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Frequently Asked Questions About EFFEXOR XR

Be sure to read the following important information carefully. However, keep in mind that it should not take the place of your doctor’s instructions. If you do not understand all of this information or want to know more about EFFEXOR XR, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Find answers to commonly asked questions about EFFEXOR XR by clicking on a question below. When you’re finished, click “Back to top” to return to the list and choose another question. Or scroll through all the questions and answers.

What is the most important information that I should know if my child is being prescribed an antidepressant?
Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in studies in children and teenagers with Depression and other psychiatric disorders. EFFEXOR XR is not approved for use in children and teenagers. See the Prescribing Information and the Medication Guide About Using Antidepressants in Children and Teenagers for more information.

What is the most important information that I should know about EFFEXOR XR?
Some people should not take EFFEXOR XR. Discuss this with your doctor. People taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) should not take EFFEXOR XR. MAOIs can cause a very serious reaction or even death if taken at the same time as EFFEXOR XR. You must stop taking your MAOI at least 14 days before beginning EFFEXOR XR. Similarly, you should wait 7 days after stopping EFFEXOR XR before starting an MAOI. Be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist if a medicine you are taking is an MAOI.

Patients and their families should know that both adults and children treated with EFFEXOR 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 with EFFEXOR XR, 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.

What is EFFEXOR XR?
EFFEXOR XR is a prescription medicine used to treat Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (also called “GAD”), and Social Anxiety Disorder in adults.

Depression
Symptoms of depression are different depending on the person. Some people have only a few symptoms, while others may have many symptoms at once. Symptoms of Depression include:

     
  • A sad feeling that will not go away  
  • Restlessness or slowed movements  
  • Changes in appetite or weight  
  • Changes in sleeping patterns  
  • A lack of interest in activities that usually provide pleasure  
  • Fatigue or lack of energy  
  • Feeling worthless, or feeling guilty for no reason  
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions  
  • Repeated thoughts of death or suicide

Both adults and children with depression can have their Depression get worse and/or they can become suicidal. This can happen if they take an antidepressant or not. Patients treated with EFFEXOR XR should be watched closely for signs that their condition is getting worse or that they are becoming suicidal. Such signs should be reported to their doctor right away.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD is characterized by feelings of excessive anxiety and worry that can’t be controlled and are present for at least 6 months. Other symptoms of GAD include:

     
  • Restlessness or feeling on edge  
  • Fatigue  
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank  
  • Irritability  
  • Muscle tension  
  • Difficulty sleeping

Social anxiety disorder
People with social anxiety disorder have an extreme, constant fear of one or more social or public situations. This fear severely disrupts day-to-day functioning. Other symptoms of social anxiety disorder may include:

     
  • Avoiding social situations  
  • Intense self-consciousness in social settings  
  • Physical symptoms such as blushing, sweating, trembling, fast heartbeat, and nausea  
  • Unreasonable fear of embarrassment

Who should not take EFFEXOR XR?
Do not take EFFEXOR XR if you are allergic to EFFEXOR XR® (venlafaxine HCl) or any of its ingredients. The inactive ingredients are cellulose, ethylcellulose, gelatin, hypromellose, iron oxide, and titanium dioxide.

EFFEXOR XR can make some conditions worse. Tell your doctor about all your medical problems. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have or had any of the following:

     
  • Suicidal thoughts  
  • High Blood Pressure. EFFEXOR XR can increase your blood pressure  
  • Heart disease. EFFEXOR XR can increase your heart rate (pulse)  
  • Liver or kidney problems. Your dose of EFFEXOR XR may need to be different  
  • Symptoms of mania or hypomania, such as persistently elevated or irritable mood, a decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, hyperactivity, and rapid, excessive speech  
  • Glaucoma. EFFEXOR XR may increase your eye pressure. You may need more frequent eye exams to detect an increase in eye pressure  
  • Seizures  
  • Thyroid problems

Tell your doctor about all medicines that you plan to take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines and supplements (including natural and herbal supplements). Your doctor will decide if you can take EFFEXOR XR with other medicines.

EFFEXOR XR is not recommended for weight loss alone or in combination with phentermine or other products.

Can children take EFFEXOR XR?
EFFEXOR XR is not approved for use in children under 18. Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in studies in children and teenagers with Depression and other psychiatric disorders. See the Prescribing Information and the Medication Guide About Using Antidepressants in Children and Teenagers for more information.

How does EFFEXOR XR work?
EFFEXOR XR is thought to work by affecting 2 naturally occurring brain chemicals, serotonin and norepinephrine. This helps relieve your symptoms. It may take several weeks for your symptoms to get better with EFFEXOR XR.

How should I take EFFEXOR XR?

     
  • EFFEXOR XR can be prescribed in different dosage strengths (37.5 mg, 75 mg, and 150 mg). The usual starting dose is 75 mg, but only your doctor can tell you which dose is right for you and whether it will need to be adjusted over time.  
  • EFFEXOR XR should be taken as a single dose with food at about the same time every day, either in the morning or evening. The capsule should be swallowed whole; it should not be divided, crushed, chewed, or placed in water.  
  • The capsule can also be carefully opened and its contents sprinkled onto a spoonful of applesauce. This should be swallowed immediately and followed by drinking a glass of water. Do not chew this mixture before swallowing.  
  • If you miss a dose of EFFEXOR XR, it can be taken later that day. Don’t try to “make up” for the missed dose by taking 2 doses the next day.

In case of an overdose, call your doctor or poison control center, or go to the emergency room right away.

How long should I use EFFEXOR XR?
Only your doctor can tell you how long you should use EFFEXOR XR. Don’t stop taking EFFEXOR XR if you don’t feel any results right away; it may take several weeks before you start to feel better. Keep taking EFFEXOR XR for as long as your doctor has instructed.

What should I avoid while taking EFFEXOR XR?
Please tell your doctor if you are pregnant, intend to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. Newborns whose mothers took EFFEXOR 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 EFFEXOR XR affects you, be careful doing such activities as driving a car or operating machinery. Avoid drinking alcohol while taking EFFEXOR XR. EFFEXOR XR may cause other side effects besides those listed immediately below.

What are the possible side effects of EFFEXOR XR?
EFFEXOR XR may cause side effects in some people. In clinical studies, some people had to stop taking EFFEXOR XR because of side effects.

In clinical studies, the most common side effects included:

     
  • Nausea  
  • Dizziness  
  • Sleepiness  
  • Abnormal ejaculation  
  • Sweating  
  • Dry mouth  
  • Gas  
  • Abnormal vision  
  • Nervousness  
  • Insomnia  
  • Loss of appetite  
  • Constipation  
  • Confusion/agitation  
  • Tremor  
  • Yawning  
  • Palpitation

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

EFFEXOR XR may cause an increase in your cholesterol. Your doctor may want to do blood tests to check your serum cholesterol periodically.

For more information on these and other side effects associated with EFFEXOR XR, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or see the Prescribing Information.

What happens when I stop using EFFEXOR XR?
Symptoms are known to occur when people stop using EFFEXOR XR, especially when they suddenly stop therapy.

When people suddenly stop using EFFEXOR XR, they can get symptoms from stopping the medicine too fast. Some of these symptoms include:

     
  • Agitation  
  • Anxiety  
  • Confusion  
  • Diarrhea  
  • Dizziness or vertigo  
  • Dry mouth  
  • Fasciculation (muscle twitching)  
  • Headaches  
  • Hypomania  
  • Impaired coordination  
  • Insomnia (trouble sleeping)  
  • Loss of appetite  
  • Nausea  
  • Nervousness  
  • Nightmares  
  • Seizures  
  • Sensory disturbances (including electric shock sensations)  
  • Somnolence (sleepiness)  
  • Sweating  
  • Tinnitus  
  • Tiredness  
  • Tremor  
  • Unpleasant mood  
  • Vomiting

Do not stop taking EFFEXOR XR without talking with your doctor first. Your doctor may want to slowly decrease your dose of EFFEXOR XR to help avoid these kinds of symptoms.

What are the ingredients in EFFEXOR XR?
EFFEXOR XR contains venlafaxine hydrochloride, an antidepressant. Inactive ingredients consist of cellulose, ethylcellulose, gelatin, hypromellose, iron oxide, and titanium dioxide.

How do I store EFFEXOR XR?
EFFEXOR XR should be stored at room temperature (68^(o) to 77^(o)F, or 20^(o) to 25^(o)C). Keep EFFEXOR XR away from children.

Where can I get more information on EFFEXOR XR?
This is a summary of the most important information about EFFEXOR XR. If you would like more information, talk with your doctor. You can ask your doctor or pharmacist for information about EFFEXOR XR that is written for health care professionals. You can also read the Prescribing Information.


Order EFFEXOR XR Online

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: July 7, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.

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