dizzy, confused and overly emotional. So I recommend staying on until you can be weaned off by your doctor.

    I hope everything gets better for you!!


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