Brand Name: Effexor, Effexor XR
Generic Name: (venlafaxine)
What is Effexor used for? Effexor is in a class of drugs called serotonin
norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI). Effexor is an antidepressant
medication used to relieve symptoms of depression, generalized anxiety disorder
and social anxiety disorder.
FDA Warnings for Effexor: The FDA issued a public health alert for
venlafaxine in March 2004 warning that Effexor can lead to deeper depression and
suicide. The FDA recommends that health care providers warn patients, their
families and their caregivers to be alert for agitation, irritability, suicide
and worsening depression while using Effexor. The FDA also recommends that
health care providers closely monitor adult and children treated with Effexor
for worsening of depression or suicidal tendencies, especially at the beginning
of therapy or when the dose either increases or decreases.
The FDA issued a Public Health Advisory in October 2003 about increased reports
of suicidal thinking, suicide attempts, hostility and self-harm in children
using Effexor. The FDA urges that Effexor be used with caution in children.
Parents of children using Effexor should consult the prescribing physician
immediately to discuss the suicide risks involved in taking Effexor.
It should be noted that the safety and effectiveness of Effexor in pediatric
patients has not been established. In clinical trials, only Prozac (fluoxetine)
has been found effective for children.
General Effexor Precautions:
_ Effexor may cause dizziness. If you experience dizziness, avoid driving,
operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities.
_ Rise slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position to prevent dizziness
or possible falls.
_ Do not take Effexor if you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI)
within the last 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction can occur if Effexor is
combined with MAO inhibitors.
_ It is not known whether Effexor will harm an unborn baby or a nursing baby.
_ Effexor may impair judgment, thinking, or motor skills. Patients using
venlafaxine should exercise caution until they have adapted to therapy.
_ If you skip the missed dose and take only the next one as directed. Do not
take a double dose of Effexor. Overdose is possible.
Effexor can cause serious side effects. Only you can decide if Effexor is the
best means of treating depression symptoms. It is important for people currently
taking venlafaxine to discuss side effect concerns with their physician.
Effexor Side Effects:
_ Deepened depression.
_ Increased risk of suicide.
_ Upset stomach.
_ Insomnia or sleeplessness.
_ Dry mouth.
_ Sensitivity to sunlight.
_ Changes in appetite or weight.
_ Difficulty urinating or frequent urination.
_ Ejaculation problems.
_ Changes in sex drive or ability.
_ Difficulty reaching orgasm.
_ Decreased libido.
_ Blurred vision.
_ Excessive sweating.
_ Jaw, neck, and back muscle spasms.
_ Slow or difficult speech.
_ Shuffling walk.
_ Severe skin rash.
_ Irregular heartbeat.
_ Increase in blood cholesterol levels.
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience: An allergic reaction
(difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, face, or
tongue; or hives). Stop taking Effexor and contact your doctor immediately or
seek emergency medical treatment if you also experience a fast or irregular
heartbeat, jaw, neck or back muscle spasms, shuffling walk, slow or difficult
speech, persistent fine tremor or inability to sit still, fever or severe skin
rash. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience yellowing of the skin or
Symptoms of Effexor overdose may include: Symptoms of a Effexor overdose
include dizziness, numbness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, tremors, irregular
heartbeats, seizures, and unconsciousness.
Before taking Effexor, tell your doctor if you have or have had:
_ Liver disease.
_ Kidney disease.
_ Heart disease.
_ High blood pressure.
_ Suicidal thoughts.
_ A history of mania or bipolar disorder.
_ Narrow-angle glaucoma.
_ Bleeding or blood clotting problems.
_ Increased level of cholesterol in the blood.
_ Your doctor may require blood tests or other medical evaluations during
treatment with venlafaxine to monitor possible serious side effects.
What should I avoid while taking Effexor?
_ Use alcohol cautiously while taking Effexor. Alcohol may increase drowsiness
What other drugs will affect venlafaxine? Effexor can increase the
effects of many other drugs, leading to serious side effects. If taking Effexor,
talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking drugs that cause drowsiness
including other antidepressants, alcohol, antihistamines, sedatives, pain
relievers, anxiety medicines, and muscle relaxants.
Drugs other than the above listed may also interact with Effexor. Talk to your
doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription, over-the-counter medicines
or natural supplements.
People seeking depression relief should carefully evaluate Effexor information
and side effects before deciding to take Effexor. Consult your healthcare
professional before using venlafaxine.
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*This antidepressant drug information does not endorse Effexor, diagnose
patients or recommend therapy. The information contained herein is not intended
to cover all possible warnings, uses, precautions, drug interactions, allergic
reactions, or adverse side effects of Effexor. If you have questions about the
drugs you are taking, check with your health care provider or pharmacist. The
information provided should not be construed to indicate that Effexor is safe,
effective or appropriate.
Do not stop taking Effexor without first talking to your doctor. Your doctor may
need to gradually reduce the dose before stopping Effexor completely. Suddenly
stopping Effexor may cause unpleasant and potentially serious side effects.