Effexor XR

Generic Name: Venlafaxine

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Effexor XR is a medicine called a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). It is used to treat major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder in adults. Effexor XR is an extended-release medicine (a type of tablet that releases medicine into your body throughout the day).

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Effexor XR is thought to work by increasing the activity of chemicals in your brain called serotonin and norepinephrine. By increasing serotonin and norepinephrine, Effexor XR may help improve your symptoms.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?


    Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Panic Disorder: Effexor XR has been shown to relieve symptoms associated with these conditions, as measured by appropriate symptom rating scales that are commonly used by healthcare providers to evaluate the effectiveness of the medicine in people with such conditions.

    When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Effexor XR exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed, even if you do not feel better right away.

    How do I know it is working?

    Your healthcare provider may ask you a series of questions from time to time that will help assess how well your symptoms are controlled with treatment.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Effexor XR can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, teenagers, and young adults. Your healthcare provider will monitor you closely for clinical worsening or suicidal/unusual behavior after you start taking Effexor XR or start a new dose of Effexor XR. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you experience anxiety, hostility, sleeplessness, restlessness, impulsive or dangerous behavior, thoughts about suicide or dying, or if you have new symptoms or seem to be feeling worse.

    More common side effects may include: constipation, decreased appetite, gas, sleeplessness, nausea, dry mouth, nervousness, tremor, changes in your vision, high blood pressure, sweating, yawning, sexual dysfunction.

    Less common side effects may include:

    Serotonin syndrome (a potentially life-threatening drug reaction that causes the body to have too much serotonin, a chemical produced by the nerve cells) with symptoms such as mental status changes (such as agitation or hallucinations), an increase in your heart rate and temperature, lack of coordination, overactive reflexes, muscle rigidity, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

    Manic episodes with symptoms such as greatly increased energy, severe trouble sleeping, racing thoughts, reckless behavior, excessive happiness or irritability, or talking more or faster than usual.

    Low blood sodium (salt) levels with symptoms such as headache, weakness, an unsteady feeling, confusion, problems concentrating or thinking, or memory problems.

    Abnormal bleeding or bruising, especially if you also take blood thinners (such as warfarin), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as ibuprofen or naproxen), or aspirin.

    Lung problems or pneumonia with symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, or chest discomfort.

    Serious allergic reactions with trouble breathing; swelling of your face, tongue, eyes, or mouth; or rash or blisters with or without fever or joint pain.

    Effexor XR may cause seizures, changes in your blood pressure, bone fractures, increased cholesterol, dilation of your pupils, or changes in your appetite or weight.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Effexor XR if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    Do not take Effexor XR if you take another medicine called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (such as phenelzine, selegiline, linezolid, or methylene blue), a class of medications used to treat depression and other conditions. Do not start taking Effexor XR if you stopped taking an MAOI in the last 2 weeks, unless directed to do so by your healthcare provider.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Effexor XR. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have heart, liver, kidney, or thyroid problems; diabetes; glaucoma (high pressure in the eye); low sodium levels in your blood; bipolar disorder or mania; high blood pressure; high cholesterol; a history of seizure or bleeding problems; or 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 healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Adults: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for you, based on your condition.

    If you have liver or kidney impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

    It is important that you do not stop taking this medication abruptly. If you need to change or stop taking this medication, it is important that you only do this with the guidance of your healthcare provider.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Effexor XR exactly as prescribe by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Effexor XR without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Take Effexor XR with food at about the same time every day, either in the morning or evening.

    Swallow Effexor XR capsules whole with water. Do not divide, crush, chew, or place in water.

    If you cannot swallow the capsules, you can open the capsule carefully and sprinkle its contents onto a spoonful of applesauce. Swallow this mixture immediately, without chewing, and follow with a glass of water.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or engage in other dangerous activities until you know how Effexor XR affects you.

    Do not drink alcohol while you are taking Effexor XR.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Effexor XR is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. Effexor XR may interact with numerous medications. Therefore, it is very important that you tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Effexor XR may harm your newborn baby if you take it during the last few months of your pregnancy. Effexor XR can be found in your breast milk if taken while breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed while taking Effexor XR. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Effexor XR, take it as soon as you remember. 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 this medication?

    Store at room temperature.

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