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Venlafaxine (By mouth)

Venlafaxine (ven-la-FAX-een)

Treats depression, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. This medicine is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI).

Brand Name(s):

Effexor, Effexor XR, Effexor-XR

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to venlafaxine. Do not use this medicine if you have used an MAO inhibitor (MAOI) such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, Parnate®, methylene blue, or linezolid (Zyvox®) within the past 14 days. Do not take an MAO inhibitor for at least 7 days after you stop this medicine.

How to Use This Medicine:

Long Acting Capsule, Tablet, Long Acting Tablet

  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • It is best to take this medicine at the same time each day (either in the morning or evening).
  • It is best to take this medicine with food or milk.
  • Swallow the extended-release capsule whole. Do not crush, break, or chew it. Do not place the capsule in a liquid.
  • If you cannot swallow the extended-release capsule, you may open it and pour the medicine into a small amount of soft food such as pudding, yogurt, or applesauce. Stir this mixture well and swallow it without chewing.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.

If a dose is missed:

  • Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using other medicines to treat depression (such as amitriptyline, nortriptyline, desipramine, fluoxetine, mirtazapine, paroxetine, Celexa®, Elavil®, Lexapro®, Norpramin®, Paxil®, Zoloft®), medicine to treat migraine headaches (such as eletriptan, sumatriptan, tramadol, Frova®, Maxalt®, Relpax®, Zomig®), an NSAID pain or arthritis medicine (such as aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, Advil®, Aleve®, Celebrex®, Voltaren®), medicine to lose weight (such as phentermine, Adipex®, Fastin®, Ionamin®), or a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®, Jantoven®).
  • Tell your doctor if you are also using cimetidine (Tagamet®), metoprolol (Lopressor®, Toprol XL®), buspirone (Buspar®), fentanyl (Sublimaze®), ketoconazole (Nizoral®), lithium (Eskalith®, Lithane®, Lithobid®), midazolam (Versed®), St John's wort, tryptophan supplements, or a diuretic (water pill, such as furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, Lasix®).
  • Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol or if you are using any medicine that makes you sleepy, such as allergy medicine or narcotic pain medicine.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, bleeding problems, glaucoma, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low sodium in the blood, or thyroid problems. Tell your doctor if you have a history of seizures, heart attack, bipolar disorder, or mania.
  • For some children, teenagers, and young adults, this medicine can increase thoughts of suicide. Tell your doctor right away if you start to feel more depressed and have thoughts about hurting yourself. Report any unusual thoughts or behaviors that trouble you, especially if they are new or are getting worse quickly. Make sure the doctor knows if you have trouble sleeping, get upset easily, have a big increase in energy, or start to act reckless. Also tell the doctor if you have sudden or strong feelings, such as feeling nervous, angry, restless, violent, or scared. Let the doctor know if you or anyone in your family has bipolar disorder (manic-depressive) or has tried to commit suicide.
  • This medicine may cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome, when taken with certain medicines. Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, confusion, mental changes, restlessness, fast heartbeat, muscle spasms, trouble walking, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • This medicine may cause hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood). This is more common in elderly patients, those who are taking a diuretic medicine, or those who have decreased amounts of fluid in the body due to severe diarrhea or vomiting. Check with your doctor right away if you have a headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, confusion, weakness, or feel unsteady when standing.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly. Your doctor will need to slowly decrease your dose before you stop it completely.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect certain medical test results.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Anxiety, restlessness, fever, sweating, muscle spasms, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seeing or hearing things that are not there
  • Chest pain, cough, trouble breathing
  • Confusion, weakness, and muscle twitching
  • Fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Feeling more excited or energetic than usual
  • Headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, unsteadiness
  • Seizures
  • Trouble sleeping, unusual dreams
  • Unusual behavior, thoughts of hurting yourself or others
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Blurred vision or enlarged pupils (black part of the eye)
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Mild nausea, constipation, vomiting, loss of appetite, upset stomach, weight loss
  • Problems with sex
  • Sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • Unusual dreams

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088


Last Updated: 4/4/2014

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