Venlafaxine

By

Generic Name: Venlafaxine Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Uses

What is venlafaxine used for?

Venlafaxine is used to treat depression. It may improve your mood and energy level, and may help restore your interest in daily living. Venlafaxine is known as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). It works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural substances (serotonin and norepinephrine) in the brain.

This medication may also be used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, and nerve pain. It may also be used to treat hot flashes that occur with menopause.

How should I take venlafaxine?

Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 2 to 3 times daily with food.

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.

It is important to continue taking this medication as prescribed even if you feel well. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Also, you may experience symptoms such as confusion, mood swings, headache, tiredness, sleep changes, and brief feelings similar to electric shock. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased to reduce side effects. Report any new or worsening symptoms immediately.

It may take several weeks to feel the benefit of this medication. Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.

How do I store venlafaxine?

Venlafaxine is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store venlafaxine in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of venlafaxine that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush venlafaxine down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using venlafaxine?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of venlafaxine or other medications.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

You should not take this medicine if:

  • If you have uncontrolled narrow-angle glaucoma.
  • If you are being treated with methylene blue injection.

Do not use venlafaxine if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, and tranylcypromine. After you stop taking venlafaxine, you must wait at least 7 days before you start taking an MAOI.

Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using venlafaxine. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

Taking an SSRI antidepressant during pregnancy may cause serious lung problems or other complications in the baby. However, you may have a relapse of depression if you stop taking your antidepressant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking venlafaxine. Do not start or stop taking this medicine during pregnancy without your doctor’s advice.

Venlafaxine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

Do not give this medicine to anyone younger than 18 years old without the advice of a doctor. Venlafaxine is not approved for use in children.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using venlafaxine during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking venlafaxine. Venlafaxine is pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from venlafaxine?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: skin rash or hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • Seizure (convulsions)
  • Very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, feeling like you might pass out
  • Agitation, hallucinations, fever, fast heart rate, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination
  • Headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, weakness, feeling unsteady, confusion, hallucinations, fainting, shallow breathing or breathing that stop
  • Cough, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Easy bruising

Less serious side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness, dizziness, feeling nervous
  • Strange dreams
  • Increased sweating
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Mild nausea, constipation
  • Decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with venlafaxine?

Venlafaxine may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Products that may interact with this drug are:

  • Any other antidepressant
  • Cimetidine
  • John’s wort
  • Tramadol
  • Tryptophan (sometimes called L-tryptophan)
  • A blood thinner – warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven
  • Medicine to treat mood disorders, thought disorders, or mental illness – buspirone, lithium, and many others
  • Migraine headache medicine – sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, and others

Does food or alcohol interact with venlafaxine?

Venlafaxine may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with venlafaxine?

Venlafaxine may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Health conditions that may interact with this drug are:

  • Bipolar disorder (mood disorder with mania and depression)
  • Bleeding problems
  • Glaucoma, angle-closure
  • Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol in the blood)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood)
  • Insomnia
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Mania
  • Seizures
  • Tachycardia (fast heart rate)
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using venlafaxine.

What is the dose of venlafaxine for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Depression:

Immediate release:

  • Initial dose: 37.5 mg orally twice a day or 25 mg orally 3 times a day.
  • Maintenance dose: May increase in daily increments of up to 75 mg at intervals of no less than 4 days.
  • Maximum dose: (moderately depressed outpatients): 225 mg/day.
  • Maximum dose (severely depressed inpatients): 375 mg/day.
  • Daily dosage may be divided in 2 or 3 doses/day.

Extended release:

  • Initial dose: 75 mg orally once daily.
  • Maintenance dose: May increase in daily increments of up to 75 mg at intervals of no less than 4 days.
  • Maximum dose (moderately depressed outpatients): 225 mg/day.
  • Maximum dose (severely depressed inpatients): 375 mg/day.

Usual Adult Dose for Anxiety:

For generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder:

Extended release:

  • Initial dose: 75 mg orally once daily.
  • Maintenance dose: May increase in daily increments of 75 mg at intervals of no less than 4 days.
  • Maximum dose: 225 mg/day.

Usual Adult Dose for Panic Disorder:

Extended-release:

  • Initial dose: 37.5 mg once a day.
  • Maintenance dose: May increase dose in daily increments of 75 mg at intervals of no less than 7 days.
  • Maximum dose: 225 mg/day.

What is the dose of venlafaxine for a child?

The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is venlafaxine available?

Venlafaxine is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Tablet 25 mg; 37,5 mg; 50 mg; 75 mg; 100 mg

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of venlafaxine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: July 25, 2017 | Last Modified: July 25, 2017

Want to live your best life?
Get the Hello Doktor Daily newsletter for health tips, wellness updates and more.
You might also like