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Effexor is a potent inhibitor of the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine-two neurotransmitters, thought to play important roles in the pathophysiology of depression. Correcting the imbalance of these two chemicals may help relieve symptoms of depression.
Effexor comes as a capsule to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day and should be taken with food. Each capsule should be swallowed whole with fluid and not divided, crushed, chewed, or placed in water, or it may be administered by carefully opening the capsule and sprinkling the entire contents on a spoonful of applesauce. This drug/food mixture should be swallowed immediately without chewing and followed with a glass of water to ensure complete swallowing of the pellets.
Drug Class and Mechanism
Venlafaxine is in a new class of anti-depressant medications that affects chemical messengers within the brain. These chemical messengers are called neurotransmitters, and some examples are serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Neurotransmitters are manufactured by nerve cells and are released by the cells. The neurotransmitters travel to nearby nerve cells and cause the cells to become more or less active. Many experts believe that an imbalance in these neurotransmitters is the cause of depression and also may play a role in anxiety. Venlafaxine is believed to work by inhibiting the release or affecting the action of these neurotransmitters. Venlafaxine is available in an extended release formulation (Effexor XR).
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take only the next one as directed. Do not take a double dose of this medication.
Store Effexor at room temperature (68F to 77F or 20C to 25C). Keep Effexor away from children.
Possible Side Effects
If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking Effexor and contact your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical treatment: an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives); seizures; or an irregular heartbeat or severely high blood pressure (blurred vision, headache).
Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take Effexor and talk to your doctor if you experience nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, abdominal pain, or loss of appetite or weight; dry mouth; drowsiness or dizziness; mild tremor, anxiety, or agitation; insomnia; abnormal dreams; sexual problems such as impotence, abnormal ejaculation, difficulty reaching orgasm, or decreased libido; sweating; yawning; or increase in blood cholesterol levels (detected by blood tests); Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.
If you have any of the following serious side effects, stop taking venlafaxine and contact your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical treatment: an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives); low blood pressure (dizziness, weakness); high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision); fever or chills.
Less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take venlafaxine and talk to your doctor if you experience sweating; blurred vision; insomnia; weakness; nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation; decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; dry mouth; remor, nervousness, anxiety trouble concentrating; or changes in appetite or weight.
Side effects, other than those listed here, may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.