Citation: Rick. "Anti-Depressant Chronicles: An Experience with Venlafaxine (Effexor XR) & Various (exp64901)". Erowid.org. Oct 18, 2007. erowid.org/exp/64901
Hey guys, I would like to submit this experience report about my experience with the SNRI Effexor XR in order to enlighten others about it’s effects, both therapeutically as an antidepressant and to describe how it interacts with recreational drugs. Effexor XR (and instant release Effexor for that matter), has a notoriety in the antidepressant world for causing a significant amount of horrible side-effects upon its users. Thus, many people recommend not using this antidepressant until all others fail. For me, I requested Effexor from my doc after a failed attempt at using Wellbutrin and Lexapro. I am a 21 year old male who is relatively healthy and in good shape.
I have had low grade chronic depression for many years, and recently in the last year, due to many events which have happened in my life, it had escalated into major depressive disorder. I also have been diagnosed with a good deal of anxiety. I went through therapy for a while, and wanted to stay off antidepressants for as long as possible, trying to work out my problems for myself. I have always heard about horrible side effects and addiction that antidepressants offered thus did not want to try them at first unless all else failed. Essentially, all else failed.
I initially was put on Wellbutrin and within two weeks went off it, as I suffered from every single side effect that was listed for the drug. I then went on the SSRI Lexapro, which I stayed on for a month. While this drug was better than Wellbutrin, I ended up deciding to go off it, as there were quite a few side effects I did not like, mainly the fact that I was yawning throughout the entire day, apathetic towards everything (I felt like I was a zombie), completely lost my libido (at the age of 21), and had significant trouble “getting it up”. I wasn’t depressed, didn’t really have anxiety, but just didn’t care about anything. When getting off the drug for a while, I tried to live life again as I had previously, without medication. I couldn’t handle it. I got severely depressed once again and had horrible anxiety. I thus went back to the doctor and asked for a trial of Effexor, which I knew effected both serotonin and norepinephrine, whereas Lexapro is just serotonin and Wellbutrin is dopamine and norepinephrine.
My dose started off at 37.5 for a week, then 75mg. Within 3 days of 37.5 mg I noticed my mood increasing drastically. My anxiety was ceasing to exist and I was a more sociable person. I started to like this feeling a lot so thus continued to take the drug. When I boosted my dose to 75mg I even got a small speedy euphoria out of the drug. I stayed on 75mg for another month, until my depression symptoms returned. I then upped my dose to 150mg, then tapered up again to 225mg, which I have currently been taking for two months or so. Below I will list the side effects I received at each dose.
-Incredibly Vivid Dreams. Lucid Dreams. Not a bad side effect but can be a bit intense after having these daily.
-Night Sweats. Each night I would wake up covered in sweat.
-Vivid Dreams (not as vivid as with 75mg)
-Night Sweats (just as bad as w/75mg)
-Decreased sexual desire
-Trouble “getting it up”
-First few weeks I got a fairly speedy high till my body got used to new dose
-Vivid Dreams (not as vivid as with 75mg)
-Night Sweats (just as bad as w/75mg, 150mg)
-Decreased sexual desire
-Trouble “getting it up”
-Lethargic feeling for the first week
-Occasional vivid dreams
-Occasional night sweats
-Fairly speedy high for the first few weeks till my body got used to new dose
As can be seen 225mg is has been by far the best dose for me. I believe this is because at around 200mg, the norepinephrine activity is more prevalent. My favorite part about 225mg is all of the sexual side effects were eliminated at this dose. At all doses my depression was eliminated for the most part and anxiety was eliminated as well. The only thing that is a pain in the ass that I occasionally have to deal with are the night sweats, but it is worth it due to the positive effects I get out of this drug. I feel like for the first time in my life I have an actual like and I know what it is like to be a “normal” person, whatever you would like to define that as. So essentially, moral of the story is that there is a right med for everybody with depression. Until you find it, just stay strong. Effexor is supposed to have some of the worst withdrawl symptoms. I have not experienced this yet because I have not missed a single dose. I have been on this drug currently for 6 months.
Recreational Drug Interactions
Before taking anti-depressants, I was very experienced with pretty much every spectrum of the recreational drugs. I have never done heroin or meth, but have touched many drugs very similar (ie, high doses of oxycontin, high doses of insuffilated adderall, cocaine etc). I was most experienced with hallucinogens, marijuana, and pharmies, both uppers and downers. I used most heavily around 2 years before starting taking antidepressants. The following is a list of drugs I have used thus far over the past six months whilst on Effexor.
Effects of alcohol are drastically increased. Blackouts are easier to obtain and heart rate gets drastically elevated. Alcohol makes me feel very depressed while drunk and the next few days. More recently I have been cutting down my drinking and it has been a godsend. Having one-three drinks during a sitting is much better than getting shitfaced every time I drink. I had to take a few week break from drinking while on it due to increased depression. Now when I go out I try not to get drunk, just a bit tipsy. This has been much more fun for me, and I have not been getting depressed while buzzed anymore.
No real difference in effects. At the time of writing this report I have almost completely stopped smoking marijuana and only do so very very occasionally now. When I started taking the med I was smoking twice a week (a few years ago it was 24/7). Ceasing smoking drastically improved depression/anxiety symptoms.
I have tripped twice while on Effexor, both times on LSD. The effects were definitely reduced from taking the drug while not on the med, however, it was definitely possible to get a strong trip with pretty nice OEV and CEV. Surprisingly enough, both times another substance was needed to get the acid to work. The first time I tripped, I was on 75mg of Effexor. I ate a moderate dose of LSD in liquid form (maybe 150ug). An hour and a half later, I wasn’t feeling any effects from the drug. I ate .7g of mushrooms and thirty minutes later, once I started to feel the mild stomach discomfort that mushrooms bring, I was fully immersed in electric candy land. Tho once again, the trip was a bit milder than had I not been taking Effexor.
The second time taking LSD, I ate four “hits” of decent blotter paper (maybe around 300-400ug total LSD). At this point I was on 225mg of Effexor. Nearly two hours later, I was getting sound distortion, jaw clenching, and a definite stimulant effect, yet zero open or closed eye visuals. I decided to have a little bit to drink (had some red wine and a beer). As the effects of the alcohol kicked in, so did the LSD, hard. I began getting incredibly strong visuals, tho once again, not as strong as if I was not on the Effexor. The drug was undoubtedly LSD as well, it was not a RC. The trip was very enjoyable and quite spiritual, yet surprisingly needed the help of alcohol to get started. I would have tried smoking a joint but did not have any on me.
Benzo’s, Ambien, Lunesta
Have taken valium, xanax, klonopin, Ambien, and Lunesta whilst on Effexor. Have taken the Ambien both recreationally and for sleeping purposes. These drugs acted as they would had I not been on the med.
Realized no difference between taking this drug on or off Effexor.
I have only tried this drug twice, once before being on effexor, and once after. I noticed no differences in the effects, yet once again, I am not very experienced with the drug so I may not be the best one to trust with the effects
I insufflated 35mg of oxy (5mg Oxy IR tabs) once (have no tolerance) and received much less euphoria than I should have. The euphoria was definitely still there, but was not as strong as it would have been had I not been on the med.
I knew that this drug is not “supposed” to work while on a SSRI or SNRI so I didn’t waste my time buying pills. However, one night I was a little drunk and a reliable source offered to give me around 60mg of MDMA powder (molly) free of charge. Being slightly intoxicated at the time, I accepted his offer. While I did not roll at all, I did notice a stimulant effect from the drug, and got the “eye twitches” MDMA is known to give. Yet there was no euphoria or no roll.
Works the same on or off Effexor. I love coffee.
I hope this guide is of help to all of those considering using Effexor. It has allowed me to live my life again and has been a wonderful med to alleviate my anxiety and depression.
COPYRIGHTS: All reports are copyright Erowid and you agree not to download or analyze the report data without contacting Erowid Center and receiving permission first.
Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the individual authors who submit them.
Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid Center.