Venlafaxine is an antidepressant medication used to treat depression and various anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.
This medication belongs to the class of selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and works by enhancing the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, which are natural neurotransmitters that play a role in regulating mental stability.
Uses and Dosage
Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this medication, typically once daily with food, either in the morning or evening.
Do not crush, chew, or dissolve the medication, as doing so can release all of the drug at once and increase the risk of side effects. Swallow the medication whole without crushing or chewing.
If you have difficulty swallowing capsules, you may open them and sprinkle the contents onto a spoonful of applesauce. Swallow the entire mixture immediately without chewing, followed by a glass of water.
The dosage is determined by your medical condition and response to treatment. To minimize side effects, your doctor may advise starting at a low dose and gradually increasing it. Adhere to your doctor’s instructions and take the medication regularly at the same time each day.
Continue taking this medication even if you feel well, and do not discontinue without consulting your doctor, as some conditions may worsen if the drug is abruptly stopped. Abrupt cessation may also cause symptoms such as confusion, mood swings, blurred vision, headache, tiredness, sleep changes, and brief sensations akin to electric shock. Your dose may need to be reduced gradually to mitigate side effects.
It may take several weeks to feel the effects of this medication. If your condition persists or worsens, notify your doctor.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- abnormal dreams
- decrease in sexual desire or ability
- dry mouth
- increased sweating
- loss of appetite
- stomach pain or gas
- stuffy or runny nose
- tingling, burning, or prickly sensations
- trouble sleeping
- weight loss
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following serious side effects occur:
- change or problem with discharge of semen
- decreased interest in sexual intercourse
- inability to have or keep an erection
- lack or loss of strength
- loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
- severe headache
- blurred vision
- chest pain
- delayed or inability to have an orgasm
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- mood or mental changes
- ringing or buzzing in the ears
- suicidal thoughts
Prior to using venlafaxine, inform your physician or pharmacist of any known allergies to the medication or its inactive ingredients. A comprehensive medical history must be shared, including any history of bleeding disorders, glaucoma, hypertension, cardiac issues, high cholesterol, kidney or liver disease, seizure disorders, and thyroid disorders.
During treatment with venlafaxine, individuals may experience dizziness, drowsiness, or blurred vision. Engaging in activities that require alertness or clear vision, such as driving or operating machinery, should be avoided.
Refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages. In case of marijuana use, consultation with a doctor is necessary.
Children may be more susceptible to adverse effects of the drug, particularly weight loss and loss of appetite, and therefore, it is crucial to monitor their weight and height.
During pregnancy, the use of venlafaxine should only be considered when the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks. The medication has the potential to harm an unborn child and newborns may rarely exhibit withdrawal symptoms such as feeding difficulties, seizures, muscle stiffness, and excessive crying. The medication is present in breast milk and may cause adverse effects in nursing infants, thus consultation with a doctor is necessary prior to breastfeeding.
Form and Strength
Effexor XR is available in the following forms and strengths:
Effexor extended-release capsule:
venlafaxine xr capsule:
How does Effexor XR make you feel when you first start taking it?
You can feel drowsy in the first few days of taking Effexor XR. This should get better after the first week or two. You could also, strangely, get insomnia, and disturbing dreams or nightmares.
How long do most people stay on Effexor XR?
Once you’re feeling better it’s likely that you will continue to take Effexor XR for several more months. Most doctors recommend that you take antidepressants for 6 months to 1 year after you no longer feel depressed.