Venlafaxine XR (Effexor XR) is a prescription medicine used to treat depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder in adults. It is believed to help treat depression by affecting the levels of 2 chemicals in the brain — serotonin and norepinephrine. Correcting the imbalance of these 2 chemicals may help relieve symptoms of depression.
Important information about Venlafaxine XR
People taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) should not take this medicine. MAOIs can cause a very serious reaction or even death if taken at the same time as Venlafaxine XR. Stop taking your MAOI at least 14 days before beginning Venlafaxine XR. Similarly, you should wait 7 days after stopping Venlafaxine XR before starting an MAOI. Be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist if a medicine you are taking is an MAOI.
It is important that both adults and children treated with Venlafaxine XR should be watched closely for signs that their condition is getting worse or that they are becoming suicidal. This is true especially when they first start therapy or when their dose is increased or decreased. Patients should also be watched for becoming agitated, irritable, hostile, impulsive, or restless. Such symptoms should be reported to the patient’s doctor right away.
Can children take Venlafaxine XR?
Venlafaxine XR is not approved for use in children under 18. Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in studies in children and teenagers with depression and other psychiatric disorders.
Should I avoid anything while taking Venlafaxine XR?
It’s important to tell your doctor if you are pregnant, intend to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. Newborns whose mothers used Venlafaxine XR late in the third trimester have had problems. Because of those problems, the newborns needed long hospital stays, help with breathing, and tube feeding.
Until you see how the medication affects you, be careful doing such activities as driving a car or operating machinery. Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Venlafaxine XR.
Does Venlafaxine XR have any side effects?
The most common side effects include:
- Abnormal ejaculation
- Dry mouth
- Abnormal vision
- Loss of appetite
Tell your doctor right away if you have:
- Increases in heart rate
- Extreme confusion or seizures, which may indicate very low levels of sodium in the blood
- Abnormal bleeding or bruising
- Sudden, unexpected eye pain, eye redness, or changes in vision, which may indicate increased eye pressure
- Symptoms of mania or hypomania, such as persistently elevated or irritable mood, a decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, hyperactivity, and rapid, excessive speech
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