Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Son of Return of Satan's Tic-Tacs

So I've started the newest dip in my Effexor dose. Effexor, for those of you who haven't played along until now, is now nicknamed "Satan's Tic-Tacs." They are pills that will fix you, and then when you try to get off them it's as bad as coming off smack....

...or so I've heard. I've never used smack, so I don't have firsthand knowledge, but I know people in low places who assure me they'd rather quit smack and smoking in the same week than stop Effexor cold.

The manufacturers of Effexor weren't being terribly forthcoming in telling people about this nasty side effect (though they do have some info up on the FDA website [pp8 &9]) . I can understand why they might not want to trumpet news of the withdrawal heebie-jeebies on Good Morning America, but the company should at least tell doctors that this can get pretty sucky, so they can in turn tell their patients that the symptoms they have while reducing Effexor is not proof of returned craziness. What kinds of symptoms do I mean? Oh, let's see:
  • dysphoric mood,
  • irritability,
  • agitation,
  • dizziness,
  • sensory disturbances [note: these include "brain shocks" described by a LOT of people coming off Effexor]
  • anxiety,
  • confusion,
  • headache,
  • lethargy,
  • emotional lability,
  • insomnia,
  • hypomania,
  • tinnitus, and
  • seizures
They forgot nausea, vomiting, and what one Effexorite refers to as "the explosive shits." Oh, and my favorite, myoclonic jerks -- those weird, sudden full-body jerks as you are in early stages of sleep. Oh, and I have a hell of a startle reflex, and I'm grinding my teeth like mad again.

They also forgot a very rare side effect that Wyeth refers to as "withdrawal syndrome." IOW, the patient, once on Effexor, cannot stop taking the drug. They're hooked for life. That's scary.

My drop from 300 mg to 225 mg was pretty spectacular. I had all of the side effects except seizures, and even that's possible since I was sleeping 20 hours out of the day. The drop from 225 to 150 slightly less interesting. The drop from 150 to 75 mg is shaping up to be middling. Since dropping my dose, I'd been a champion sleeper up to tonight...when I can't get to sleep. Luckily, I'm not employed, so I can just kind of ride along with whatever Effexor is doing.

On the plus side, I have had a few vivid dreams, one of which involved snogging someone cool. The vivid dreams side effect is a pretty good one, as these things go.

So that's medical life in Heatherland. I'm having a nice drink to see if it helps me get some zzzz's. If the Effexor withdrawal weirdness does get too bad, I may call the doc and ask for 10 mg Prozac to help; it's the newest thing to help people coming off Effexor. Prozac is a cinch to discontinue, so it may be an option if I need it.

Things are good here, all things considered. I'm coming off Satan's Tic-Tacs, slowly but surely. I have a neato vehicle with a sunroof, and it's the perfect time of year to drive around with your windows and sunroof open. Things should work themselves out okay.

But I'm still pissed off at Wyeth! Fuckers!

No comments:

Post a Comment