Effexor

Effexor treats depression. It may take several weeks before you feel the full benefit of this medication.

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Pharmacist Christine Wicke, PharmD overviews the uses and common side effects of Effexor
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Pharmacist Christine Wicke, PharmD overviews the uses and common side effects of Effexor
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Effexor Overview

Updated: 

Effexor is a prescription medication used to treat adults with major depressive disorder, panic disorder, and anxiety. It belongs to a class of drugs called serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). These work by increasing serotonin and norepinephrine levels, which are natural substances in the brain that help maintain mental balance.

Effexor is available as immediate-release tablets and is usually taken 2 or 3 times a day with food. 

Common side effects of Effexor include dry mouth, insomnia, loss of appetite, and dizziness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Effexor will affect you.

Patient Ratings for Effexor

How was your experience with Effexor?

First, a little about yourself

Tell us about yourself in a few words?

What tips would you provide a friend before taking Effexor?

What are you taking Effexor for?

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  • Other
  • Attention Deficit Disorder With Hyperactivity
  • Autistic Disorder
  • Depressive Disorder
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic
  • Obsessive-compulsive Disorder
  • Pain

How long have you been taking it?

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  • Less than a week
  • A couple weeks
  • A month or so
  • A few months
  • A year or so
  • Two years or more

How well did Effexor work for you?

Did you experience many side effects while taking this drug?

How likely would you be to recommend Effexor to a friend?

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Effexor Cautionary Labels

precautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautions

Uses of Effexor

Effexor is a prescription medication used to treat adults with depression. 

This medication may be prescribed for other uses.  Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Manufacturer

Effexor Drug Class

Effexor is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Effexor

Effexor may cause serious side effects. See "Drug Precautions".

Common side effects include:

  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • insomnia
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • nervousness
  • sexual side effects
  • sleepiness
  • sweating
  • weakness

This is not a complete list of Effexor side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Effexor Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you are taking:

This is not a complete list of Effexor drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Effexor Precautions

1. Antidepressant medicines may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some children, teenagers, and young adults within the first few months of treatment.

2. Depression and other serious mental illnesses are the most important causes of suicidal thoughts and actions. Some people may have a particularly high risk of having suicidal thoughts or actions. These include people who have (or have a family history of) bipolar illness (also called manic-depressive illness) or suicidal thoughts or actions.

3. How can I watch for and try to prevent suicidal thoughts and actions in myself or a family member?

  • Pay close attention to any changes, especially sudden changes, in mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings. This is very important when an antidepressant medicine is started or when the dose is changed.
  • Call the healthcare provider right away to report new or sudden changes in mood, behavior, thoughts, or feelings.
  • Keep all follow-up visits with the healthcare provider as scheduled. Call the healthcare provider between visits as needed, especially if you have concerns about symptoms.

Do not take Effexor if:

  • you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the last 2 weeks
  • you have a history of mania, seizures, or kidney problems

Effexor may make you drowsy. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how this medication affects you.

Effexor Food Interactions

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Effexor there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving Effexor.

Inform MD

Before receiving this medication, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions especially:

  • bipolar disorder
  • heart disease or high blood pressure
  • epilepsy
  • glaucoma
  • liver or kidney disease
  • blood clotting disorder (bleeding disorder)

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take or are planning to take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding.

Effexor and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

This medication falls into category C. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication and had some babies born with problems. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans. Therefore, this medication may be used if the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the potential risks to the unborn child.

Effexor and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed. Effexor may be excreted in human breast milk and may harm your nursing baby.

Effexor Usage

Effexor tablets or capsules should be taken with food, at the same time(s) each day.

Do not suddenly stop taking Effexor without talking to your doctor first. Abruptly stopping Effexor can cause withdrawal symptoms (unpleasant side effects).

If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of Effexor at the same time.

Effexor Dosage

Take Effexor exactly as your doctor prescribes it. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. The dose will depend on several factors including the condition being treated, response to the medicine, and how well the medicine is tolerated.

The usual starting dose of Effexor is 75 mg per day, divided into two or three doses. Some patients will need to be started on 37.5 mg per day and after 4 to 7 days increased to 75 mg per day. Dose increases of up to 75 mg per day may be necessary.

The recommended maximum daily dose is 225 mg, although some patients may require as much as 350 mg per day.

Effexor Overdose

If you take too much Effexor call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

If Effexor is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

Other Requirements

  • Store at controlled room temperature.
  • Keep all medications out of the reach of children.

Effexor FDA Warning

Suicidality and Antidepressant Drugs

Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of Effexor or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. Effexor is not approved for use in pediatric patients.