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Effexor XR

Last reviewed on RxList: 4/18/2017
Effexor XR Patient Information Including Side Effects

Brand Names: No Brand Name

Generic Name: venlafaxine

What is venlafaxine?

Venlafaxine is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRIs) antidepressant. Venlafaxine affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with depression.

Venlafaxine is used to treat major depressive disorder, anxiety, and panic disorder.

Venlafaxine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of venlafaxine?

Get emergency medical help if you have 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:

  • blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights;
  • easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums), blood in your urine or stools, coughing up blood;
  • cough, chest tightness, trouble breathing;
  • a seizure (convulsions);
  • low sodium level --headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady; or
  • severe nervous system reaction--very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, feeling like you might pass out.

Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as: agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

Common side effects may include:

  • dizziness, drowsiness,
  • anxiety, feeling nervous;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • vision changes;
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • changes in weight or appetite;
  • dry mouth, yawning;
  • increased sweating; or
  • decreased sex drive, impotence, abnormal ejaculation, difficulty having an orgasm.

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 the most important information I should know about venlafaxine?

Do not use venlafaxine within 7 days before or 14 days after you have used an MAO inhibitor, such as isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine.

Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Stay alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor.

Do not stop using venlafaxine without first talking to your doctor.

Effexor XR Patient Information including How Should I Take

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking venlafaxine?

You should not take this medicine if you are allergic to venlafaxine or desvenlafaxine (Pristiq).

Do not use venlafaxine within 7 days before or 14 days after you have used an MAO inhibitor, such as isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine. A dangerous drug interaction could occur.

Some medicines can interact with venlafaxine and cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Be sure your doctor knows if you also take stimulant medicine, opioid medicine, herbal products, or medicine for depression, mental illness, Parkinson's disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting. Ask your doctor before making any changes in how or when you take your medications.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

Venlafaxine may cause serious lung problems in a newborn if the mother takes the medicine late in pregnancy (during the third trimester). However, you may have a relapse of depression if you stop taking your antidepressant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Do not start or stop taking venlafaxine during pregnancy without your doctor's advice.

You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

Venlafaxine is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

How should I take venlafaxine?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Venlafaxine should be taken with food. Try to take venlafaxine at the same time each day.

Swallow the extended-release capsule or tablet whole and do not crush, chew, break, or open it.

If you cannot swallow a capsule whole, open it and sprinkle the medicine into a spoonful of applesauce. Swallow the mixture right away without chewing. Do not save it for later use.

It may take several weeks before your symptoms improve. Keep using the medication as directed. Do not stop using venlafaxine without first talking to your doctor. You may have unpleasant side effects if you stop taking this medicine suddenly.

Your blood pressure will need to be checked often.

This medicine may affect a drug-screening urine test and you may have false results. Tell the laboratory staff that you use venlafaxine.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Effexor XR Patient Information including If I Miss a Dose

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking venlafaxine?

Drinking alcohol with this medicine can cause side effects.

Ask your doctor before taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, and others. Using an NSAID with venlafaxine may cause you to bruise or bleed easily.

Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired.

What other drugs will affect venlafaxine?

Using venlafaxine with other drugs that make you drowsy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before using opioid medication, a sleeping pill, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety or seizures.

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines. Many drugs can affect venlafaxine, especially:

This list is not complete and many other drugs may affect venlafaxine. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about venlafaxine.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

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