Getting Off the Drugs

Last week I was in my cruise ship stateroom unpacking my toiletries on the first night of vacation when I realized I had left my Effexor XR bottle at home. My loving friend kept me calm when I wanted to throw a tantrum, a tantrum that would surely lead to (yep!) a migraine attack. I contemplated not telling my parents about the forgotten medicine, the medicine that's marked with warning after warning about how it's dangerous to miss doses and (god forbid!) stop cold turkey.

A desperate call to my neurologist

I splurged and called my neurologist, wanting to leave a message for the doctor about needing a new prescription faxed in. Unfortunately, you can't leave a message unless you have an emergency. Great.

A call that resulted in...nothing

The next day I talked with a nurse, who scolded me and half-yelled into my pained and migrainous ear that I was late with my appointment and shouldn't be skipping doses of meds and blah blah blah. I refrained from becoming overly defensive and politely relayed the faxing information and fax machine number on the ship. It was Monday; the fax was to come in that afternoon, and I could take the paperwork to a pharmacy the next time we were on land on Wednesday.

The fax never came.

I was forced to go cold turkey

The only time I could have called the neurologist again was when I'd get the answering machine that doesn't accept incoming messages.

I had been off Effexor for eight days. The withdrawal wasn't too odd at first, but in the last couple of days, I had a pounding heart (Ha - thank god for that! What I mean was, my heart is pounding a little more dramatically than usual.) and a not-quite-with-it by way of walking, talking, and attempting to focus.

Re-evaluating my migraine treatment plan

What is really comforting is knowing that my doctor will scold me and think me foolish for going off this seriously strong medication.

Okay, I'm being negative and sarcastic.

What IS really comforting (and I don't kid) is knowing that I have garnered the courage to tell the doctor that I want to wean myself off some of the meds and see what can be done with fewer drugs (and fewer dollars). Wish me luck.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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