Generic name: Venlafaxine
Effexor is an SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant, also used for the treatment of anxiety. This medication helps to balance chemicals in the brain (serotonin and norphinephrine) to decrease nervousness and agitation, to increase energy and to decrease symptoms of depression.
Effexor is available in a short-acting and an extended release medication. Generally, people must take this medication for a period of several weeks before feeling the full effects.
Children and elderly patients may be more susceptible to the side effects of Effexor. Caution should be used if this medication is given to either children or elderly patients.
Stopping Effexor can cause withdrawal symptoms. You should not suddenly stop taking this medication and should always talk with your doctor about discontinuing use of Effexor. Your doctor may want you to taper down your use of Effexor, rather than discontinuing use all at once. Tapering your use of this medication may reduce or decrease symptoms of withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal can include: mood changes, tingling of the skin, headache, confusion, sweating, loss of coordination, insomnia or extreme tiredness.
Before Taking Effexor
As with all medications, Effexor can cause interactions with other medications. It is important to discuss any medications, including over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements and vitamins that you may be currently taking with your doctor.
In addition, people with certain medical conditions should either not take Effexor or may require an adjustment in dosage. Talk with your doctor about any medical conditions you may have, especially:
- Bipolar or other mental health disorders
- History of substance abuse
- Seizures or seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
- Heart disease or other heart problems, including irregular heart beat
- High blood pressure
- Thyroid conditions
- Liver or kidney disease
- Lung problems
- Bleeding disorders
- Stomach or bowel disorders or bleeding
- Problems with metabolism
Side Effects of Effexor
Many people take Effexor without experiencing any type of side effects or may have mild side effects that last a few days or a few weeks and then disappear. For some people, however, side effects may persist or interfere with daily activities.
Talk with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following side effects and they are interfering with daily life:
- Increased anxiety
- Blurred vision
- Decrease in sexual desire or inability to perform sexually
- Dizziness or drowsiness
- Loss of appetite, stomach problems or constipation
This is not a complete list of possible side effects, if you are experiencing other side effects, talking with your doctor should help you determine if you should seek additional medical help.
Some side effects require you to seek immediate medical help. For the following side effects, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room: