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Effexor XR Side Effects Center
Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Effexor XR (venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release) is an antidepressant used to treat patients with major depressive disorders such as panic and social disorders. Effexor XR is available as a generic termed venlafaxine. Common side effects of Effexor XR are nausea, constipation, insomnia, dizziness, asthenia, drowsiness, dry mouth, nervousness, strange dreams, blurred vision, changes in appetite or weight, decreased sex drive, impotence, difficulty having an orgasm, and sweating.
Effexor XR contains venlafaxine hydrochloride in strengths of 37.5, 75, or 150 mg tablets. The dose is usually one tablet per day. Serious side effects of Effexor XR include clinical worsening of symptoms and suicide risk, especially in younger patients. Patients may need to be observed for changes in behavior while taking this drug. Serotonin syndrome may occur. Effexor XR may interact with different drugs such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and many other types of drugs; the list is extensive. Hyponatremia, hypertension, and exacerbation of bipolar symptoms may also occur. Effexor XR has not been adequately studied in pregnant females; risks of use must be weighed against possible benefits to the mother. Effexor has been detected in breast milk and may cause serious problems for nursing infants. Although there are reports of use of Effexor in pediatric populations, safety and effectiveness has not been established for pediatric patients.
Our Effexor XR Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What is Patient Information in Detail?
Easy-to-read and understand detailed drug information and pill images for the patient or caregiver from Cerner Multum.
Effexor XR in Detail - Patient Information: Side Effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: skin rash or hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
- seizure (convulsions);
- very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, feeling like you might pass out;
- agitation, hallucinations, fever, fast heart rate, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination;
- headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, weakness, feeling unsteady, confusion, hallucinations, fainting, shallow breathing or breathing that stops;
- cough, chest tightness, trouble breathing; or
- easy bruising.
Less serious side effects may include:
- drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous;
- strange dreams;
- increased sweating;
- blurred vision;
- dry mouth;
- changes in appetite or weight;
- mild nausea, constipation; or
- decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm.
Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Effexor XR (Venlafaxine Hydrochloride Extended-Release)
What is Patient Information Overview?
A concise overview of the drug for the patient or caregiver from First DataBank.
Effexor XR Overview - Patient Information: Side Effects
Nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, loss of appetite, blurred vision, nervousness, trouble sleeping, unusual sweating, or yawning may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: easy bruising/bleeding, decreased interest in sex, changes in sexual ability, muscle cramps/weakness, shaking (tremor).
Get medical help right away if any of these rare but serious side effects occur: black/bloody stools, persistent cough, seizure, severe/pounding headache, shortness of breath, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, eye pain/swelling/redness, vision changes (such as seeing rainbows around lights at night).
This medication may increase serotonin and rarely cause a very serious condition called serotonin syndrome/toxicity. The risk increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin, so tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take (see Drug Interactions section). Get medical help right away if you develop some of the following symptoms: fast heartbeat, hallucinations, loss of coordination, severe dizziness, severe nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, twitching muscles, unexplained fever, unusual agitation/restlessness.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Read the entire patient information overview for Effexor XR (Venlafaxine Hydrochloride Extended-Release)
What is Prescribing information?
The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.
Effexor XR FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
The following adverse reactions are discussed in greater detail in other sections of the label:
- Hypersensitivity [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]
- Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors in Children, Adolescents, and Adults [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Serotonin Syndrome [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Elevations in Blood Pressure [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Abnormal Bleeding [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Angle Closure Glaucoma [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Activation of Mania/Hypomania [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Discontinuation Syndrome [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Renal Impairment [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Hepatic Impairment [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Seizure [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Hyponatremia [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Weight and Height changes in Pediatric Patients [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Appetite Changes in Pediatric Patients [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Interstitial Lung Disease and Eosinophilic Pneumonia [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
Clinical Studies Experience
Because clinical studies are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical studies of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical studies of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.
Most Common Adverse Reactions
The most commonly observed adverse reactions in the clinical study database in Effexor XR treated patients in MDD, GAD, SAD, and PD (incidence ≥ 5% and at least twice the rate of placebo) were: nausea (30.0%), somnolence (15.3%), dry mouth (14.8%), sweating (11.4%), abnormal ejaculation (9.9%), anorexia (9.8%), constipation (9.3%), impotence (5.3%) and decreased libido (5.1%).
Adverse Reactions Reported as Reasons for Discontinuation of Treatment
Combined across short-term, placebo-controlled premarketing studies for all indications, 12% of the 3,558 patients who received Effexor XR (37.5-225 mg) discontinued treatment due to an adverse experience, compared with 4% of the 2,197 placebo-treated patients in those studies.
The most common adverse reactions leading to discontinuation in ≥ 1% of the Effexor XR treated patients in the short-term studies (up to 12 weeks) across indications are shown in Table 7.
Table 7: Incidence (%) of Patients Reporting Adverse
Reactions Leading to Discontinuation in Placebo-controlled Clinical Studies (up
to 12 Weeks Duration)
|Body System Adverse Reaction||Effexor XR
n = 3,558
n = 2,197
|Body as a whole|
|Skin and appendages||1.5||0.6|
Common Adverse Reactions in Placebo-controlled Studies
The number of patients receiving multiple doses of Effexor XR during the premarketing assessment for each approved indication is shown in Table 8. The conditions and duration of exposure to venlafaxine in all development programs varied greatly, and included (in overlapping categories) open and double-blind studies, uncontrolled and controlled studies, inpatient (Effexor only) and outpatient studies, fixed-dose, and titration studies.
Table 8: Patients Receiving
Effexor XR in Premarketing Clinical Studies
|aIn addition, in the premarketing assessment of Effexor, multiple doses were administered to 2,897 patients in studies for MDD.|
The incidences of common adverse reactions (those that occurred in ≥ 2% of Effexor XR treated patients [357 MDD patients, 1,381 GAD patients, 819 SAD patients, and 1,001 PD patients] and more frequently than placebo) in Effexor XR treated patients in short-term, placebo-controlled, fixed-and flexible-dose clinical studies (doses 37.5 to 225 mg per day) are shown in Table 9.
The adverse reaction profile did not differ substantially between the different patient populations.
Table 9: Common Adverse Reactions: Percentage of
Patients Reporting Adverse Reactions ( ≥ 2% and > placebo) in
Placebo-controlled Studies (up to 12 Weeks Duration) across All Indications
n = 3,558
n = 2,197
|Body as a whole|
|Skin and appendages|
|Sweating (including night sweats)||11.4||2.9|
|Abnormal ejaculation/orgasm (men)a||9.9||0.5|
|aPercentages based on the number of men (Effexor XR, n =
1,440; placebo, n = 923)
bPercentages based on the number of women (Effexor XR, n = 2,118; placebo, n = 1,274)
Other Adverse Reactions Observed in Clinical Studies
Body as a whole - Photosensitivity reaction
Nervous system - Seizures [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS], manic reaction [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS], agitation, confusion, akathisia, hallucinations, hypertonia, myoclonus, depersonalization, apathy
Urogenital system - Urinary retention, urination impaired, urinary incontinence, urinary frequency increased, menstrual disorders associated with increased bleeding or increased irregular bleeding (e.g., menorrhagia, metrorrhagia)
Vital Sign Changes
In placebo-controlled premarketing studies, there were increases in mean blood pressure (see Table 10). Across most indications, a dose-related increase in mean supine systolic and diastolic blood pressure was evident in patients treated with Effexor XRs. Across all clinical studies in MDD, GAD, SAD and PD, 1.4% of patients in the Effexor XR groups experienced an increase in SDBP of ≥ 15 mm Hg along with a blood pressure ≥ 105 mm Hg, compared to 0.9% of patients in the placebo groups. Similarly, 1% of patients in the Effexor XR groups experienced an increase in SSBP of ≥ 20 mm Hg with a blood pressure ≥ 180 mm Hg, compared to 0.3% of patients in the placebo groups.
Table 10: Final On-therapy
Mean Changes From Baseline in Supine Systolic (SSBP) and Diastolic (SDBP) Blood
Pressure (mm Hg) in Placebo-controlled Studies
|Indication (Duration)||Effexor XR||Placebo|
|≤ 75 mg per day||> 75 mg per day|
Effexor XR treatment was associated with sustained hypertension (defined as treatment-emergent Supine Diastolic Blood Pressure [SDBP] ≥ 90 mm Hg and ≥ 10 mm Hg above baseline for three consecutive on-therapy visits (see Table 11). An insufficient number of patients received mean doses of Effexor XR over 300 mg per day in clinical studies to fully evaluate the incidence of sustained increases in blood pressure at these higher doses.
Table 11: Sustained
Elevations in SDBP in Effexor XR Premarketing Studies
|Indication||Dose Range (mg per day)||Incidence (%)|
Effexor XR was associated with mean increases in pulse rate compared with placebo in premarketing placebo-controlled studies (see Table 12) [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Table 12: Approximate Mean
Final On-therapy Increase in Pulse Rate (beats/min) in Effexor XR Premarketing
Placebo-controlled Studies (up to 12 Weeks Duration)
|Indication (Duration)||Effexor XR||Placebo|
|(8 weeks)||2||< 1|
|(12 weeks)||1||< 1|
Effexor XR was associated with mean final increases in serum cholesterol concentrations compared with mean final decreases for placebo in premarketing MDD, GAD, SAD and PD clinical studies (Table 13).
Table 13: Mean Final On-therapy Changes in Cholesterol
Concentrations (mg/dL) in Effexor XR Premarketing Studies
|Indication (Duration)||Effexor XR||Placebo|
Effexor XR (venlafaxine hydrochloride) extended-release capsules treatment for up to 12 weeks in premarketing placebo-controlled trials for major depressive disorder was associated with a mean final on-therapy increase in serum cholesterol concentration of approximately 1.5 mg/dL compared with a mean final decrease of 7.4 mg/dL for placebo. Effexor XR treatment for up to 8 weeks and up to 6 months in premarketing placebo-controlled GAD trials was associated with mean final on-therapy increases in serum cholesterol concentration of approximately 1.0 mg/dL and 2.3 mg/dL, respectively while placebo subjects experienced mean final decreases of 4.9 mg/dL and 7.7 mg/dL, respectively. Effexor XR treatment for up to 12 weeks and up to 6 months in premarketing placebo-controlled Social Anxiety Disorder trials was associated with mean final on-therapy increases in serum cholesterol concentration of approximately 7.9 mg/dL and 5.6 mg/dL, respectively, compared with mean final decreases of 2.9 and 4.2 mg/dL, respectively, for placebo. Effexor XR treatment for up to 12 weeks in premarketing placebo-controlled panic disorder trials was associated with mean final on-therapy increases in serum cholesterol concentration of approximately 5.8 mg/dL compared with a mean final decrease of 3.7 mg/dL for placebo.
Patients treated with Effexor (immediate release) for at least 3 months in placebo-controlled 12-month extension trials had a mean final on-therapy increase in total cholesterol of 9.1 mg/dL compared with a decrease of 7.1 mg/dL among placebo-treated patients. This increase was duration dependent over the study period and tended to be greater with higher doses. Clinically relevant increases in serum cholesterol, defined as 1) a final on-therapy increase in serum cholesterol ≥ 50 mg/dL from baseline and to a value ≥ 261 mg/dL, or 2) an average on-therapy increase in serum cholesterol ≥ 50 mg/dL from baseline and to a value ≥ 261 mg/dL, were recorded in 5.3% of venlafaxine-treated patients and 0.0% of placebo-treated patients.
Effexor XR was associated with mean final on-therapy increases in fasting serum triglycerides compared with placebo in premarketing clinical studies of SAD and PD up to 12 weeks (pooled data) and 6 months duration (Table 14).
Table 14: Mean Final On-therapy Increases in
Triglyceride Concentrations (mg/dL) in Effexor XR Premarketing Studies
|Indication (Duration)||Effexor XR||Placebo|
In general, the adverse reaction profile of venlafaxine (in placebo-controlled clinical studies) in children and adolescents (ages 6 to 17) was similar to that seen for adults. As with adults, decreased appetite, weight loss, increased blood pressure, and increased serum cholesterol were observed [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and Use In Specific Populations].
In pediatric clinical studies, the adverse reaction, suicidal ideation, was observed.
Adverse Reactions Identified During Postapproval Use
The following adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of Effexor XR. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure:
Digestive system - Pancreatitis
Hemic/Lymphatic system - Mucous membrane bleeding [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS], blood dyscrasias (including agranulocytosis, aplastic anemia, neutropenia and pancytopenia), prolonged bleeding time, thrombocytopenia
Metabolic/Nutritional - Hyponatremia [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS], Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone (SIADH) secretion [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS], abnormal liver function tests, hepatitis, prolactin increased
Musculoskeletal - Rhabdomyolysis
Nervous system - Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS], serotonergic syndrome [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS], delirium, extrapyramidal reactions (including dystonia and dyskinesia), impaired coordination and balance, tardive dyskinesia
Respiratory system - Pulmonary eosinophilia
Special senses - Angle-closure glaucoma [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Effexor XR (Venlafaxine Hydrochloride Extended-Release)
Additional Effexor XR Information
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