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Tapering Effexor XR and adding 5-htp

Hello everyone. Im new here. :dance:

Im a male, 24, and was on paxil between the age of 18-23. I used paxil @ 40mg /day to combat anxiety and panic attacks. These both came from social situations, or even the thought of being in a social situation. In HS I hardly slept, and was working myself up daily just at the thought of school, or leaving the house. I came to the point at 18, where I felt that I had no control over my own thoughts, and I was going crazy having panic attacks weekly, or more often. So there was paxil, it helped. I later switched to Effexor XR, and have been using 150mg successfully for the past year. Ive had no panic attacks while on effexor and the sexual side effects are tolerable.

I do sweat like a pig though, but im also a decent size bodybuilder (250lbs @ 10% bf) and I eat a lot of calories (very clean food, high protein, mod fat healthy fats, low/trace carbs), but I know sweating is part of the SSRI's. Im a personal trainer so I have the fitness aspects of anxiety down.

But, recently ive found myself without health insurance, and do not want to pay $400 for 3 months of drugs, plus $100 each doc visit now that im out of school and broke :(
So im doing this without a P-doc, as I dont have the money right now.

So, after reading about 5-htp, ive ordered a bottle. Its 100mg by Now, a company ive ordered all of my vitamins from in the past.

I also ordered GABA and RR, just to have some of those on hand as needed. But Id like to come up with a protocol for 5-htp along with an Effexor Taper.

As I mentioned, ive been on 150mg of Effexor XR for more then a year. Last week, I took some pills and divided them into a bunch of 18.17 + 25mg capsules. Right now, im taking less then 75mg a day, with success. This is the best taper method ive ever tried. Some headaches, and general tired feeling, but its not too bad. Today was second time Ive had brain zaps, so its working so far! Usually id be in bed (ive tried other methods of getting off these drugs before).

Basically I take 25mg at 9am, 18.75 (or 25mg) at 4, and 18.75 (or 25) at bed. Sometimes if I miss a dose, like today I slept until noon and woke up feeling all drugged out and pretty much like any other time ive missed a dose. But overall, i've gone from 150 to less then 75 in a week. Actually, ive been doing this dose for a week. So ive been taking 75mg all week.

Now, I couldnt imagine waiting until all of the Effexor is out of my system before jumping on 5-htp. But, im wondering what an effective up-ramp protocol would look like.

Also, should effexor and 5-htp be taken at different times? Im not exactly sure how I would take them seperately, since im dosing effexor 3x a day as it is.

I think my protocol would be as follows starting this w-th or whenever my pills arrive.

time effexor 5-htp
8am 25mg 100mg
4pm 18.75 100mg
11pm 18.15mg 100mg

For the first week, and see how I feel.
Each week id like to taper down the effexor to just a daily dose of 37.5, or off completely. From there I might need to add in GABA or RR, based on how my anxiety is doing.

Any thoughts??


Regular Member
Try to taper off the Effexor before taking the 5htp or they could interact. See how you feel, but try to get it out of your system asap. Effexor is very difficult to withdraw from, but don't give up.

Get yourself a good multvitamin/mineral and drink lots of water. Do a detox if you can - steer clear of sugar and junk food too.

SSRIs are so sucky! They're a nightmare. I stopped my Cipralex due to the terrible side effects and started on 5htp straight away and I felt okay.

Congrats for starting to cut the SSRI - you won't regret it! I'll never touch one again - they're a horrible way to treat depression and doctors should be ashamed of themselves for prescribing them. When I was taking the Cipralex I lost my memory, couldn't drive properly, my hair fell out and my libido bottomed out! Horrible!

The Rhodiola Rosea is fantastic stuff - this will help with your depression too as well as deal with any tiredness. You can take the RR with the Effexor and that should be okay.

If you suffer from anxiety try cutting ALL caffeine (even in tea).
Well, im already down to 25mg a day. And my anxiety hasnt come back yet too bad...which is very interesting to me. When I was on Paxil I tried to go from 40mg - 20mg...and boom, panic attacks and anxiety again. I have noticed a slight bit of anxiety, but no panic attacks yet.

So my effective taper method was going from 150mg a day to 25mg 3x a day. No withdrawal symptoms and I stayed at that dose for 2 weeks.

Now im doing 12.5mg (roughly) at 8am and noon. I have to take a second dose at noon because thats when I start getting zaps.
By 6 the zaps stop, and I dont feel any symptoms until the morning. Maybe I need to take it every 12 hours instead, its just weird how I had to start doing it this way...So tonight at 8 ill take 12.5mg and then again at 8am tomorrow, and see how that works out...

Ive already added 100mg 5-htp at 8am,4pm,12am but its not helping the zaps. I actually feel a little more anxious, and kinda more drugged. But I think that has to do more with withdrawal symptoms then anything.

I havent tried RR yet, Im thinking about discontinuing 5-htp and adding RR.

Its amazing though that I went from 150mg to 75mg in a day with no symptoms. Interesting how taking it 3x a day in smaller doses works so much better then what my P-Doc had recommended in the past. Maybe they should read some of these forums.

Once my new effexor arrives, im not sure how im going to do things. Id like to get off the meds. If I could get away with 15mg 2x a day I might just try that though...and if RR works for anxiety, then obviously that would be my choice...


Regular Member
I used to get terrible zaps when I was coming off Paroxetine! A lot of nausea as well.

I eventually tapered off completely by asking the doc to prescribe it in syrup form and I used syringe to measure the doses out.

Are you just getting zaps, or are there more uncomfortable feelings?
echelon;4830 said:
I used to get terrible zaps when I was coming off Paroxetine! A lot of nausea as well.

I eventually tapered off completely by asking the doc to prescribe it in syrup form and I used syringe to measure the doses out.

Are you just getting zaps, or are there more uncomfortable feelings?
Well, im down now to between 25-30mg of effexor a day. I've pretty much figured out the timing so I dont get the zaps. Yesterday I did have more normal anxiety then I have had in a long time, but I took 2-3mg of Remeron and it went away. Obviously 2-3mg is just an estimate, I literally licked the inside of the pill. Unfortunately with Remeron though, it puts me in such a deep state of relaxation that its hard to do anything else. But I only take it a few times a month, and it works.

Today though, not nearly as much anxiety as yesterday, and it should have been more as I had a job interview and taught a group exercise class. I took 1g of GABA with 200mg 5-htp last night, and 1000mg Rhodiola and 1g GABA this morning. Obviously still on Effexor, but only a 1/5 of what I was taking before.


Zaps are the first thing I notice when I miss a pill or start going through withdrawals. Then nausea, headache, tiredness (ie lay on the floor and cant move type), anxiety, depression, etc...the zaps start off as an annoyance, but eventually it gets to the point where its the only thing I can concentrate on and literally every time I move my eyes I get zapped. Im sure you can relate.

I think im a little stuck with the direction I want to go right now. I know Im going to be getting my supply of effexor back, and may still take it, but at 1/3 of the dose. I think I can be anxiety free at 50mg a day, and add in some Rhodiola and GABA for energy. Effexor tends to make me very tired, but ive noticed the less I take, the more energy I seem to have.

If I could find the right combination of 5-htp, GABA, Rhodiola though, and take even less effexor, then that would be the way id like to go. Im wondering if I even need 5-htp though...as I think it might be sedating.


Regular Member
I don't find 5htp too sedating. I take 50mg each night before I go to sleep then 50mg each morning in the run up to my period (I take it to help with the pms). If I do get sleepy I just take an extra Rhodiola.

I really feel for you being on the Effexor. Are you planning to come off it altogether? It can be done you know!

take a look at www.crazymeds.org for some info. on Effexor and how to withdraw.

I feel so much better now that I'm off the prescribed stuff.
Down to about 12.5mgs a day, split over two doses.

Not feeling as good as I would like, getting the shocks, nausea, kinda sick feeling from time to time, but its not as bad as it was when I tried to come off paxil, and only made it to 20mg before going back to 40mg because it got so bad.

So far, I only feel a little bit of anxiety, which I cant understand. I guess it could be the 5-htp/rhodiola/GABA working, but im not sure. I think GABA/Rhodiola might be working the best out of the 3.