Effexor (venlafaxine)

Effexor (venlafaxine)

Effexor (venlafaxine)

Effexor is in the class of selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and is used to help stabilize people suffering from depression and other disorders.

What is Effexor?


Effexor is an antidepressant from the class of selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). It primarily affects the neurotransmitter serotonin by decreasing its absorption, thus increasing the body’s serotonin level. This causes a decrease in symptoms of depression and anxiety. Efffexor dosage is determined by conditions being treated and types of drugs being used.

Uses of Effexor

Like other SNRI medications, Effexor is used to stabilize those who suffer from depression and other disorders. It works by increasing the body’s amount of neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are serotonin, norepinephrine, acetylcholine and dopamine

Effexor is used for the treatment of major depressive disorder. It is also sometimes used to treat panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety, though it is not prescribed for everyday levels of stress. It is also sometimes used to treat hot flashes and migraines. Effexor is regularly used in the treatment of alcohol dependency because it addresses anxiety and depression.

Effexor is not generally prescribed for bipolar disorder, as both manic and hypomanic episodes may result. Effexor should not be combined with other stimulants and caution should be taken when it is combined with Wellbutrin and tramadol. Effexor lowers the seizure threshold, so there is a risk of seizures when taking this medication.

It may take 6-8 weeks before the full benefits of Effexor take effect. Long-term usage of Effexor should be monitored every 3 months in order to reevaluate its efficacy. Withdrawal symptoms will occur if the drug is not tapered before stopping.

Side Effects of Using Effexor

Effexormay cause side effects. These include:

  • Increased depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Irritability
  • Abnormal behaviors
  • Chest pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Fainting spells

Notify your doctor if these side effects do not go away or are severe.

Some less common but more serious side effects are:

  • Stiff muscles
  • Feeling of unsteadiness and poor coordination
  • Tremors
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Weakness
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizure
  • Cough
  • Shallow breathing
  • Increased depression or suicidal thoughts
  • Easy bruising

If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately.

Effexor Withdrawal

As with all SNRI antidepressants, many people experience withdrawal symptoms when stopping Effexor. Consult your doctor before stopping Effexor use, as symptoms are decreased by slowly tapering off this medication. While withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening, they may be quite uncomfortable. They include:

  • Headache and “brain zaps”
  • Mood changes or anxiety
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia and tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Nightmares
  • Feeling frenzied

Sometimes, symptoms occur after use of the drug has stopped. These can include:

  • Depersonalization
  • Diarrhea
  • Euphoria
  • Fear
  • Changes in dreams
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Crying

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