VENLAFAXINE (Effexor®) is an antidepressant, a medicine that helps to lift mental depression. Venlafaxine can help patients whose depression has not responded to other medications. Venlafaxine is also effective for the treatment of anxiety or other nervous conditions. Occasionally it is prescribed for other purposes. Generic venlafaxine tablets are available.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions: • anorexia or weight loss • attempted suicide • high blood pressure or heart problems • kidney disease • liver disease • mania or bipolar disorder • seizures (convulsions) • suicidal thoughts or a previous suicide attempt • an unusual or allergic reaction to venlafaxine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives • pregnant or trying to get pregnant • breast-feeding
How should I take this medicine?
Take venlafaxine tablets by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. Take venlafaxine tablets with food. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking the tablets except on your prescriber's advice.
Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is less than two hours to your next dose, take only that dose and skip the missed dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What drug(s) may interact with venlafaxine?
• alcohol • amphetamine • certain migraine headache medicines (almotriptan, eletriptan, frovatriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, sumatriptan, zolmitriptan) • cimetidine • dextroamphetamine • furazolidone • linezolid • lithium • medicines for heart rhythm or blood pressure • medications for weight control or appetite • medicines called MAO inhibitors-phenelzine (Nardil®), tranylcypromine (Parnate®), isocarboxazid (Marplan®) • other medicines for mental depression, mania, psychosis, or anxiety • procarbazine • selegiline • St. John's wort, Hypericum perforatum
Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.
What side effects may I notice from taking venlafaxine?
Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible: Rare or uncommon: • abnormal body movements, for example, of your tongue or upper body • difficulty breathing • fainting spells • problems passing urine (increase or decrease in frequency) • mania (over-active behavior) • rapid heartbeat, or palpitations • seizures (convulsions) More common: • agitation, anxiety, or restlessness, especially in the first week of treatment or when doses are changed • changes in vision (blurred vision) • sexual difficulties (abnormal ejaculation or orgasm, difficult or painful erections, impotence) • vomiting
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome): • anxiety • dry mouth • constipation • dizziness, drowsiness • increased sweating • loss of appetite, loss of weight • nausea • tremor • weakness or tiredness
What should I watch for while taking venlafaxine?
Visit your prescriber or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. You may have to take venlafaxine for 4 weeks before you feel better. If you have been taking venlafaxine for some time, do not suddenly stop taking it. You must gradually reduce the dose to avoid side effects. Ask your prescriber or health care professional for advice.
Patients and their families should watch out for worsening depression or thoughts of suicide. Also watch out for sudden or severe changes in feelings such as feeling anxious, agitated, panicky, irritable, hostile, aggressive, impulsive, severely restless, overly excited and hyperactive, or not being able to sleep. If this happens, especially at the beginning of antidepressant treatment or after a change in dose, call your health care professional.
Venlafaxine can cause an increase in blood pressure. Check with your prescriber or health care professional; you may be able to measure your own blood pressure and pulse. Find out what your blood pressure and heart rate should be and when you should contact him or her.
You may get drowsy, dizzy or have blurred vision. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how venlafaxine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol may increase dizziness or drowsiness; avoid alcoholic drinks.
Venlafaxine can make your mouth dry. Chewing sugarless gum, sucking hard candy and drinking plenty of water will help.
Do not treat yourself for coughs, colds, or allergies without asking your prescriber or health care professional for advice. Some ingredients may increase possible side effects.
If you are going to have surgery, tell your prescriber or health care professional that you are taking venlafaxine.
Where can I keep my medicine?
Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.
Store at a controlled temperature between 20 degrees and 25 degrees C (68 degrees and 77 degrees F), in a dry place. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.