Effexor XR

Effexor XR Medication Information:

Price Break On Effexor XR
Generic is available for less money: Generic Venlafaxine XR

Effexor XR medication comes in several different strengths; click on the strength you need to view prices from pharmacies competing to earn your business.

Effexor XR 37.500 mg
Effexor XR 75 mg
Effexor XR 150 mg

Effexor XR General Information

Effexor XR is the brand name for the extended release formulation of venafaxine hydrochloride, one of the most popularly prescribed antidepressants currently available on the market.

How does Effexor XR work?

Effexor XR is used to treat major depression, and occasionally it is used to treat anxiety, especially in conjunction with depression. Effexor XR can also be prescribed to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and is being investigated as a means of preventing migraine headaches. Effexor XR is a drug which prevents the reuptake and subsequent breakdown of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. These are naturally occurring chemicals in the brain which help to regulate mood. By preventing their reuptake, Effexor XR allows these chemicals to more effectively perform their job in the brain, and thus mitigate the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Since Effexor XR affects two groups of neurotransmitters, it is more effective at treating some symptoms of anxiety and depression than drugs which only affect serotonin. The extended release aspect of Effexor XR allows it to dissolve into the body slowly, so that patients only have to take the pill once a day in order to receive 24-hour treatment, and this helps to reduce nausea and other side effects of the drug.

When/How is Effexor XR taken/used/applied?

Effexor XR is often used when a patient with major depressive disorder does not respond to traditional antidepressants, which only affect serotonin levels. Effexor XR is normally more effective than similar drugs in treating depression symptoms, and has a lower rate of symptom relapse than other drugs. Effexor XR can also be used in treating certain types of anxiety, and is particularly useful for alleviating symptoms of both anxiety and depression when they are simultaneously present in an individual. Effexor XR is taken orally at the same time each day by the patient, either in the evening or morning, with a meal. The capsule must be swallowed whole, and not chewed or placed in water, in order to ensure that the extended release formulation remains intact. If an individual is unable to swallow the pill, it may be opened, and the contents could be placed on applesauce, as long as the caplets inside of the pill are not chewed before swallowing. Generally patients begin with a starting dose of 37.5 mg to 75 mg per day, which can then be adjusted as needed under a doctor's supervision.

Side Effects of Effexor XR

The side effects of Effexor XR vary depending on what disorder the medication is being used to treat. For patients with major depressive disorder, gastrointestinal issues were the most common, such as nausea, a lack of desire to eat, and dry mouth. Some patients experienced dizziness, insomnia, a feeling of overstimulation, and sexual dysfunctions such as decreased libido or temporary impotence. Patients with panic disorder reported similar gastrointestinal complaints to the group treated for depression, and also abnormal vision and sweating. For all groups, nausea, headaches, constipation and indigestion were the most common complaints, and less than 5-10% of the test groups reported insomnia, hypertension, overstimulation, and sexual dysfunctions. For many patients, the side effects of Effexor XR, especially the gastrointestinal and stimuatory effects, tend to decrease as the patient becomes better accustomed to the drug.

Other Brand Names for Effexor XR:

Venlafaxine XR (generic)
Co Venlafaxine XR
Gen-Venlafaxine XR
Riva-Venlafaxine XR

Safety Information:

Although Effexor XR is generally well-tolerated in most patients, special care must be taken when administering it to children, adolescents and patients who have a history of suicidal ideation, since there is a risk of self-destructive behavior as a result of the treatment. Effexor XR should not be administered with other serotinergic drugs, such as SSRI antidepressants, tramadol, or St. John's Wort, due to the risk of potentially fatal serotonin syndrome. Additionally, patients with hypertension, or with a lifestyle that puts them at risk for hypertension, should visit a doctor regularly during treatment with Effexor XR in order to ensure that their heart rate and blood pressure remain within normal ranges. Patients with glaucoma are advised to have more frequent eye checks while taking Effexor XR, due to potential increases in eye pressure. Finally, the effects of Effexor XR on pregnant women have not been fully researched, so caution is urged with treating pregnant women with Effexor XR, and many doctors recommend to only continue treatment if absolutely necessary.

Dosage:

  • Capsule - 37.5 mg
  • Capsule - 75 mg
  • Capsule - 150 mg

Visual Description:

  • Capsule - 37.5 mg - This is a half-blue, half-white capsule with red writing. It has the Wyeth "W" logo at the top of the capsule, with "Effexor XR" written underneath, and the number "37.5" at the bottom.
  • Capsule - 75 mg - This is a pink capsule with red writing. It has the Wyeth "W" logo at the top of the capsule, with "Effexor XR" written underneath, and the number "75" at the bottom.
  • Capsule - 150 mg - This is a red capsule with white writing. It has the Wyeth "W" logo at the top of the capsule, with "Effexor XR" written underneath, and the number "150" at the bottom.

About Effexor XR

What Effexor XR is used for

EFFEXOR XR has been prescribed to you by your doctor to relieve your symptoms of the following conditions:

  • Depression (feeling sad, a change in appetite or weight, difficulty concentrating or sleeping, feeling tired, headaches, unexplained aches and pain)

  • Generalized anxiety or nervousness

  • Social phobia (social anxiety disorder)—avoidance and/or fear of social situations

  • Panic disorder (repeated, unexpected panic attacks)

What Effexor XR does

EFFEXOR XR belongs to a group of medicines called antidepressants. EFFEXOR XR is thought to work by affecting two naturally occurring brain chemicals, serotonin and norepinephrine.

When Effexor XR should not be used

  • Do not use EFFEXOR XR if you are allergic to it or to any of the components of its formulation (see list of components at the end of this section). Stop taking the drug and contact your doctor immediately if you experience an allergic reaction or any severe or unusual side effects.

  • Do not use EFFEXOR XR if you are currently taking or have recently taken monoamine oxidase inhibitor antidepressants (e.g. phenelzine sulphate, moclobemide).

What the medicinal ingredient is

Venlafaxine Hydrochloride.

What the nonmedicinal ingredients for Effexor XR are

Black Iron Oxide NF{*Present (in capsule) in 37.5 mg strength only.}, Ethylcellulose NF, Gelatin NF, Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose USP, Microcrystalline cellulose NF, Opacode Red Print S-15094/45{†37.5 and 75 mg strengths.}, Red Iron Oxide{‡Present (in capsule) in all strengths.}, Talc, Titanium Dioxide‡, White Ink TekPrint SB-0007P{§150 mg strength.}, Yellow Iron Oxide‡.

What dosage forms Effexor XR comes in

EFFEXOR XR is available in extended release capsules containing 37.5 mg (grey and peach), 75 mg (peach) and 150 mg (dark orange) venlafaxine.


Warnings and Precautions

During treatment with these types of medication it is important that you and your doctor have good ongoing communication about how you are feeling.

EFFEXOR XR is not for use in children under 18 years of age.

New or Worsened Emotional or Behavioural Problems

Particularly in the first few weeks or when doses are adjusted, a small number of patients taking drugs of this type may feel worse instead of better; for example, they may experience unusual feelings of agitation, hostility or anxiety, or have impulsive or disturbing thoughts such as thoughts of self-harm or harm to others. Should this happen to you, or to those in your care if you are a caregiver or guardian, consult your doctor immediately. Close observation by a doctor is necessary in this situation. Do not discontinue your medication on your own.

Before taking EFFEXOR XR tell your doctor or pharmacist

  • if you have ever had any allergic reaction to medications, food, etc;

  • all your medical conditions, including a history of seizures, liver disease, kidney disease, heart problems or high cholesterol, or history of any abnormal bleeding;

  • if you have blood pressure problems;

  • any medications (prescription or non-prescription) which you are taking, especially monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors (e.g. phenelzine sulfate, tranylcypromine sulfate, moclobemide or selegeline) or any other antidepressants, weight-loss medication, sleeping pills, antianxiety drugs, or medication to control blood pressure;

  • if you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, or if you are breast feeding;

  • your habits of alcohol and/or street drug consumption;

  • any natural or herbal products you are taking (e.g., St. John's Wort).

  • if you drive a vehicle or perform hazardous tasks during your work.

Discontinuing EFFEXOR XR

It is very important that you do NOT stop taking these medications without first consulting your doctor. See Side Effects and What to Do About Them: section for more information.

Effects on Pregnancy and Newborns

Post-marketing reports indicate that some newborns whose mothers took an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) or other newer antidepressants, such as EFFEXOR XR, during pregnancy have developed complications at birth requiring prolonged hospitalization, breathing support and tube feeding. Reported symptoms included feeding and/or breathing difficulties, seizures, tense or overly relaxed muscles, jitteriness and constant crying.

In most cases, the SSRI or other newer antidepressant was taken during the third trimester of pregnancy. These symptoms are consistent with either a direct adverse effect of the antidepressant on the baby, or possibly a discontinuation syndrome caused by sudden withdrawal from the drug. These symptoms normally resolve over time. However, if your baby experiences any of these symptoms, contact your doctor as soon as you can.

If you are pregnant and taking an SSRI, or other newer antidepressant, you should discuss the risks and benefits of the various treatment options with your doctor. It is very important that you do NOT stop taking these medications without first consulting your doctor. See Side Effects and What to Do About Them: section for more information.


Interactions with Effexor XR

Do not use EFFEXOR XR if you are taking or have recently taken monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

You should avoid taking St. John's Wort if you are taking EFFEXOR XR.

You should tell your doctor if you are taking or have recently taken any medications (prescription, non-prescription or natural/herbal), especially:

  • other antidepressants, such as SSRIs and certain tricyclics

  • other drugs that affect serotonin such as, lithium, linezolid, sibutramine, tramadol, tryptophan, triptans used to treat migraines

  • certain medicines used to treat schizophrenia

  • certain medicines used to treat bipolar depression, such as lithium

  • metoprolol or other medications used to treat high blood pressure and angina

  • certain medicines which may affect blood clotting and increase bleeding, such as oral anti-coagulants (e.g. warfarin), aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. ibuprofen)

  • certain medicines used to treat epilepsy

  • cimetidine

  • In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum or avoided completely while taking EFFEXOR XR.

  • ketoconazole.


Proper Use of Effexor XR

Usual dose

  • It is very important that you take EFFEXOR XR exactly as your doctor has instructed.

  • Never increase or decrease the amount of EFFEXOR XR you, or those in your care if you are a caregiver or guardian, are taking unless your doctor tells you to and do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

  • As with all antidepressants improvement with EFFEXOR XR is gradual. You may not have noticeable effect in the first few days of treatment. Some symptoms may begin to improve within about 2 weeks but significant improvement can take several weeks.

  • EFFEXOR XR should be taken once a day with food, as prescribed; do not divide, crush or chew the capsules.

Remember: This medicine has been prescribed only for you. Do not give it to anybody else. If you have any further questions, please ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Overdose

In case of overdose, contact your doctor or the nearest hospital emergency department, even though you may not feel sick.

Missed dose

If you happen to miss a dose, do not try to make up for it by doubling up on the dose next time. Just take your next regularly scheduled dose and try not to miss any more.


Side Effects for Effexor XR and What to Do About Them

Like all medications, EFFEXOR XR can cause some side effects. You may not experience any of them. For most patients these side effects are likely to be minor and temporary. However, some may be serious. Some of these side effects may be dose related. Consult your doctor if you experience these or other side effects, as the dose may have to be adjusted.

If you experience an allergic reaction (including red skin, hives, itching, swelling of the lips, face, tongue, throat, trouble breathing, wheezing, shortness of breath, skin rashes, blisters of the skin, sores or pain in the mouth or eyes) or any severe or unusual side effects, stop taking the drug and contact your doctor immediately.

Some side effects of EFFEXOR XR are:

  • headache

  • nausea

  • dry mouth

  • constipation

  • loss of appetite

  • vomiting

  • sleepiness

  • dizziness

  • insomnia

  • sexual problems

  • weakness

  • sweating

  • nervousness

  • abnormal vision

Particularly in the first few weeks or when doses are adjusted, a small number of patients taking drugs of this type may feel worse instead of better; for example, they may experience unusual feelings of agitation, hostility or anxiety, or have impulsive or disturbing thoughts such as thoughts of self-harm or harm to others. Should this happen to you, or to those in your care if you are a caregiver or guardian, consult your doctor immediately; do not discontinue your medication on your own.

EFFEXOR XR does not usually affect people's normal activities. However, some people feel sleepy while taking it, in which case they should not drive or operate machinery.

Although psychiatric disorders may be associated with decreases in sexual desire, performance and satisfaction, treatment with this medication may also affect sexual functioning.

EFFEXOR XR may increase blood pressure in some people. You should have your blood pressure measured prior to starting EFFEXOR XR and during treatment. High blood pressure should be controlled before starting EFFEXOR XR. Blood pressure changes may sometimes be sudden and without warning. Consult your doctor if you have symptoms that may indicate a sudden rise in your blood pressure, such as headache (particularly in the back of head/neck when waking up); stronger, possibly more rapid, or irregular heart beat; chest pain; dizziness; excessive tiredness; or blurred vision.

EFFEXOR XR may raise cholesterol levels in some patients. Blood cholesterol tests may be required by your doctor during treatment with EFFEXOR XR.

New or Worsened Emotional or Behavioural Problems

A small number of patients taking drugs of this type may feel worse instead of better; for example, they may experience new or worsened feelings of agitation, hostility or anxiety, or thoughts about suicide. Your doctor should be informed of such changes immediately. Close observation by a doctor is necessary in this situation. Do not discontinue your medication on your own. See also Warnings and Precautions:.

Effexor XR Facts

EFFEXOR XR extended-release capsules are distributed by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

How well patients tolerate EFFEXOR XR therapy was evaluated in short-term placebo-controlled clinical trials.

Clinical trials evaluated adverse reactions during EFFEXOR XR treatment in more than 2,400 patients.

EFFEXOR XR obtained original or tentative approval from the FDA on October 20, 1997.

 

Technical Information