Effexor

Generic Name: Venlafaxine

  • What is Effexor?

    Effexor is an antidepressant belonging to the class of drugs called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Effexor is used to treat major depressive disorder.

  • What is the most important information I should know about Effexor?

    Effexor may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some children, teenagers, and young adults when the medicine is first started. Depression and other serious mental illnesses are the most important causes of suicidal thoughts and actions. People with bipolar disorder, or who have a family history of this condition (also called manic-depressive illness) are at a greater risk. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any changes, especially sudden ones, in mood, behavior, thoughts, or feelings. This is very important when an antidepressant medicine is first started or when the dose is changed.

    Effexor may cause a severe, possibly life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome (a potentially life-threatening drug reaction that causes the body to have too much serotonin, a chemical produced by the nerve cells) or neuroleptic malignant syndrome (a life-threatening brain disorder). Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms: agitation, hallucinations, coma, fast heartbeat, changes in blood pressure, increased body temperature, lack of coordination, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

    Effexor may cause an increase in your blood pressure. Check your blood pressure regularly, especially if you already have high blood pressure.

    Effexor may cause a condition called hyponatremia (low blood sodium levels). Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following: headache, difficulty concentrating, confusion, weakness, unsteadiness, hallucinations, falls, or seizures.

    Effexor may cause seizures to develop, especially if you have a history of seizures. Your doctor will discontinue Effexor if seizures occur.

    Effexor may increase your risk of bleeding. Do not take Effexor with aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or blood-thinners (such as warfarin).

    Effexor may increase your cholesterol. Your doctor may measure your cholesterol levels if you will be on long-term treatment with Effexor.

  • Who should not take Effexor?

    Do not take Effexor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it. Also, never take Effexor while taking other drugs known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), a class of drugs used to treat depression, psychiatric or emotional disorders, or Parkinson's disease.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Effexor?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Effexor. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have high blood pressure, heart, liver, or kidney disease, a history of seizures or mania, glaucoma (high pressure in the eye), or a thyroid disorder. Also tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 75 milligrams (mg) per day, taken as two or three divided doses, and taken with food. If needed, your doctor may gradually increase your daily dose up to a maximum of 375 mg per day, usually taken as three divided doses.

    If you have kidney or liver disease or are taking other medications, your doctor will adjust your dose of Effexor accordingly.

  • How should I take Effexor?

    Take Effexor exactly as prescribed and take it with food. It may take several weeks before you begin to feel better. Do not suddenly stop taking Effexor without talking to your doctor first, as this can cause serious side effects.

  • What should I avoid while taking Effexor?

    Avoid driving or operating dangerous machinery or participating in any dangerous activity that requires full mental alertness until you know how Effexor affects you. Effexor may cause you to feel drowsy or less alert and may affect your judgment. Avoid alcohol while taking Effexor, as it can worsen these side effects.

    Do not suddenly stop taking Effexor without talking to your doctor first, as this can cause serious side effects.

    Effexor may increase your risk of bleeding. Avoid taking aspirin, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, or blood-thinners such as warfarin while taking Effexor.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Effexor?

    Effexor should never be combined with MAOIs or within 14 days of each other.

    If you have high blood pressure or liver disease, or are elderly, check with your doctor before combining Effexor with cimetidine.

    If Effexor is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Effexor with the following: alcohol, antipsychotic medications, aspirin, cimetidine, fluoxetine, haloperidol, imipramine, indinavir, ketoconazole, linezolid, lithium, metoprolol, MAOIs, NSAIDs, other SNRIs, paroxetine, phenelzine, risperidone, St. John's wort, tramadol, certain migraine products, tryptophan, warfarin, and weight-loss products.

  • What are the possible side effects of Effexor?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: weakness, sweating, nausea, constipation, loss of appetite, vomiting, dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, nervousness, anxiety, tremor, blurred vision, trouble sleeping, abnormal ejaculation/orgasm, impotence in men

  • Can I receive Effexor if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Babies exposed to Effexor late in the third trimester of pregnancy have developed serious complications. The effects of Effexor during breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Effexor?

    If you miss a dose of Effexor, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store Effexor?

    Store at room temperature.

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