Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availableClass: Mental health

Effexor 

(venlafaxine)

Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availableClass: Mental health
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Improves mood and helps you relax.

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Our bottom line

Effexor (Venlafaxine) is good for treating depression and anxiety. It may work when other antidepressants haven't, but it's more likely to cause side effects and withdrawal symptoms than other antidepressants.

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Best available price for 60 (75mg) tablets of venlafaxine
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Upsides

  • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • Lowers relapse rates of depression.
  • Causes more sleepiness than other antidepressants, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
  • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
  • Might work when other antidepressants haven't worked since it affects two chemicals in the brain that impact your mood. Many other antidepressants affect only serotonin, but not norepinephrine too.
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Downsides

  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
  • Not the best option for people with high blood pressure.
  • Overdosing on this medication could be fatal.
  • It's more likely to cause nausea and vomiting or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants. Also causes more sleepiness than others.
  • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than 24.
  • The first antidepressant you try doesn't always work or it can cause side effects you really don't like. You might need to try a few different medications until you find one that works for you.
How it works

Effexor (Venlafaxine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulate mood.

What to expect when you take Effexor (venlafaxine) for Depression

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Side effect rates for Effexor (venlafaxine)

1936 From clinical trials of Effexor / Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep difficulty
  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Abnormal ejaculation
  • Constipation
  • Sweating
  • Loss of appetite

Risks and Warnings for Effexor (venlafaxine)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Age 24 years or younger

    Effexor (Venlafaxine) may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior. Watch for worsening depression or any unusual changes in mood or behavior, especially during the first few months of treatment or when the dose changes. Report anything concerning to a doctor immediately. Effexor (Venlafaxine) is not approved for use in children younger than age 18.

    This is a black box warning. The FDA requires this warning when there is a significant risk of serious or life-threatening effects that anyone taking the drug should consider.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Common concerns from people taking Effexor (venlafaxine)

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Pregnancy
Alcohol
  • Do not use alcohol while taking this drug - I had 3 drinks one evening while on this, which normally would make me tipsy, but fine. I nearly ended up in the E.R. because I vomited so much (about 30 times in 2 hours), and I ended up feeling horribly depressed and in terrible stomach and head pain. Also made my anxiety significantly worse.
  • Venlafaxine and a generous amount of alcohol (as in a night of partying) may cause a state of hypomania with very impolitic behaviour.
Food
  • Take it in the morning after breakfast is the best way. If you don't want to eat with it, still take it in the morning. It helps with energy for me.
  • Take this with food as prescribed or you feel awful.
  • Try never forget a dose, and take with a meal. I'm unluckily much hungrier since I take it, and eat much more carbs than before. More nervous energy, less physical energy.
Sex
  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
  • Orgasm and ejaculation can be very difficult. Do NOT miss a dose. I thought I was dying.
  • Switched from prozac to effexor to avoid low libido. It did not make a difference in this area at all, if not it made the problem worse. Weight gain of 20 lbs in 1 year and we months of treatment. Also caused horrible constipation. Would never take again!
Sleep
  • Take it night. Sleep like a baby.
  • Made me very sleepy. Felt nauseous if I didn't take daily dose at the same time every day. I also noticed that I felt really hot all the time and sweaty. Worked fairly well for addressing depression concerns but was not worth the drowsiness
  • Very drowsy on it. Low sex drive... still worked better than Zoloft.
Weight
  • weight gain is an issue
  • Been on XR version for a bit over a month. I take it in the AM because it gives me energy. Helps me focus and I feel a lot better. Have lost a little weight too!
  • This mediction caused huge weight gain for me and the withdrawal symptoms are awful. The body shocks as you are coming off this medication are terrible!