Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine) for
The following information is intended to supplement, not
substitute, the expertise and judgment of your physician,
pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be
construed to indicate that using Effexor is safe or appropriate
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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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
General Effexor Precautions:
_ 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.
_ Effexor may cause dizziness. If you experience dizziness, avoid
driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous
_ Rise slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position to
prevent dizziness or possible falls.
_ If you skip the missed dose and take only the next one as
directed. Do not take a double dose of Effexor. Overdose is
_ It is not known whether Effexor will harm an unborn baby or a
_ Effexor may impair judgment, thinking, or motor skills. Patients
using venlafaxine should exercise caution until they have adapted
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.
Effexor can cause serious side effects.
Weight gain and
sexual side effects
are common Effexor side effects. Less common but life threatening
is the increased risk of suicide. Addiction and subsequent
withdrawal symptoms also rank on the list of serious
Effexor 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. People wishing to avoid the side effects of
pharmaceutical antidepressants have choices for safe and effective
Effexor Side Effects:
_ Deepened depression.
_ Increased risk of suicide.
_ Insomnia or sleeplessness.
_ Difficulty urinating or frequent urination.
_ Ejaculation problems.
_ Changes in sex drive or ability.
_ Difficulty reaching orgasm.
_ Decreased libido.
_ Upset stomach.
_ Dry mouth.
_ Sensitivity to sunlight.
_ Changes in appetite or weight.
_ Blurred vision.
_ Excessive sweating.
_ Severe skin rash.
_ Irregular heartbeat.
_ Increase in blood cholesterol levels.
_ Jaw, neck, and back muscle spasms.
_ Slow or difficult speech.
_ Shuffling walk.
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 eyes.
Before taking Effexor, tell your doctor if you have or have
_ 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
What should I avoid while taking Effexor?
_ Use alcohol cautiously while taking Effexor. Alcohol may
increase drowsiness and dizziness.
Symptoms of Effexor overdose may include: Symptoms of a
Effexor overdose include dizziness, numbness, drowsiness, nausea,
vomiting, tremors, irregular heartbeats, seizures, and
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.
*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.