Effexor XR (Venlafaxine) Medication Information
Your healthcare provider can prescribe Effexor XR for the treatment of:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
- Panic Disorder (PD)
- Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
Effexor works by increasing the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. These are chemical messengers that control our moods, thoughts, and feelings in brain cells. By correcting an imbalance of these messengers, Effexor XR treats psychiatric disorders.
Effexor XR comes as 37.5 mg, 75 mg, and 150 mg capsules.
The starting dose is 37.5-75 mg by mouth once daily. Depending on what you are taking it for, it is increased to 75-225 mg by mouth once daily.
Your doctor should increase the dose, so you are taking the lowest amount that is still effective.
Common side effects with Effexor XR may include:
- Abnormal ejaculation
- Decreased sex drive
- Dry mouth
- Erectile dysfunction
Most side effects go away after a few weeks of treatment. Speak with your doctor if your side effects are troubling and do not resolve.
Effexor XR and other antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts, especially in children and teenagers. Monitor closely for changes in behavior during the first few weeks of treatment.
Tell your doctor if you have a history of high blood pressure.
Effexor XR can increase bleeding risk in people taking certain medications and with a history of bleeding ulcers.
Use caution if you have a history of angle-closure glaucoma.
Serious drug interactions include:
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- St. John’s Wort
This list does not include less severe interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a full list that applies to you.
Effexor XR needs to be stored at controlled room temperature, 20° to 25°C (68° to 77°F).
- Do not stop taking the medication without speaking to your doctor first. Stopping it abruptly can cause side effects.
- You may notice spheroids in your stool while taking this medication. This is normal, and the drug has already been absorbed.
- Take Effexor XR at the same time every time with or without food. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it’s close to the next dose. Do not double up.
Effexor XR FAQs
How long does it take for Effexor XR to start working?
It can take up to 6-8 weeks before seeing the effects. Keep taking it every day, so see the full impact and let your doctor know if there are no changes after eight weeks.
Can I open the Effexor XR capsules if I have trouble swallowing?
No, the capsules cannot be opened, crushed, or chewed. Your doctor will need to change your medication if you have trouble swallowing.
Can I use Effexor XR if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
Effexor XR can cause harm to a developing fetus and passes through breastmilk. Your doctor may change the medication or adjust the dose.