Effexor: Why is it prescribed?
Effexor is usually prescribed for the treatment of depression. This antidepressant is most frequently prescribed for the type of depression that interferes with an individual’s daily functioning. These symptoms frequently include such things as changes in appetite, sleep habits, coordination, decreased sex drive, increased fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, slow thinking and suicidal thoughts.
Effexor can also be prescribed to relieve high levels of anxiety (generalized anxiety disorder). This disorder is often indicated by persistent feelings of anxiety for a period of at least six months, accompanied by at least three of the following six symptoms: restlessness, fatigue, poor concentration, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances.
This medication must be taken two to three times per day. The extended-release form, Effexor XR, permits dosing once a day.
What are some really important facts about this medication?
The use of Effexor can result in a fatal reaction when used in combination with other medications known as MAO inhibitors, including the antidepressants Nardil and Parnate. You should never take Effexor with one of these drugs, and never begin therapy with Effexor within 14 days of discontinuing treatment with these medications. Always allow a minimum of seven days between your last dose of Effexor and the first dose of an MAO inhibitor.
Effexor: How should it be taken?
You should always take this medicine with food, exactly as prescribed. It most often takes several weeks for this drug to take effect and for you to actually start feeling better. Your physician should check on your progress periodically.
Effexor XR is taken once per day at the same time each day. Swallow the capsule whole with water. You should not divide, crush or chew it.
If you miss a dose.
It is not necessary to make up for a missed dose. You should skip the missed dose and continue with your next scheduled dose. Never take two doses at once.
How do you store Effexor?
Effexor should be stored in a tightly closed container at room temperature. Also, this medication should be protected from excessive heat and moisture.
Effexor dosage: What is the recommended amount?
The initial starting Effexor dosage is most often 75 mg a day, divided into 2 or 3 smaller doses, usually taken with food. If necessary, your physician may increase your daily Effexor dosage gradually in steps of no more than 75 mg at a time, up to maximum of 375 mg per day. If you have liver or kidney disease or are taking other drugs, your doctor may adjust your Effexor dosage accordingly.
Effexor dosage (Effexor XR):
When Effexor is used for either depression or anxiety, the starting dosage is usually 75 mg once a day. Doctors will ask some people, however, to begin with a dosage of 37.5 mg for the first 4 to 7 days. Your physician may increase your dosage of Effexor in steps of 75 mg at a time, up to maximum of 225 mg a day. As with the regular Effexor, the doctor may make adjustments in your Effexor dosage if you have liver or kidney disease.
Effexor overdosage most often occurs when combined with other medications or alcohol and can sometimes be fatal. If you suspect an overdose, you should seek medical attention immediately.
The symptoms of an Effexor overdosage include:
Sleepiness, vertigo, rapid or slow heartbeat, low blood pressure, seizures, coma
Information inspired by The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs – Sixth Edition
By Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist