This petition is calling for an immediate world-wide ban on Effexor, a relatively new but widely prescribed antidepressant manufactured by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. It is our belief that Effexors side effects and withdrawal syndrome are often misdiagnosed because they are not well known or well understood. As Wyeth has been forced in recent years to acknowledge the dangers associated with Effexor use, the US Congress and FDA have relied on doctors to bring the updated information to the public. This strategy has failed miserably. Too few doctors are taking the time to read Effexor's 47 page drug label before prescribing it. Negligent doctors could face charges of malpractice for failing to diagnose Effexors many serious side effects and neglecting to warn patients of the severe withdrawal symptoms that can occur when discontinuation of the drug is attempted. This is a public health disaster. Wyeth has for years deliberately suppressed negative findings. A patient prescribed Effexor ten years ago was told that the drug was benign with no chance of addiction, yet case studies reporting severe withdrawal syndrome date back to at least 1995. Wyeth was only recently forced to address Effexor withdrawal in its label, and the language they use is confusing and subtly misleading. While Wyeth is quibbling with the FDA over definitions of "addiction," thousands of Effexor users are discovering the truth for themselves, the hard way. Many of them have found that stopping Effexor is the the hardest thing they have ever attempted. Many are failing in their repeated attempts because of the shockingly severe and debilitating symptoms which can appear with the slightest dose reduction. Some of these symptoms, like constant crying, are often confused with relapse. Others are easily recognized if you know what to look for: electric shock sensations, full body seizures, an odd swooshing sound whenever the head or eyes move--the symptoms of EDS are too numerous to mention here.

Babies are being born addicted to Effexor. Their mothers may have been warned of the risks, they may have tried desperately to stop, but whenever they reduced their dosage even slightly, they became so sick they couldn't function. Some people can't afford the luxury of not functioning. These women are not to blame for their suffering. They were addicted by prescription with FDA approval. Does the horror of crack babies outrage you? This is worse. These women are not street criminals looking to get high. They took Effexor because their doctors recommended it and they trusted the FDA to protect them.

Effexor discontinuation syndrome (EDS), is different from the withdrawal associated with heroin, alcohol, and barbiturates. A heroin addict can go cold turkey, suffer horrible sickness for about a week, and be free--and it's the same for everyone. Effexor withdrawal is individual. One person may experience minor symptoms, while another may feel like he's been condemned to hell. According to Wyeth, for most people, these symptoms are "self-limiting"--they will go away eventually. For some, the symptoms are "serious." What do they mean by "serious" in this context? If serious symptoms are not self-limiting, does that mean they can be permanent? There are reports of adverse neurological events (PANES) persisting long after effexor discontinuation. Some doctors think these PANES may indicate permanent brain damage. Shall we just wait and see if their speculations prove true?

We have no controlled studies of EDS, but anecdotal evidence suggests that withdrawing from Effexor is more difficult than withdrawing from any other antidepressant. Simply missing a single dose by a few hours can bring on marked withdrawal symptoms including nausea, vomiting, tremor, dizziness, and vertigo, to name a few. Scientists attribute the rapid onset and severity of Effexors withdrawal syndrome to the drug's unusually short half life, only 5 hours, the shortest of all antidepressants. Some doctors believe they can manage Effexor withdrawal by reducing the dose gradually over time. Some doctors claim to wean patients off Effexor using Prozac or St Johns Wort. The validity of these claims has not been proven by scientific studies. The only sure way to cure Effexor discontinuation syndrome is to continue taking the Effexor. But what if you cant afford the $300/month? Wyeth offers you financial aid. (How generous!) But what if you really need to stop because you are suffering from serious side effects? And what if, whenever you try to reduce your dose, you suffer a long list of debilitating withdrawal symptoms in addition to the side effects? Many face this terrible dilemma every day. Is it any wonder that some embrace suicide as their only escape from the endless suffering?

Women who find themselves unexpectedly addicted to Effexor during pregnancy are faced with a similar dilemma. These poor women don't want to harm their babies, but they are unable to stop taking this drug because of the horrible withdrawal. These women must stand by helplessly as they watch their newborns suffer. Wyeth's depiction of these poor addicted babies is heart-breaking. "Immediately upon delivery, Wyeth writes, these babies develop complications requiring prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding. Their symptoms include respiratory distress, cyanosis [a bluish tinge to the skin and mucous membranes], apnea, seizures, temperature instability, feeding difficulty, vomiting, hypoglycemia, hypotonia [lack of muscle tone, floppy], hypertonia [muscle tension, spasticity, stiffness], hyperreflexia [high blood pressure, slow pulse, fever, flushing, bladder or bowel dysfunction, headache, profuse sweating, anxiety, nasal congestion, muscle spasms], tremor, jitteriness, irritability, and constant crying. These babies had no choice, no informed consent. They are Effexor's youngest and most helpless victims. They have no words with which to name their suffering, only their ceaseless cries. We hear their crying, and we want it to stop.

It's time for this great catastrophic experiment to end. We are witnesses to a crime against humanity. It's too late for more studies and discussions. We know enough. This drug must be banned. Some may oppose our petition claiming to have experienced great benefits from Effexor. These people may be misinformed and deluded. What benefit can possibly outweigh the suffering of those addicted mothers and their poor addicted babies, the suffering of those whose lives have been completely disrupted by months of debilitating sickness, those who have lost their jobs, those who may be facing permanent disability with no means of support, and those who have lost their dear loved ones to suicide? We need no more Effexor victims. Too many lives have already been irreparably damaged, and for what? The profits of a few? We call upon the US Congress and the nations of the world to wake up to the dangers of this drug and ban Effexor now.

Sign The Petition


If you already have an account please sign in, otherwise register an account for free then sign the petition filling the fields below.
Email and the password will be your account data, you will be able to sign other petitions after logging in.

Privacy in the search engines? You can use a nickname:

Attention, the email address you supply must be valid in order to validate the signature, otherwise it will be deleted.

I confirm registration and I agree to Usage and Limitations of Services

I confirm that I have read the Privacy Policy

I agree to the Personal Data Processing


Who signed this petition saw these petitions too:

Sign The Petition


If you already have an account please sign in


I confirm registration and I agree to Usage and Limitations of Services

I confirm that I have read the Privacy Policy

I agree to the Personal Data Processing

2 / 50

Latest Signatures

George RobertsBy:
People and OrganizationsIn:
Petition target:
The World


No tags


Invite friends from your address book

Embed Codes

direct link

link for html

link for forum without title

link for forum with title