Effexor


Venlafaxine extended release (generic) EFFEXOR XR (BRAND)

Classification

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor antidepressant (SNRI).

Common usage

Venlafaxine extended release (XR) is approved for the treatment of depression, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder (SAD) in adults. Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients has not been established.

Warnings

Antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of venlafaxine or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need. Patients who are started on therapy should be observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be aware of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. It is also important to know that depression and other serious mental illnesses are the most important causes of suicidal thought and action.

Side effects

Loss of appetite, weight loss, sleepiness, insomnia, nervousness, nausea, constipation, dry mouth, dizziness, sexual dysfunction, increased sweating, abnormal vision and mood swings, have all been reported by some patients taking venlafaxine XR.

Discontinuation of venlafaxine XR can cause similar problems and should be done slowly under the close supervision of your health care provider.

In some patients, venlafaxine treatment is associated with sustained increases in blood pressure; therefore, the manufacturer recommends that patients receiving venlafaxine XR have regular monitoring of blood pressure. If you are planning to become pregnant, are pregnant or are a nursing mother, the potential benefits of venlafaxine must be weighed against the possible risks. Discuss these issues in advance with all of your health care providers.

All patients being treated with antidepressants for any reason should be monitored appropriately and carefully observed for worsening of symptoms, suicidality, or any unusual changes in behavior. This is particularly important during the first few months of medication treatment, when the dose changes, or when the medication is stopped.

This is not a complete list of all known or potential adverse effects. Notify your doctor of any symptoms that have started since you began taking this medication, changing its dose, or adding or changing other medication or diet. Take care when performing any task (for example, driving or operating machinery) that requires your attention until you have experience with this drug and are confident you can perform the task safely.

Interactions with other medications

Venlafaxine XR may interact with other antidepressants, cimetidine (Tagamet); haloperidol (Haldol); metoprolol (Lopressor, Topol XL); ketoconazole (Nizoral); and other central nervous system (CNS)-active drugs. Venlafaxine XR should not be taken within 14 days of discontinuing a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) antidepressant, and an MAOI antidepressant should not be taken within at least seven days of discontinuing venlafaxine.

This is not a complete list of all known or potential drug interactions. To help prevent problems, always make sure that your pharmacist and all prescribers know about all medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs; dietary herbal supplements; folk or home remedies; or unusual foods, drinks, or dietary habits.

Common dosages

Venlafaxine XR should be taken as a single dose with food either in the morning or in the evening at approximately the same time each day. Each capsule should be swallowed whole with fluid and not divided, crushed, chewed or placed in water. For most adult patients, the recommended starting dose for depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder is 75 mg daily, for panic disorder 37.5mg daily. The maximum recommended dose for adults is 225 mg daily, although people with severe depression may need higher doses. People with liver or kidney impairment may need lower doses of venlafaxine XR. If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as possible unless fewer than six hours remain until your next dose. Continue your REGULAR schedule with the next dose. Do not double the doses.

Identification

Venlafaxine XR capsules are available in 37.5 mg, 75 mg and 150 mg capsules. The 37.5 mg capsules have a grey cap and peach body with “W” and “Effexor XR” on the cap and “37.5” on the body. The 75-mg capsules have a peach cap and body with “W” and “Effexor XR” on the cap and “75” on the body. The 150-mg capsules have a dark orange cap and body with “W” and “Effexor XR” on the cap and “150” on the body.

Storage

Store this medication at normal room temperature (68° F to 77° F) in a tightly closed, light- and moisture-resistant container. If you have difficulty opening child-resistant containers, your pharmacist can provide a container that is easier to open. Keep the medication out of direct sunlight and avoid storing it in a warm or humid area — such as the bathroom or kitchen — to prevent deterioration. To prevent accidental poisoning, keep all medications out of the reach of children. Do not take an expired medication. Do not transfer medication from one container to another. Carefully discard discontinued medication where children cannot find it.

Effexor more effective in depression therapy

The antidepressant Effexor (venlafaxine), a serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor, was found to be more effective than 10 other medications, including all of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that were involved in the comparison, for treating depression, according to findings in the British Journal of Psychiatry. Researchers found that patients who received Effexor were 43 percent more likely to achieve symptomatic remission than those who received SSRIs.

The most plausible explanation for Effexor’s increased efficacy is its capacity to inhibit reuptake of noradrenaline as well as serotonin, said Peter Lin, medical director at the Health and Wellness Centre in Scarborough, Ontario. Researchers examined data collected from 5,562 participants in 32 studies to compare the efficacy of Effexor with SSRIs and tricyclics (TCAs) in depression therapy.