VENLAFAXINE- Effexor, Effexor XR

Habit forming? No
Prescription needed? Yes
Available as generic? Yes, for some
Drug class: Antidepressant; Antineuralogic

Treatment for major depressive disorder.

- Treatment for diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

- Treatment for generalized anxiety disorder.

- May be used for chronic pain syndrome, social anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, hot flashes, stress incontinence or other disorders.

How to take Effexor:

- Tablet (venlafaxine): Swallow Effexor whole with liquid. Take Effexor with food to avoid stomach upset.

- Extended-release capsule (venlafaxine): Swallow whole with liquid. Take with food to avoid stomach upset. Capsule may be opened and contents sprinkled into a spoonful of applesauce and then swallowed.

- Delayed-release capsule (duloxetine): Swallow Effexor with liquid. May be taken with or with-out food. Do not open, crush or chew capsule.

When to take Effexor:

- At the same times each day (with meals or with a snack for venlafaxine).

If you forget an Effexor dose:

- Take Effexor as soon as you remember.

- If it is almost time for the next dose, wait for that dose (don't double this dose) and resume regular schedule.

What drug does:

- Increases level of two brain chemicals (serotonin and norepinephrine) that affect behavior and mood and play a role in depression.

Time lapse before drug works:

- Begins in 1 to 3 weeks, but may take 4 to 6 weeks for maximum benefit.

Don't take with:

- Any other medicine or any dietary supplement without consulting your doctor or pharmacist.

Extreme drowsiness or tiredness or weakness, seizure, fast heartbeat, tingling or burning sensation, tremor, nausea, vomiting, agitation, hyperactive, enlarged pupils. In some cases, may have no symptoms.


Rare allergic reaction- Breathing difficulty; closing of the throat; swelling of hands, feet, face, lips or tongue; hives.

Common Effexor Side Effects:

Nausea, dry mouth, increased sweating, appetite loss, insomnia or drowsiness, fatigue, headache, constipation, diarrhea, rash or itching.

Infrequent Effexor Side Effects:

Mood or behavior or mental changes, dizziness, impotence, less interest in sex or changes in orgasm, skin flushing, stomach upset or pain, vomiting, weight loss, muscle aches or pain, joint pain or swelling, trembling or shaking, vision changes, abnormal dreams, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, fever, cough, frequent or hesitant urination, nervousness, weakness, lightheadedness.

Rare Effexor Side Effects:

Seizures, fainting, irregular heartbeat, abnormal behaviors, severe symptoms such as suicide thoughts or behaviors.


Don't take if:

- You are allergic to serotonin and nor epinephrine reuptake Inhibitors or take MAO inhibitors.

Before you start, consult your doctor If: 

- You have diabetes; heart, liver, or kidney disease; glaucoma; a blood clotting or bleeding problem or high cholesterol.
- You have high or low blood pressure.
- You have thoughts about suicide.

- You have a brain disorder or brain damage or mental retardation. 

- You are losing weight.
- You have bipolar disorder or mania. 

- You have a history of seizures or epilepsy.

- You drink excess amounts of alcohol.

Over age 60:

- No special problems expected.


- Decide with your doctor if drug benefits justify any possible risk to unborn child.


- Venlafaxine passes into milk.

- It is unknown if duloxetine passes into milk.

- Avoid nursing until you finish medicine.

- Consult doctor for advice on maintaining milk supply.

Infants & children:

- Not approved for ages under age 18. If prescribed, carefully read information provided with prescription.

- Contact doctor right away if depression symptoms get worse or there is any talk of suicide or suicide behaviors.

Prolonged use:

- Consult with your doctor on a regular basis while taking this drug to check blood pressure and to determine the need for continued treatment.

Skin & sunlight:

- No special problems expected.

Driving, piloting or hazardous work:

- Don't drive or pilot aircraft until you learn how medicine affects you.

- Don't work around dangerous machinery.

- Don't climb ladders or work in high places.

- Danger increases if you drink alcohol or take medicine affecting alertness and reflexes.


- Don't discontinue without consulting doctor.

- You may need to reduce the dose gradually. 

- If any new or unusual symptoms develop (emotional or physical) after you discontinue the drug, call your doctor right away.

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