Effexor Side Effects & Interactions
As with other antidepressants, Effexor and generic venlafaxine can potentially cause a range of side effects.
Common side effects of Effexor XR include:
Some of these side effects may improve on their own over time.
If you experience persistent or severe side effects after starting treatment with Effexor, its important to contact your healthcare provider for assistance.
Although uncommon, Effexor and other antidepressants can potentially cause more severe side effects. Weve discussed these in our full guide to antidepressant side effects.
As an SNRI, Effexor may interact with other medications, including certain medications used to treat depression and/or anxiety.
Medications that may interact with Effexor include other SNRIs, SSRIs, MAOIs, lithium, triptans, linezolid, tramadol and St. Johns wort.
In some cases, these interactions may lead to a severe increase in serotonin levels, referred to as serotonin syndrome.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all medications you use or have recently used before you begin treatment with Effexor for anxiety.
Should I Take Venlafaxine With Food
Regular-release venlafaxine is usually taken two or three times per day with food, while extended-release is usually taken once per day in the morning or evening with food.
It is usually recommended that you take venlafaxine at the same time every day. You should discuss with your doctor the best way of taking venlafaxine and it is important to follow your doctors instructions carefully.
Predictors Of Response To Venlafaxine
A pooled analysis of the four major clinical trials, including a total of 1595 adults with panic disorder, evaluated predictors of clinical outcomes in the short-term treatment of panic disorder . Greater mean symptom severity and female gender were associated with lower proportions of panic-free patients, in both the venlafaxine XR and the placebo treated group. Among patients treated with venlafaxine XR, 69% of those classified as low severity at baseline were panic free at endpoint compared with 51% of patients in the high severity group . Similarly, 65% of men achieved panic-free status compared with 57% of women . For those treated with placebo, significantly more patients in the low severity group , compared with the high severity group , and men compared with women , were panic-free at endpoint.
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How Should This Medicine Be Used
Venlafaxine comes as a tablet or extended-release capsule to take by mouth. The tablet is usually taken two or three times a day with food. The extended-release capsule is usually taken once daily in the morning or evening with food. Take venlafaxine at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take venlafaxine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often or for a longer period of time than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow the extended-release capsule whole do not split, chew, or crush it, or place it in water. If you cannot swallow the extended-release capsule, you may carefully open the capsule and sprinkle the entire contents on a spoonful of applesauce. Swallow this mixture immediately after preparation and then drink a glass of water to make sure that you have swallowed all of the medication.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of venlafaxine and gradually increase your dose, not more often than once every 4 to 7 days. Tell your doctor how you are feeling during your treatment so that your doctor can adjust your dose properly.
What To Do When Ssris Fail: Eight Strategies For Optimizing Treatment Of Panic Disorder
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Am Fam Physician. 2002 Oct 15 66:1477-1485.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the drug of choice for treatment of patients with panic disorder. Most patients have a favorable response to SSRI therapy however, 30 percent will not be able to tolerate these drugs or will have an unfavorable or incomplete response. Strategies to improve management of such patients include optimizing SSRI dosing and ensuring an adequate trial before switching to a different drug. Benzodiazepines should be avoided but, when necessary, may be used for a short duration or may be used long-term in patients for whom other treatments have failed. Slower-onset, longer-acting benzodiazepines are preferred. All patients should be encouraged to try cognitive behavior therapy. Augmentation therapy should be considered in patients who do not have a complete response. Drugs to consider for use in augmentation therapy include benzodiazepines, buspirone, beta blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, and valproate sodium.
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Drug Interactions Of Effexor Vs Lexapro
Effexor and Lexapro each work by increasing available serotonin. When one of these drugs is combined with other drugs that have serotonergic activity, it increases the chance that a patient may experience serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome is a condition caused by having too much free serotonin and can lead to increased blood pressure and heart rate, agitation, and dizziness. Drugs with serotonergic activity include the pain medication tramadol and a supplement often used by patients for mood, St. Johnâs Wort. Other classes of medication may interact in this manner as well, so it is important for your doctor and pharmacist to have a complete list of medications you are taking.
Ondansetron, when taken with Effexor or Lexapro, may increase the incidence of QT prolongation and a type of arrhythmia known as torsades de pointes . Each of these drugs carries a risk for these cardiac events, but their combined use increases the risk significantly. These cardiac events can be fatal in some cases, and the combination of these drugs with Ondansetron should be avoided when possible.
This is not intended to be a complete list of potential drug interactions. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for a complete list.
How To Take Venlafaxine
- Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer’s printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about venlafaxine and it will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take venlafaxine exactly as your doctor tells you to. Depending upon the brand of tablet/capsule that you are prescribed, you will be asked to take either one or two doses a day.
- Try to take your doses at the same time of day each day, as this will help you to remember to take them. Have a drink of water to help you swallow the tablet/capsule.
- If you have been supplied with a modified-release form of venlafaxine , take the tablet/capsule just after a meal. You should swallow the tablets/capsules whole – do not chew or crush them. Modified-release tablets and capsules release venlafaxine slowly over 24 hours to give a longer action.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If when you remember, it is nearly time for your next dose then leave out the missed dose and take your next dose when it is due. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
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How K Health Can Help
Anxiety and depression are among the most under-reported and under-treated diseases in America. Nearly 20% of adults in the US suffer from mental health illness and fewer than half receive treatment. Our mission is to increase access to treatment for those suffering in silence.
You can start controlling your anxiety and depression and get access to the treatment you need with K Health. Starting at $12/month get prescriptions for mental health medications plus unlimited doctor visits through the K Health app. Start your free assessment to see if youâre eligible.
How To Cope With Side Effects
What to do about:
- feeling sick – try taking venlafaxine with or after food. It may also help if you avoid rich or spicy food. If it carries on, tell your doctor.
- headaches – make sure you rest and drink plenty of fluids. Do not drink too much alcohol. Ask your pharmacist to recommend a painkiller. Headaches should usually go away after the first week of taking venlafaxine. Talk to your doctor if they last longer than a week or are severe.
- a dry mouth – chew sugar-free gum or sugar-free sweets.
- feeling dizzy – if venlafaxine makes you feel dizzy when you stand up, try getting up very slowly or stay sitting down until you feel better. If you begin to feel dizzy, lie down so that you don’t faint, then sit until you feel better. Do not drive or use tools or machines if you feel dizzy or if you just feel a bit shaky.
- feeling sleepy – do not drive or use tools or machinery if you’re feeling this way. Cut down the amount of alcohol you drink as this will make you feel more tired. If this symptom does not go away after a week or 2, ask your doctor for advice.
- being unable to sleep – take venlafaxine first thing in the morning.
- constipation – get more fibre into your diet such as fresh fruit and vegetables and cereals, and drink plenty of water. Try to exercise, for example, by going for a daily walk or run. If this doesn’t help, talk to your pharmacist or doctor. Watch this short video about how to treat constipation.
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More Common Side Effects
The more common side effects of venlafaxine can include:
- unusual dreams
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
Suicidal Thoughts And Actions
Children and adolescents may experience increased suicidal thoughts and behaviors when taking antidepressant medications. The danger is greatest the first few months of treatment or when changing the dose.
Though this warning is true for all antidepressants, taking Effexor may increase your risk even more. A major study found that Effexor was associated with a higher risk of both completed and attempted suicide compared with other antidepressants, including Celexa , Prozac , and Prothiaden .
If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
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Effexor Prescription Facts & Regulations
Effexor is a prescription medication that is used to treat depression, generalized anxiety disorder and social phobias. Also known by its generic name as venlafaxine, this drug is classified as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor , which works by helping to restore the balance of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. By doing this, a person diagnosed with depression may exhibit improved mood and energy levels.
It is essential that you read the medication guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using Effexor. It should always be taken by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually two to three times daily with food. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may start you out at a low dosage and gradually increase as you build a tolerance . It may take several weeks to feel the benefit of this medication, so be sure to take it every day around the same time for best results.
Conditions Treated By Effexor And Lexapro
Effexor and Lexapro are both indicated in the treatment of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Effexor also carries indications for both social phobia and panic disorder. There are some off-label uses of both drugs as well. Off-label use is when a drug is prescribed for an indication not approved by the Food and Drug Administration . Effexor has been used without approval in obsessive-compulsive disorder , premenstrual dysphoric disorder , and hot flashes related to menopause. Lexapro is sometimes used off-label for conditions such as OCD, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating.
The following chart provides a list of conditions treated by Effexor and Lexapro. It may not include all potential uses, and you should always consult with your healthcare professional to see if one of these drugs is right for you.
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Overview Of Pharmacological Treatment Of Panic Disorder
Pharmacologic treatment, often in combination with cognitive-behavioral therapies, can be tailored for the individual patient based on specific anxiety symptoms, comorbid disorders, and history of side effects .
Pharmacotherapeutic interventions that have demonstrated efficacy in treating panic disorder include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , the serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor venlafaxine XR, tricyclic antidepressants , and benzodiazepines. Current published guidelines from Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Australia and New Zealand generally recommend antidepressants as first line therapy for the treatment of panic disorder . SSRIs and TCAs have demonstrated equivalent efficacy, but most guidelines suggest that TCAs are less well tolerated. Generally, antidepressants are preferred over benzodiazepines as first line treatment because, unlike benzodiazepines, antidepressants treat comorbid depression without risk of dependency and the potential for side effects such as excessive sedation, cognitive impairment, and ataxia.
Are There Any Disadvantages To Effexor
The biggest disadvantages of Effexor are the potential side effects. Talk to your doctor about what medication is best for you.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein should NOT be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other healthcare provider. This article mentions drugs that were FDA-approved and available at the time of publication and may not include all possible drug interactions or all FDA warnings or alerts. The author of this page explicitly does not endorse this drug or any specific treatment method. If you have health questions or concerns about interactions, please check with your physician or go to the FDA site for a comprehensive list of warnings.
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Effexor Xr For Panic Disorder
Effexor XR is FDA-approved to treat panic disorder in adults. Its approved to treat panic disorder with or without agoraphobia .
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety in which you have repeated and unexpected panic attacks . Panic attacks can last anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes.
Effectiveness for panic disorder
Effexor XR has been found to be effective in treating panic disorder with or without agoraphobia. In clinical studies, people with panic disorder took either Effexor XR or a placebo for 3 months. The dosage range of Effexor XR was 75 mg to 225 mg once a day.
These studies found that people who took Effexor XR were about 2.2 to 3 times more likely to be free of full-symptom panic attacks while taking treatment compared to people who took a placebo. A full-symptom panic attack is one that involves all of the usual symptoms, including rapid heart rate, shakiness, nausea, and fear of losing control.