What is Effexor XR?Effexor XR belongs to the class of drugs called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Effexor XR is used to treat major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder in adults.
What is the most important information I should know about Effexor XR?Effexor XR 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 XR 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 heart beat, changes in blood pressure, increased body temperature, lack of coordination, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Effexor XR may cause an increase in your blood pressure. Check your blood pressure regularly, especially if you already have high blood pressure.
Do not suddenly stop taking Effexor XR without talking to your doctor first as this can cause serious side effects.
Effexor XR 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 XR may cause seizures to develop, especially if you have a history of seizures. Your doctor will discontinue Effexor XR if seizures occur.
Effexor XR may increase your risk of bleeding. Do not take Effexor XR with aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, or blood-thinners such as warfarin.
Effexor XR may increase your cholesterol. Your doctor may measure your cholesterol levels if you will be on long-term treatment with Effexor XR.
Who should not take Effexor XR?Do not take Effexor XR if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it. Also, never take Effexor XR 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 XR?Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Effexor XR. 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 (hihg 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.
Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Adults: The recommended starting dose is 75 milligrams (mg) per day. If needed, the doctor may increase your dose, up to a maximum of 225 mg per day.
Adults: The recommended starting dose is 37.5 mg per day for 7 days. After that, the dose should be increased to 75 mg per day. Your doctor may further increase your dose if needed, up to a maximum of 225 mg per day.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Adults: The recommended starting dose is 75 mg per day, given as a single dose.
How should I take Effexor XR?Effexor XR should be taken as a single dose with food at about the same time every day, either in the morning or evening. The capsule should be swallowed whole; it should not be divided, crushed, chewed, or placed in water. The capsule can also be carefully opened and its contents sprinkled onto a spoonful of applesauce. Swallow this mixture immediately and follow with a glass of water; do not chew this mixture before swallowing.
What should I avoid while taking Effexor XR?Avoid driving or operating dangerous machinery or participating in any dangerous activity that requires full mental alertness until you know how Effexor XR affects you. Effexor XR may cause you to feel drowsy or less alert and may affect your judgment. Avoid alcohol while taking Effexor XR, as it can worsen these side effects.
Do not suddenly stop taking Effexor XR without talking to your doctor first, as this can cause serious side effects.
Effexor XR may increase your risk of bleeding. Avoid taking aspirin, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, or blood-thinners such as warfarin while taking Effexor XR.
What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Effexor XR?Effexor XR and antidepressant medications in a class called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) should not be taken together or within 14 days of each other. Combining these drugs with Effexor XR can cause serious and even fatal reactions.
If Effexor XR 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 XR with the following: alcohol, antipsychotic medications, aspirin, cimetidine, haloperidol, imipramine, indinavir, ketoconazole, linezolid, lithium, metoprolol, MAOIs, NSAIDs, phenelzine, other SNRIs, risperidone, tranylcypromine, fluoxetine, paroxetine, St. John's wort, tramadol, certain migraine products, tryptophan, warfarin, and weight-loss products.
What are the possible side effects of Effexor XR?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: nausea, weakness, drowsiness, dizziness, trouble sleeping, dry mouth, nervousness, increased blood pressure, loss of appetite, weight loss, decreased sexual desire, sweating, changes in vision, abnormal ejaculation, constipation
Can I receive Effexor XR if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?Babies exposed to Effexor XR late in the third trimester of pregnancy have developed serious complications. The effects of Effexor XR 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 XR?If you miss a dose of Effexor XR, 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 XR?Store at room temperature.