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Lexapro Medication: Side Effects, Dosages and Indications

Lexapro Medication: Side Effects and Dosages: Overview

Lexapro medication side effects and dosages are absolutely essential to know before you begin taking this antidepressant medication. Lexapro is a medication usually prescribed for major depression which is a low mood that persists for at least several weeks duration, and interferes with daily functioning. Major depression must occur nearly every day for at least two weeks, and must include either (1) low mood or (2) loss of interest in your usual activities and interests, as well as at least five of the following symptoms of depression: significant changes in weight or appetite, changes in your pattern of sleep, lethargy or agitation, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and slowed thinking and thoughts of suicide. If the symptoms of depression persist over a period of several weeks you may have major depressive disorder, which may make Lexapro a good choice for an antidepressant. If that is the case, it is essential to understand Lexapro medication, side effects, dosages, indications and contraindications.

Lexapro is a medication that increases the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a necessary chemical in the brain referred to as a neurotransmitter, which is involved in things such as establishing biological processes associated with sleeping and eating. Lexapro is also a close cousin of Celexa, which is also a medication used to treat depression. There are several medications that focus on increasing the level of serotonin in the brain including Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil.

Lexapro Medication Important Information:

Lexapro is an effective and very popular medication. However, this is a medication in which you could possibly get a very bad reaction if you have been taking some other medications, such as those of the medication classification of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI’s). Some of the MAOI’s include Parnate, Marplan and Nardil. Many psychiatrists recommend that you never take Lexapro within two weeks of having taken these medications. When combined with Lexapro, these medications can cause some very serious and even fatal reactions. These negative symptoms include twitching and agitation, fever, and rigidity, which have been known at times to even lead to delirium and even coma.

Lexapro Medication Side Effects:

Specific Lexapro medication side effects cannot really be anticipated but if any develop or intensify, you should contact your doctor immediately. Only your physician can decide if you should continue taking this medication for depression if you experience any of the following symptoms below.

Some of the more common Lexapro side effects include:

Decreased appetite, sweating, sleepiness, sinusitis, runny nose, nausea, insomnia, indigestion, impotence, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, ejaculation disorder, dry mouth, dizziness, diarrhea, decreased sex drive, constipation

Some of the less common Lexapro side effects may also include:

Yawning, weight changes, vomiting, vertigo, urinary problems, tremors, toothache, tingling, stomachache, sinus headache, sinus congestion, ringing in the ears, rash, palpitations, pain in arms or legs, pain in the shoulder and neck, nasal congestion, muscle pain, migraine, menstrual cramps, lightheadedness, lack of orgasm, lack of energy, lack of concentration, joint pain, irritability, increased appetite, hot flashes, high blood pressure, heartburn, fever, coughing, chest pain, bronchitis, blurred vision, allergic reactions, abnormal dreaming, abdominal pain

In addition to these Lexapro side effects, others have been reported but are very rare. You should always check with your physician if you develop any new or unusual symptoms when taking this depression medication.

Lexapro side effects and additional special warnings:

This medication can make you sleepy. Until you know how you react to this drug, you should use it with caution when driving a car or operating any potentially hazardous machinery or tools. In some rare cases, Lexapro has been known to trigger manic episodes, which are unreasonably high levels of energy, that can become very risky or hazardous to your health. Also, you should let your doctor know if you have had any problems with your kidneys or liver. Your physician may need to adjust your medication accordingly.

Possible drug and food interactions when taking Lexapro:

You should never take Lexapro when taking the similar drug Celexa. Also, as referred above, you should always be careful to avoid any of the MAO inhibitor medications such as Nardil, Parnate and Marplan. Lexapro is not known to interact negatively with alcohol, but the manufacturer recommends avoiding alcoholic beverages while taking this depression medication. If Lexapro is taken with other medications, the combination may increase, decrease or otherwise alter the effects in some way. It is highly recommended that you consult your physician before taking the following medications:

• Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
• Cimetidine (Tagamet)
• Desipramine (Norpramin)
• Other drugs that act upon the brain including antidepressants, sedatives, tranquilizers and painkillers
• Ketaconazole (Nizoral)
• Lithium (Eskalith)
• Metoprolol (Lopressor)
• Narcotic painkillers
• Sumatriptan (Imitrex)

Special information if you happen to be pregnant or breast-feeding:

If you are currently pregnant or plan to become pregnant in the future, you should let your physician know before taking Lexapro. This medication should only be taken if the benefits outweigh the risks. Lexapro appears in breast milk and could possibly affect the nursing infant. In most cases it is not recommended to breast-feed while taking this medication.

Lexapro medication dosage overview:

Your Lexapro medication dosage should be taken exactly as recommended by your physician even if you begin to feel better. The correct dosage of Lexapro should result in feeling better in one to four weeks, although it is recommended that you continue with this medication for at least several months. This medication can be taken with or without food.

If you miss your usual Lexapro medication dosage…

You should take your missed dosage as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dosage however, you should skip the missed dose and resume your regular medication routine. You should never take more than one dose of Lexapro at a time.

Lexapro medication dosage for adults:

The recommended dosage of Lexapro is 10 mg once a day. If necessary, the doctor may increase the dosage to 20 mg after a minimum of one week. The higher dosage will probably not be recommended for senior adults and people who have liver problems.

Lexapro Overdosage:

Taking massive amounts of Lexapro can be fatal. If you suspect a Lexapro overdosage, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Typical symptoms of Lexapro medication overdosage:

Seizures, rapid heartbeat, drowsiness, vomiting, tremors, nausea, sweating, dizziness
There have also been some rare cases of Lexapro overdosage causing memory loss, confusion, breathing problems, muscle wasting, irregular heartbeat

Storage of Lexapro

This medication should be stored at room temperature.

Summary of Lexapro medication side effects and dosages:

Lexapro is a medication with well-known side effects and effective dosages. Always follow your physician’s recommendations and pay attention to the physiological changes in your body as your specific Lexapro medication side effects cannot really be anticipated and dosages may need to be adjusted accordingly.

Some information adapted from the PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs (Sixth Edition) by Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist

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Zoloft Medication Benefits, Side Effects and Dosage

Zoloft Medication Overview:

Zoloft is easily one of the most popular medications prescribed for major depressive disorder, a persistently low mood which intrudes in a senior’s daily life. Symptoms often include loss of interest in your normal activities, disturbances in sleep, appetite changes, fidgeting and/or lethargic movement, fatigue, guilt or feelings of worthlessness, and problems with thinking and concentrating. Zoloft has also been prescribed for premenstrual dysphoric disorder. This problem is often characterized by low mood, anxiety or tension, emotional instability, and anger or irritability in the two weeks prior to menstruation. Other symptoms may include loss of interest in normal activities, difficulty concentrating, lack of energy, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, and feeling out of control.

Zoloft is also effective in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder, which includes symptoms of unwanted thoughts that won’t go away (obsessions) and an irresistible urge to repeat certain actions, such as counting and hand washing (compulsions). Zoloft may also be prescribed for the treatment of panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Zoloft is actually an antidepressant and is referred to as a selective serotonin uptake inhibitor. The neurotransmitter serotonin is believed to regulate mood. Usually, serotonin is reabsorbed after its release back into the releasing neuron (nerve cell). Zoloft, as well as other similar medications block the process of “reuptake”, allowing an increase in serotonin to be absorbed by the receiving neurons.

Important Precautions:

It is usually recommended that you don’t take Zoloft within two weeks of taking any medication classified as an MAO inhibitor. Marplan, Nardil and Parnate are drugs within this medication category. When serotonin boosters such as Zoloft are combined with these medications, serious and sometimes fatal reactions have occurred. Also, this drug should be avoided if it causes any allergic reaction.

Special precautions should be taken if you have liver disorder or have had seizures. Zoloft should always be taken under the close supervision of a doctor, and especially when you have the above conditions.
This drug has not usually been found to effect the operation of automobiles or other machinery. However, as with all medications, you should find out how you are effected by Zoloft before you attempt these operations. Also, if you have a sensitivity to latex, you may want to use precaution when you handle the dropper provided with the oral concentrate.

Zoloft: Benefits and Information:

How is Zoloft taken and what should I expect?

This drug should be taken exactly as prescribed, which most often means once a day, either in the morning or the evening.

Zoloft is available in both capsule or oral concentrate forms. You should use the dropper provided when taking the Zoloft oral concentrate. Measure out the amount of concentrate prescribed by your physician and then mix it with 4 oz. of water, ginger ale, lemon/lime soda, lemonade, or orange juice. (You should not mix the concentrate with any other type of beverage.) You should drink the mixture immediately and not save it for later use. A slight haze has been noticed at times after mixing, but is not a problem.

It usually takes several days to a few weeks to see some improvement from Zoloft. Most doctors recommend that you take it for a minimum of at least several months. It has been found to make your mouth dry at times. Many people have found that sucking on hard candy, chewing gum, or chewing on ice may provide some temporary relief.

What If I miss a dose of Zoloft?

You should take the missed dose as soon as you remember unless several hours have passed, at which time you should just skip that dose and try to get back into the usual dosing routine as soon as possible. You should never double up on your dose of Zoloft.

Zoloft storage instructions…

You should always store Zoloft at room temperature.

Zoloft – Possible food and drug interactions:

It is recommended that you not drink alcohol when taking this drug. Also, the use of over-the-counter medications should be used with caution. Although none of these over-the-counter remedies have been found to cause a negative interaction with Zoloft, interactions always remain a possibility.

If Zoloft is taken with other medications, the effects may be increased, decreased or otherwise altered. It is especially important for you to check with your doctor when combining Zoloft with any of the following:

• Cimetidine(Tagamet)
• Diazepam (Valium)
• Digitoxin (Crystodigin)
• Flecaimide (Tambocor)
• Lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid)
• MAO inhibitor drugs such as the antidepressants Nardil and Parnate
• Other serotonin-boosting drugs such as Paxil and Prozac
• Other antidepressants such as Elavil and Serzone
• Over-the-counter drugs such as cold remedies
• Propafenone (Rythmol)
• Sumatriptan (Imitrex)
• Tolbutamide (Orinase)
• Warfarin (Coumadin)

If you are using the oral concentrate form of Zoloft, do not take the medicine disulfiram (Antabuse).

If you are pregnant or breast-feeding:

Zoloft has not been adequately tested during pregnancy. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant in the near future, consult your doctor immediately. Zoloft should only be taken during pregnancy when you are extremely depressed and the benefits significantly outweigh the risks. It’s not presently known whether Zoloft appears in breast milk and caution is advised when using this medication during breast-feeding.

Zoloft Side Effects

Zoloft Side Effects: What do I need to know?

Zoloft side effects cannot really be anticipated but, if any develop or change in intensity, you should notify your doctor immediately. Only your physician will be able to tell you whether you should continue taking this medication.

Some of the more common Zoloft side effects may include:

Abdominal pain, agitation, anxiety, constipation, decreased sex drive, diarrhea or loose stools, difficulty with ejaculation, dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, gas, headache, and decreased appetite are some of the more common Zoloft side effects. And, they also may include increased sweating, indigestion, insomnia, nausea, nervousness, rash, pain, sleepiness, sore throat, tingling or pins and needles, tremor, vision problems and vomiting.

Less common and much rarer Zoloft side effects may include:

Acne, allergic reaction, altered taste, back pain, blindness, breast development in males, breast pain or enlargement, breathing difficulties, bruise-like marks on the skin, cataracts, changeable emotions, chest pain, cold, clammy skin, conjunctivitis (pinkeye), coughing, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, double vision, dry eyes, eye pain, fainting, feeling faint upon arising from a sitting or lying position, feeling of illness, female and male sexual problems, and fluid retention. Other less common Zoloft side effects may include blushing, frequent urination, hair loss, heart attack, hemorrhoids, hiccups, high blood pressure, high pressure within the eye (glaucoma), hearing problems, hot flushes, impotence, inability to stay seated, increased appetite, increased salivation, increased sex drive, inflamed nasal passages, inflammation of the penis, intolerance to light, irregular heartbeat, itching, joint pains, kidney failure, lack of coordination, lack of sensation, leg cramps, menstrual problems, low blood pressure, migraine, movement problems, muscle cramps or weakness, need to urinate during the night, nosebleed, pain upon urination, prolonged erection, purplish spots on the skin, racing heartbeat, rectal hemorrhage, respiratory infection/lung problems, ringing in the ears, rolling eyes, sensitivity to light, sinus inflammation, skin eruptions or inflammation, sleepwalking, sore on tongue, speech problems, stomach and intestinal inflammation, swelling of the face and throat, swollen wrist and ankles, thirst, throbbing heartbeat, twitching, vaginal inflammation, hemorrhage or discharge, and yawning.

Zoloft side effects may also include mental symptoms such as:

Abnormal dreams or thoughts, aggressiveness, exaggerated feeling of well-being, depersonalization (unreal feeling), hallucinations, impaired concentration, memory loss, paranoia, rapid mood shifts, thoughts of harming yourself, tooth grinding, and worsening depression.

It may also include the loss of several pounds for some people taking this medication. This usually doesn’t pose much of a problem, but could be a concern if your depression has already caused significant weight loss.
In a few people, Zoloft side effects may also trigger manic or hypomanic episodes which include sensations of high energy, lack of need for sleep, grandiose thoughts and feelings and generally inappropriate and out-of-control behavior.

Zoloft Dosage: What is the right amount?

General Zoloft Dosage Information


Zoloft dosage for Depressive or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
The usual starting Zoloft dosage is 50 mg once a day, taken either in the morning or in the evening. Your doctor may increase the amount depending upon your response to the medication. The maximum Zoloft dosage is 200 mg in one day.

Zoloft dosage for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Zoloft may be prescribed throughout the menstrual cycle or limited to the two weeks preceding menstruation. The starting Zoloft dosage is 50 mg a day. If this is insufficient the doctor may increase the amount in 50 mg steps at the start of each menstrual cycle up to the maximum of 100 milligrams per day in the 2-week regimen, or 150 mg per day in the full-cycle regimen.(During the first three days of the two-week regimen, doses are always limited to 50 mg).

Zoloft dosage for Panic Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The most common Zoloft dosage during the first week is 25 mg once a day. After that, the dose may be increased to 50 mg once a day. Depending upon your response, your doctor may continue to increase your Zoloft dosage up to a maximum of 200 mg a day.


Zoloft dosage for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The initial Zoloft dosage for children aged 6 to 12 is 25 mg, and for adolescents aged 13 to 17, is 50 mg per day. Your physician should adjust the dose as needed. The safety and effectiveness have not been established for children under the age of six.

Zoloft Overdosage

Many medications taken in excess of the recommended dosage can have serious consequences. An overdose of Zoloft can possibly be fatal. If you suspect an overdose seek medical attention immediately.

Common symptoms of Zoloft overdose include:

Agitation, dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, sleepiness, tremor, and vomiting
Other less common symptoms include coma, stupor, fainting, convulsions, delirium, hallucinations, mania, high or low blood pressure, and slow, rapid, or irregular heartbeat.

Information adapted from the The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs – Sixth Edition By Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist

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Paxil (Paroxetine): The ultimate depression medication?

Generic name: Paroxetine

Paxil is a depression medication used to treat major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder (sometimes referred to as social phobia) premenstrual disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. This depression medication belongs to a group of medicines referred to as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s). These medicines are believed to work by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain.

Paxil is available only with your doctor’s prescription in the following dosage forms:

• Extended-release tablets (U.S.)
• Oral suspension (U.S.)
• Tablets (U.S. and Canada)

Paxil: Important information about this depression medication

Before deciding to use this depression medication, the risk of taking this drug must be weighed against the good it could possibly do. This is a decision you and your physician will need to make. For Paxil, the following should be considered:

Allergies– Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reactions to Paxil or similar depression medications. Also, you should tell your health care professional if you’re allergic to any other substances including foods, preservatives or dyes.

Pregnancy– Paxil has not been well studied in pregnant women. It should only be used during pregnancy if the potential benefits significantly outweigh the potential risks to the baby. Before taking this depression medication make sure your doctor knows if you’re pregnant (especially at if it is in the third trimester) or if you may become pregnant.

Breast-feeding– Paxil passes into the breast milk. However, the effects of this medicine in nursing babies has not been established. Caution should be used if you’re breast-feeding.

Children– This depression medication should be used with caution in children who are experiencing depression. Studies have shown occurrences of children thinking about suicide or attempting suicide in clinical trials of this drug. More studies need to be done to be sure that Paxil is safe and effective in children.

Older adults – In studies including older people, Paxil has not caused any different side effects or problems in older adults than it did in younger people. However, Paxil may be removed from the body much more slowly in elderly people. An older adult may need a lower dose than younger individuals.

Other medicines -When you’re taking Paxil or similar depression medications, you should be very concerned about mixing this medication with others. You should always tell your doctor about any medications taken before you consider taking Paxil.

Paxil: Proper use of this antidepressant

You should take Paxil and similar antidepressants only as prescribed by your doctor to benefit your condition as much as possible. You should not take more of it, more often or take it for a longer period of time than your doctor has ordered. Paxil may be taken with or without food or on a full or empty stomach. However, if your doctor tells you to take this antidepressant in a certain way you should take it exactly as directed.

You may have to take Paxil for several weeks before you begin to feel better. Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits during this time to determine if this antidepressant is working effectively. Also, if you’re taking Paxil for depression, you’ll probably need to continue taking it for at least six months to help prevent the depression from returning. If you’re taking the oral suspension form of Paxil, you should shake the bottle well before measuring each dose. Use a small measuring cup or measuring spoon to measure each dose. The teaspoons and tablespoons that are used for serving and eating food do not usually measure exact amounts.

If you’re taking the extended release tablet form of this antidepressant, you should swallow the tablet whole. Do not crush, break or chew before swallowing Paxil.

Storage-How do you store this antidepressant?

You should keep Paxil out of the reach of children. You should store it away from the heat and direct light. Do not store the tablet form of this antidepressant in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down. Keep the oral suspension form of this depression medicine from freezing. You should not keep outdated medicine or medicine which is no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded Paxil is out of the reach of children.

Paxil side effects:

Paxil side effects cannot be anticipated but may arise while on this antidepressant medication. Some rare but serious unwanted Paxil side effects may occur with the use of this antidepressant and have been referred to as the serotonin syndrome. This syndrome (or group of symptoms) is more likely to occur shortly after the dose of Paxil has been increased. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur, you need to contact your doctor immediately. Check with your physician as soon as possible if any of the following Paxil side effects occur:

Less common Paxil side effects:

Agitation; chest congestion; chest pain; chills; cold sweats; confusion; difficulty breathing; dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying down or sitting position; fast, pounding, irregular heartbeat or pulse; muscle pain or weakness; skin rash

Rare Paxil side effects:

Absence of or decrease in body movements; bigger, dilated, or enlarged pupils (black part of the eye); difficulty in speaking; inability to move eyes; incomplete, sudden, or unusual body or facial movements; increased sensitivity of eyes to light; low blood sodium (confusion, convulsions, drowsiness, dryness of mouth, increased thirst, lack of energy); red or purple patches on skin; serotonin syndrome (confusion, diarrhea, fever, poor coordination, restlessness, shivering, sweating, talking and acting with excitement you cannot control, trembling or shaking, twitching); talking, feeling, and acting with excitement and activity you cannot control

Other Paxil side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to this antidepressant. However, you should check with your doctor if the following side effects continue or are bothersome.

More common Paxil side effects:

Acid or sour stomach; belching; decreased appetite; decreased sexual ability or desire ; excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines; heartburn; nervousness; pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones; passing gas; problems in urinating; running or stuffy nose; sexual problems, especially ejaculatory disturbances; sleepiness or unusual drowsiness; stomach discomfort, upset, or pain; sweating; trauma; trembling or shaking; trouble in sleeping

After you stop taking this antidepressant medicine, your body may need time to adjust. The length of time this takes depends upon the amount of the medicine you are using and how long you have been using it. You should check with your doctor immediately if you notice any of the previously mentioned Paxil side effects.

Medical problems and Paxil:

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of Paxil. Make sure to tell your doctor if you have any of the following medical problems, especially:

• Bipolar disorder (mood disorder with alternating episodes between mania and depression) or risk of – may make the condition worse. Your doctor should check you for this condition.
• Brain disease or damage
• Mental retardation
• Epilepsy or seizures (or history of) – The risk of seizures may be increased with Paxil.
• Glaucoma, narrow angle – Patients with this condition should use Paxil and similar antidepressants with caution.
• Heart disease
• Heart attack, recent – Use must be determined by your doctor.
• Kidney disease, severe
• Liver disease, severe – Higher blood levels of Paxil may occur, increasing the chance of side effects
• Mania (history of) – The condition may be activated by Paxil.

Some Information from The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs Additional information by Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)

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Effexor Dosage and Use: What is it for?

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:

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

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Effexor Side Effects and Special Warnings

What Effexor side effects can occur?

Effexor side effects frequently cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity however, you should probably contact your doctor immediately. Your physician is the only one who can really determine the safety of continuing this antidepressant in spite of the sometimes troubling side effects.

The more common side effects of Effexor include:

Abnormal dreams, abnormal ejaculation or orgasms, anxiety, appetite loss, blurred vision, chills, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, frequent urination, flushing, gas, headache, impotence, infection, insomnia, muscle tension, nausea, nervousness, rash, sleepiness, sweating, tingling feeling, tremor, upset stomach, vomiting, weakness and yawning

Some of the less common Effexor side effects include:

Abnormal taste, abnormal thinking, agitation, chest pain, confusion, decreased sex drive, depression, dilated pupils, dizziness upon standing up, high blood pressure, itching, loss of identity, rapid heartbeat, ringing in the ears, trauma, twitching, urinary problems, weight loss

Occasionally there have also been a variety of somewhat rarer Effexor side effects that have been reported. If you notice any new or usual side effect symptoms, let your physician know immediately.

When should this medication not be prescribed?

There have been some serious side effects associated with the use of Effexor when taking this medication with other drugs such as the MAO inhibitors. At times the reaction has been noted to be fatal. You should avoid this drug if it has ever given you an allergic reaction or you notice any other troubling side effect.

What are some of the special warnings when using this depression medication?

Effexor special warnings:

Effexor should be prescribed with caution by your doctor if you have high blood pressure, heart, liver, or kidney disease or a history of seizures or mania (extreme excitability or agitation). You should discuss all medical conditions that seem relevant with your doctor before taking Effexor.

This medication may cause an increase in blood pressure. If this happens you should contact your physician immediately to reduce the dose or consider discontinuing this antidepressant medication. Effexor may also increase your heart rate (especially when taken at higher doses). You should use this medication with caution if you have had a heart attack recently, have suffered from heart failure, or have an overactive thyroid gland. Antidepressants such as Effexor may cause fluid retention, which is especially a concern if you’re an elderly adult. It may also cause you to feel drowsy or less alert, and can affect your judgment. Therefore, you should avoid driving and operating dangerous machinery or participating in other hazardous activities that require you to be completely alert until you know exactly how this drug effects you.

Your physician should examine you regularly if you have glaucoma (high pressure in the eye), or if you are at a relatively high risk of developing this condition. If you ever had any problems of addiction to drugs you should inform your doctor prior to starting this medication. If you develop hives or a skin rash while taking Effexor, notify your physician immediately. Also, Effexor has been known to cause bleeding or bruising of the skin.

You should not stop this depression medication without consulting your doctor. If you do stop suddenly, you may have withdrawal symptoms, although this medication does not usually seem to be habit-forming. Your physician should taper you off this drug gradually rather than stopping it suddenly.

Unfortunately, the safety and effectiveness of Effexor has not been established in children under the age of 18.

Should Effexor be taken if you are pregnant or breastfeeding?

The effects of Effexor during pregnancy have not studied adequately. If you are currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you should notify your physician prior to starting this antidepressant medication. You should only take Effexor during pregnancy if it is absolutely necessary.

If Effexor is taken prior to the delivery of a baby it may possibly suffer from withdrawal symptoms. It has also been found that in breast milk and may cause serious side effects when nursing an infant. You may have to choose between nursing your baby and/or continuing your treatment with this medication.

Information inspired by The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs – Sixth Edition

By Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist

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What are the depression medications, and how do they work?

How do depression medications help?

Depression medications work through their effect on our thinking and neural processes. Our thinking processes and related moods are activated by nerve cells in the brain referred to as neurons. The systems of our body and related thinking processes involved in daily routines and related activities, involve specific neurons working and activating other neurons in order for the thinking and actions to actually take place. Networks of neurons are formed in the brain which are then activated by specific actions and processes. Biochemical substances called neurotransmitters are used to communicate with other neurons and networks of neurons to fulfill specific actions. Some of the main neurotransmitters that are used in our daily routines and bodily functions include “norepinephrine” and “serotonin”. These two neurotransmitters have been found to correlate very highly with how a person thinks and feels resulting in a specific mood. Medications used to treat depression currently increase the levels of serotonin or some increase a combination of both serotonin and norepinephrine. Medications that primarily increase the levels of serotonin are referred to as SSRI”s or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. Some of the newer antidepressant medications that activate and increase the level of both norepinephrine and serotonin in our brains are called Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors or SNRI’s.

Some depression medications have been around for several decades including the Tricyclic antidepressants and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors or MAOI’s. These medications have been found to effect several neurotransmitters in the brain rather than just serotonin and norepinephrine.

Depression Medication: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors:

These depression medications have been identified as increasing the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. However, because they do not actually only effect the level of serotonin, these medications can’t really be accurately referred to as just serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Although somewhat misleading, the medical naming convention is to refer to them as the SSRI class of medications. These include the brand names of:


Other depression medications that have some effect on the brain serotonin metabolism but are not usually referred to as SSRI’s include:

vilazodone (Viibryd)
vortoxetine (Brintellix)
buspirone (BuSpar)
etoperidone (Axiomin, Etonin)
trazodone (Desyrel)

They are included in this section because of their similar side effect profile.

Although the SSRIs seem to be relatively well-tolerated, there are common side effects which include heartburn, drowsiness and difficulty in achieving an orgasm. Also they can sometimes produce transient loss of appetite and may interact poorly with other medications. You should always consult your doctor or pharmacist prior to taking or mixing them with other medications. A more comprehensive listing of SSRI’s side effects will follow on additional pages of this website.

Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRI):

A more recent category of depression medications which have been marketed for their effect on both serotonin and norepinephrine neurotransmitters are categorized as the Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRI’s). These include:

dezvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
duloxetine (Cymbalta)
levomilnacipran (Fetzima)
milnacipran (Ixel, Savella)
tofenacin (Elamol, Tofacine)
venlafaxine (Effexor). Effexor Use and Dosage Effexor Side Effects

Some additional antidepressants that affect primarily serotonin in addition to norepinephrine are not included the marketing category of SSRIs such as;

mirtazapine (Remeron)
setiptline (Tecipul).

Some critics of medication classification conclude that some medicines are classified in a relatively arbitrary manner in order to possibly switch patients from one class to another class if their previous medication does not seem to work effectively.

All of the SNRI’s can possibly cause the same negative side effects listed for the SSRI medications including withdrawal symptoms and possible tardive dysphoria. Venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta) are in the top five drugs reported to the FDA MedWatch associated with violence, including self injury, suicidal tendency or homicidal ideation.

What are the tricyclic antidepressants?

The tricyclic antidepressants get their name from their chemical structure and are actually some of the older depression medications. While some believe that tricyclics have been effective in combating depression for some people, they are believed to have more troublesome side effects than some of the newer antidepressants. Some of the more problematic side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth and constipation. Some of the more popular tricyclics include:


All are now in generic forms and produced by various manufacturers.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI’s):

Another classification of medications which are believed to be effective for some types of depression are the MAOI’s. One of the main concerns with MAOI’s however is that they could possibly have potentially life-threatening drug interaction potential. Your physician needs to be intimately involved when taking these medications in assisting you with avoiding foods which may interact poorly resulting in life-threatening consequences. These medications include:

Nardil (phenelzine)
Parnate (tranylcypromine).

Miscellaneous Categories of Antidepressants:

There are a couple of depression medications that really don’t fit easily into specific categories such as

Remeron (mirtazapine)
Serzone (nefazodone)
Wellbutrin (bupropion

By Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist

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