Venlafaxine – Antidepressant in depression and anxiety treatment
Venlafaxine is a medicine from the group of medicines called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). It belongs to the antidepressant and it is used to treat depression and anxiety.
This medicine increases levels of serotonin (often called the happiness hormone) and noradrenaline, thereby improving the symptoms of depression and anxiety. It is also very effective in the treatment of social phobia (fears in certain social situations).
It cannot be used in the following conditions:
- If you are allergic to this drug or other similar medicines.
- If you have taken medicines called MAO inhibitors in the last 2 weeks, such as:
- isocarboxazid and others.
It must be used with great caution in the following conditions:
- High blood pressure (hypertension).
- Glaucoma (elevated eye pressure).
- Tendency to aggressive behavior.
- Hyponatremia (low levels of sodium in the blood).
- Hypercholesterolemia (high blood cholesterol).
- Liver disorders
- Renal disorders
- Blood clotting disorders
- Thyroid gland disorders
Please, note that in the beginning of treatment, this medicament may worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety. Immediately contact your doctor if you experience symptoms such as:
- suicidal ideation (thoughts of suicide and self-harming),
- aggravated depression,
- heightened fears.
It would be useful to educate patient’s family members, to inform the doctor if they notice mood changes in the patient.
It is very important to tell your doctor about all medications and herbal medicines you are taking because Venlafaxine when used concomitant with certain medicines, may cause so-called serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome is a serious condition which may have a fatal outcome!
Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:
- rapid heartbeat (tachycardia),
- high blood pressure (hypertension),
- dilated pupils of the eyes,
Contact your doctor if you experience these symptoms.
It should not be used concomitant with alcoholic beverages, because alcohol may increase the effects of Venlafaxine.
Use during pregnancy and breast-feeding
This drug belongs to the group C (FDA: Group C). This means that animal studies have shown that Venalfaksin is harmful to the fetus, but there are no studies on humans. It should be used during pregnancy only if the benefit to the mother outweighs the risk to the child.
Venlafaxine passes into breast milk, therefore you should avoid breast-feeding while using Venlafaxine.
How to use
Venlafaxine exist in the form of sustained release tablets and immediate release tablets.
The usual dose of Venlafaxine sustained release tablet is 75 mg once a day. Dosage can be increased until desired effect is achieved. You should always use the lowest effective dose to avoid side effects.
The usual dose of Venlafaxine immediate release tablets is 37.5 mg twice a day (every 12 hours), or 25 mg three times a day (8 hours). Dosage can be increased until desired effect is achieved.
The maximum daily dose of venlafaxine tablets is 225 mg.
You will need to take this drug a longer period of time to achieve appropriate effect. Your doctor will tell you for how long you are going to use it.
It should be taken with a meal. Swallow the tablet whole. Do not crush it or chew it.
Avoid the use of alcoholic beverages and St. John’s wort while using Venlafaxine.
It is not recommended for use in patients younger than 18 years of age.
Use with other medicines (Interactions)
It cannot be used with the following medications:
- Other antidepressants such as:
- Triptans, medicines used to treat migraines such as:
- rizatriptan and others. The concomitant use with these medicines may cause serotonin syndrome.
- Tramadol (Trodon), used to relieve severe pain. The concomitant use of Venlafaxine with this medicine may cause serotonin syndrome.
- Sibutramine, weight loss medicine. The concomitant use with this medicine may cause serotonin syndrome.
- Medicines used in the treatment of mental illnesses such as:
- Metoprolol, used for the high blood pressure treatment.
- Medicines used for the fungal infections treatment such as:
- clotrimazole and others.
Tell your doctor about all medications and herbal medicines you are taking.
Venlafaxine side effects
Venlafaxine can cause the following side effects:
- dry mouth (occurs very often),
- loss of appetite,
- blurred vision,
- dilated pupils,
- involuntary movements,
- taste changes,
- hypotension (low blood pressure),
- high blood cholesterol,
- menstrual cycle disorders,
- low blood platelet count,
- lowering of the sodium levels in the blood,
- chest pain,
- allergy and others.
Tell your doctor if you experience any of abovementioned side effects.