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Effexor Side Effects and Benefits

Effexor side effects and benefits: An overview

What is Effexor and how can it help?

Effexor/Effexor XR is used to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder. effexorThereís also current evidence that the drug may be useful in treating  ADD/ADHD in children and adults. While Effexor/Effexor XR is not specifically classified as an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibiter) antidepressant, it does inhibit the reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin, as well as the reuptake of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine. Because it does effect the   uptake of serotonin, many people experience many of the same side effects and withdrawal reactions seen in the SSRIís.

How do you take Effexor?

Effexor usually takes about 2-4 weeks to relieve the symptoms of depression. However, some patients have reported improvement in symptoms in about the first week. The usual starting dose is 75 mg per day divided between 2-3 doses. It may be slowly increased up to a maximum of 225 mg per day. It is best to take Effexor with food. It should not be taken with or within 14 days of taking an MAO inhibitor, and should never the taken at the same time as consuming alcohol. You should never use cimetidine (tagamet) and fluoxetine (prozac) while taking Effexor, as it can significantly raise the blood concentration of the medication. If you miss a dose of Effexor, you should try to resume your medication routine immediately without doubling up the prior missed dose.


Effexor side effects:

As mentioned previously, because Effexor/Effexor XR has an activating effect on the neurotransmitter serotonin, some people experience many of the same side effects as with the SSRIís. It may initially cause dizziness and nausea as your body adjusts to the medication. Other side effects may also include sweating, loss of appetite, dry mouth, anxiety, tremor, blurred vision, constipation, sleepiness, and change in sexual ability. Some of the more serious side effects have also been found to be rapid or irregular heartbeat, chest pain, severe headache, trouble breathing, pain or difficult urination and skin rash. Effexor has been found to sometimes cause drowsiness, dizziness or clouded thinking. You should always use caution when operating machinery, driving or engaging in activities that require alertness. Effexor should only be used if absolutely necessary during pregnancy, and has been found in breast milk. You should always discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor prior to taking Effexor when pregnant or when breast-feeding. If you notice any the side effects noted above contact your physician or pharmacist immediately.

Effexor withdrawal symptoms:

All medications including Effexor/Effexor XR, should only be discontinued under the supervision of a licensed physician. Because of its similarity to other drugs that affect the reuptake of serotonin, people taking Effexor may experience many of the same side effects and withdrawal reactions seen with the SSRIís. Withdrawal reactions from SSRIís can be very serious, and have reportedly caused some patients to become extremely agitated, violent, and/or suicidal.

By Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist 

effexorInformation provided by The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs - Sixth Edition

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