If you are in a persistently sad frame of mind for a longer duration of time, you may be going through a spell of depression. It can impact your health in many ways if you let it remain untreated. For instance, it can impair your sleep cycles and may also trigger a massive change in your appetite. Your approach may often turn pessimistic and you may see your interest levels drop in activities such as pursuing a hobby or having sex. Drugs belonging to a class of medications called selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (or, SNRIs) are administered to treat depression. Effexor is an SNRI drug used in the treatment of depression. It is widely used despite a few side effects. It is a good practice to know the side effects effexor may trigger.

The clinical name of what is commonly referred as depression is major depressive disorder (MDD). This condition is known for its symptoms such as low levels of physical energy, presence of chronic pain, low level of esteem, etc. Causes for this condition can be many; however, trauma experienced during childhood or physical abuse is often cited as possible reasons. A few chronic illnesses are also known to result in depression.

Depression is treated through psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapies as well as medications. Psychotherapy offered by qualified mental health specialists is more effective. Also, elderly people are found to respond well to such therapies. Electroconvulsive therapy – also known as ECT – is done by triggering convulsions through pulse of electric current. Therapy is offered through multiple sessions, and several times each week. Your doctor may provide these sessions after administering an anesthesia; often, a muscle-relaxing drug is also given.

Among medications offered as treatment, the choice includes selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), etc. SNRIs are antidepressants which can treat depression, social phobias, anxiety, neuropathic-pains, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), fibromyalgia-syndrome, etc. SSRIs, NRIs, SNRIs, etc. are fast replacing earlier versions of antidepressants, such as MAOIs, tricyclic-antidepressants (TCAs) and such medications.

Effexor – How it works?

The generic equivalent of Effexor is venlafaxine. Reuptake capabilities of this drug are highly dependent on the strength of dosage. At higher dosage levels (of say, more than 300 milligrams per day), it can influence dopamine related transmissions. At milder dosage forms – i.e., less than 300 but more than 150 milligrams each day – it can work on noradrenergic as well as serotonergic transmissions. In very low dosage levels of lesser than 150 mg per day, its actions are restricted to serotonergic transmissions.

Effexor is a widely used antidepressant; it helps improve energy levels as well as uplifts your moods. In short, intake of this medication can bring back your interest to pursue everyday activities. It mainly enables a right balance of chemicals such as serotonin and norepinephrine in your brain. It is consumed orally; the common dosage form is twice per day along with a meal.

Side effects of Effexor

Doses may vary, depending on your clinical condition and how well your body responds. In order to make your body get used to it (chiefly, to reduce the side effects), your doctor may start at very low dosage levels of this drug. Always remember that your physician has prescribed effexor as the benefits of this drug outweigh the side effects or risks associated with it. The common side effects include dryness of mouth (owing to dehydration), difficulties to pass stool (constipation), blurring of eyesight, abdominal discomforts like nausea, etc. Commonly experienced side effects also include sleep-related disorders, excessive sweating, dizziness, lightheaded, etc. Most of these side effects may cease to show up after a short span of time. However, if you experience these discomforts for a longer time, you need to talk to your treating physician without much delay.

Other side effects of effexor

In some people, effexor is known to have triggered an increase in blood pressure or hypertension. It is hence a good practice to check your blood pressure level in regular intervals. If blood pressure increases to a very high range, you are advised to talk to your physician immediately. In very remote instances, the drug may trigger some acute side effects. These are pain in the chest, respiratory problems, acute headache, dilated pupils, altered eyesight, convulsions or seizures. In equally rare cases, people have complained of throwing up (with the items thrown up resembling coffee-grounds), pain in the eyes, traces of blood and discoloration of stool, persistent coughing, etc.

Serious side effects

Acute or serious side effects of effexor may include toxicity due to a marked presence of serotonin. This side effect is very likely if you are also taking medications which can increase your brain-chemicals. It is essential to tell your doctor as well as pharmacist about all the medications you are currently consuming. It is also a good practice to share details about other treatment plans that you are presently pursuing.

It is important for you to be watchful of adverse effects such as loss of muscular coordination, being restless or in a confused state of mind, rapid or erratic heartbeats, persistent spell of dizziness, hallucinations, abdominal problems such as diarrhea and vomiting caused by nausea.

Very acute side effects of effexor

Extremely acute side effects caused by effexor are very uncommon. In very rare instances, some people have noticed some allergies like inflammation of body parts – especially, facial organs, rashes on skin, respiratory problems such as gasping for breath, wheezing, etc. and an acute spell of dizziness or drowsiness. You are advised to tell your doctor about any known allergies or hypersensitivity associated with effexor as well as with any inactive ingredients present in this drug.

The above listed side effects and discomforts do not represent a full list. Hence, you may need to stay aware of other changes you may experience as soon as you start taking Effexor. If you experience side effects that are not mentioned here, you need to tell your physician and pharmacist at the earliest possible time. US residents are advised to contact 911 immediately or contact a poison control center without much delay. People residing in Canada can get in touch with Health Canada or a poison control center located in the province they live.

Risks of likely interactions of effexor with other drugs

Effexor may interact with a few other drugs and such interactions may lead to a few adverse side effects. Foremost of all, it is highly recommended to tell your physician and pharmacist about the other drugs you take. You need to know that effexor can interact with blood thinning drugs such as warfarin or dabigatran, a few types of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen or ibuprofen as well as antiplatelet medications like clopidogrel, etc. Intake of aspirin along with effexor can lead to risks of internal bleeding. But, if your medical condition requires intake of lower dosage forms of aspirin, you need to consult your physician. Such doses of aspirin may be required to avoid likely incidence of strokes or cardiac arrests.

Serotonin toxicity

oxidase inhibiting (MAOIs) drugs such as linezolid, safinamide, tranylcypromine, methylene blue, etc. can adversely work with this drug. If you have taken such medications, it is strongly recommended to wait for a few days prior to starting the doses of effexor. Also, if you are taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as paroxetine or fluoxetine, you run the risks of increasing the serotonin levels in your brain. Such risks may loom if you also take serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibiting drugs like duloxetine, etc. Needful time intervals are given before starting a dose of effexor. If you are starting a course of any of these antidepressants, the dosages need to be started 2 weeks after discontinuing the intake of Effexor.

General precautions

Effexor is also likely to interfere with a few diagnostic tests, especially amphetamine tests done on urine samples. The results may hence be very misleading. You are advised to tell the medical team in the lab about consumption of effexor prior to taking these tests.

Medicines that may trigger drowsiness

Effexor can make you feel drowsy. You are hence not advised to consume drugs which can result in dizziness or drowsiness. Such drowsiness-triggering drugs include cough relieving medications like hydrocodone, cannabis (marijuana), opioid-based pain killers, muscle-relaxing drugs, anxiety-reducing or sleep-inducing drugs such as zolpidem, alprazolam, etc. As cold relieving medications may make your dizzy, you need to read the label carefully before taking such drugs.

Health history and intake of Effexor

You need to share details about your medical history or your family’s health history to your physician. People with prior health conditions such as hypertension, renal disorders, epileptic seizures, cardiac dysfunction, hepatic problems or high level of blood cholesterol need to exercise needful caution.

It is not recommended to engage in activities needing high level of mental alertness after consuming effexor. It is important to tell your surgeon or dentist about the doses taken prior to a surgery or a dental procedure. Older people who take diuretics or water pills may witness an imbalance of electrolytes. Such imbalances can enhance the risks of falls or fainting.

Risks of overdose of Effexor

If you have missed a dose, never take double-doses of effexor. Skip the missed dose or check with your pharmacist to reschedule your dosage plan. An overdose of Effexor can make experience side effects such as convulsions or seizures, rapid heartbeat, acute level of drowsiness, extreme spells of dizziness, respiratory problems, fainting or passing out. It is highly recommended to call 911 or a local poison control center upon experiencing such side effects.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women

Effexor is administered to pregnant women only if there is a pressing need for this drug. As the drug can injure your fetus, you need to be watchful of problems your baby may develop. Common signs of withdrawal among babies include stiffness of muscles, respiratory problems, persistent crying, etc. Contact your physician immediately if you notice any of these signs in your newly born infant.

In general, the most common side effects of Effexor are abdominal discomforts like nausea, dryness of mouth, constipation, blurring of eyesight, excessive dizziness, lightheaded, sleep-related disorders, sweating profusely, etc. These side effects may not show up after a few doses; but, if these discomforts persist, talk to your physician promptly.

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