When beginning treatment with EFFEXOR XR, there are 6 things you should know:
1. Change doesn’t happen overnight. It usually takes 6 to 8 weeks to feel the full benefits of therapy. Try to be patient about the treatment process. Just as depression and anxiety disorders do not develop overnight, it also takes time to feel better.
2. You may experience side effects. As with any medication, EFFEXOR XR is associated with possible side effects. If you experience side effects, talk with your doctor.
3. EFFEXOR XR works best when taken as prescribed. A good way to help ensure that you reach your goal of virtual elimination of symptoms is to take your medication every day, as instructed by your doctor. It is extremely important that you continue to take EFFEXOR XR even if you start feeling better. That is how the medication will work best.
4. Open communication is essential for effective treatment. Make your doctor a partner in your treatment. It’s important to communicate all of your symptoms. As your therapy progresses, talk with your doctor about how you are doing, and how you feel your treatment is going. Working together, you and your doctor can strive to help you achieve your goal of being virtually symptom-free.
5. It’s important to track your progress. Relieving symptoms of depression takes time. But one way to see improvement is to chart your progress. Think about keeping a progress journal to write down any symptoms or side effects you may be experiencing. Also note how you feel from day to day. You can then share the information with your doctor. It can help determine how well you are responding to therapy.
6. Adult and pediatric patients taking antidepressants should be watched closely for signs that their condition is getting worse or that they are becoming suicidal, 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.
Important Safety Information
Suicide in Children and Teenagers
Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children and teenagers. Patients who are started on therapy should be observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. EFFEXOR XRreg; (venlafaxine HCl) is not approved for use in children and teenagers.
People taking MAOIs should not take EFFEXOR XR. Adult and pediatric patients taking antidepressants should be watched closely for signs that their condition is getting worse or that they are becoming suicidal, 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. EFFEXOR XR may raise blood pressure in some patients, so blood pressure should be monitored regularly. When people suddenly stop using or quickly lower their daily dose of EFFEXOR XR, discontinuation symptoms may occur. Talk to your doctor before discontinuing or reducing your dose of EFFEXOR XR. Pregnant or nursing women shouldn’t take any antidepressant without consulting their doctor. Before starting EFFEXOR XR, tell your doctor about any medicines you’re taking, including over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements. 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. In clinical studies, the most common side effects with EFFEXOR XR (reported in at least 10% of patients and at least twice as often as with placebo) were constipation, dizziness, dry mouth, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, nervousness, sexual side effects, sleepiness, sweating, and weakness. Ask your doctor if EFFEXOR XR is right for you.
Revision date: July 3, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD