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Effexor XR

Generic Name: venlafaxine (VEN la fax een)
Brand Name: Effexor XR

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on May 4, 2018 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is Effexor XR?

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

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

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

Important Information

Do not use Effexor XR 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 Effexor XR without first talking to your doctor.

Before taking this medicine

You should not take Effexor XR if you are allergic to Effexor XR or desthis medicine (Pristiq).

Do not use Effexor XR 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 Effexor XR 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.

Effexor XR 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 this medicine during pregnancy without your doctor's advice.

You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

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

How should I take Effexor XR?

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

Effexor XR should be taken with food. Try to take this medicine 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 Effexor XR 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 Effexor XR.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

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 Effexor XR?

Drinking alcohol with Effexor XR 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 Effexor XR 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.

Effexor XR side effects

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 other drugs will affect Effexor XR?

Using Effexor XR 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 Effexor XR, especially:

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

Further information

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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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