How it works
Venlafaxine is in a class of medication called selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). It is used to treat depression, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and other conditions. Venlafaxine works by increasing the amounts of serotonin and norepinephrine, natural substances in the brain that help maintain mental balance.
Venlafaxine is a non-controlled medication, which means that it is not classified as having euphoric or addictive properties. There are no cravings, no hazardous behaviors, and no examples of prolonged addictive behavior associated with it.
Venlafaxine may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you. Remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this medication.
How it should be used
It may take 2 to 8 weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of venlafaxine. Continue to take venlafaxine even if you feel well.
Do not stop taking venlafaxine without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking venlafaxine, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as agitation; anxiety; confusion; sad mood; irritability; frenzied or abnormal excitement; lack of coordination; trouble falling asleep or staying asleep; nightmares; nausea; vomiting; loss of appetite; diarrhea; dry mouth; sweating; ringing in the ears; seizures; or burning, tingling, numbness, or electric shock-like feelings in any part of the body. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.
What to do if you forget a dose
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are taking the extended-release capsules, do not take more than one dose per day.
Venlafaxine may cause side effects. However, they tend to go away after an adaptation period. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- weakness or tiredness
- stomach pain
- dry mouth
- change in ability to taste food
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- pain, burning, numbness, or tingling in part of the body
- muscle tightness
- hot flashes or flushing
- frequent urination
- difficulty urinating
- sore throat, chills, or other signs of infection
- ringing in the ears
- changes in sexual desire or ability
- enlarged pupils (black circles in the middle of the eyes)
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience either of the following symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING or SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS sections, call your doctor immediately:
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- chest pain
- fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
- unusual bruising or bleeding
- small purple spots on the skin
- eye pain or redness
- fever, sweating, confusion, fast or irregular heartbeat, and severe muscle stiffness
- problems with coordination
- hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
- coma (loss of consciousness for a period of time)
Venlafaxine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
In case of emergency or overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
The information about this medication is not intended to replace medical counseling. Please consult your pharmacist and/or health provider for more comprehensive information. You can also find the Medication Guide containing the manufacturer’s patient information approved by the FDA here.
Last Revised on 12/15/2017