Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Brain shivers, also known as "the electric brain thing", "Effexor shocks" or "brain spasms", is a notorious but rare withdrawal symptom of the antidepressant venlafaxine (Effexor). The symptom remains rather controversial—Wyeth's original pamphlet for venlafaxine made no mention of it, and many medical professionals are still unaware of the possible occurrence.
Nonetheless, "brain shivers" have been reported by many former users of the drug. Crazymeds.org suggest they defy description for any who haven't experienced them, but the most common themes are of an sudden pain similiar to an electric shock, apparently occurring in the brain itself, with associated disorientation for a few seconds. As withdrawal time increases, so does the frequency of the shocks, before they begin to taper off again. At their peak "brain shivers" can cause severe headaches.
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