Alventa - Use | Dose | Side Effects
This article was medically reviewed by M.Pharm, Marko Tanaskovic on August 12, 2018. To read more about an author, click here.
Alventa contains an active substance called venlafaxine. It belongs to the antidepressants group of medicines called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI). This medicine is used to treat depression, anxiety and social phobia (fear of certain social situations). Alventa increases levels of serotonin (sometimes called the happiness hormone) and norepinephrine, thereby relieving the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Alventa should be avoided in patients allergic to the active substance venlafaxine or other similar medicines. If you are experiencing symptoms of an allergy such as:
- itching of the skin,
- redness of the skin,
- difficulty breathing, contact your doctor immediately.
It should be avoided in patients who have taken medicines called MAO inhibitors in the past 14 days. Some of the MAO inhibitors are:
- moclobemide and others. If you are taking MAO inhibitors, you will need to stop using these medicines and after 7 days you can start using Alventa tablets. It is very important to avoid concomitant use of these medicines because serotonin syndrome may occur Serotonin syndrome may have a fatal outcome.
It may lead to high blood pressure, so it is not recommended for use in patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) or other heart disorders (arrhythmias-irregular heartbeat).
This drug can cause high eye pressure, so it is not recommended for use in patients with glaucoma (elevated eye pressure).
Alventa must be used with great caution in patients who have a tendency towards aggressive behavior and violence, because it may cause self-harming and suicidal thoughts.
Alventa may cause low blood sodium level and should be avouded in patients who already have low blood sodium level blood (hyponatremia). Symptoms of hyponatremia include:
- slurred speech,
- loss of coordination,
- weakness. If you are experiencing these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.
It should be used with extra precautions in patients with liver or kidney disorders.
Alventa can raise your cholesterol levels therefore should be avoided in patients who already have high blood cholesterol.
It should be used with extra precautions in patients with thyroid disorders as well as in patients with diabetes.
Please, note that at the beginning of treatment, Alventa may worsen the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Immediately contact your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms such as:
- suicidal ideation,
- self-harming thoughts,
- aggravated depression and fear.
It is necessary to educate patient's family members to notify the doctor when there is a significant change in the mood of the patient.
It is very important to inform your doctor about all medications and herbal medicines you are using because Alventa may cause serotonin syndrome when used with some medicines. Serotonin syndrome is a serious condition which may have a fatal outcome!
Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:
- rapid heartbeat (tachycardia),
- high blood pressure (hypertension),
- widening of the pupils of the eye,
Tell your doctor if you are experiencing any of abovementioned symptoms.
It should be avoided in combination with the alcoholic beverages, because alcohol can increase the effects of Alventa.
Use during pregnancy and breastfeeding
According to US Agency for Food and Drug Administration, Alventa belongs to the group C (FDA: Group C). This means that animal studies have shown that Alventa is not safe for use in pregnancy, 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.
Alventa passes into breast milk, therefore breastfeeding should be avoided while using Alventa.
How to use
Alventa is found in the form of sustained release tablets as well as the immediate release tablets.
The usual dose of Alventa sustained release tablet is 75 mg once a day. Dosage can be increased as needed. Always use the lowest effective dose to avoid side effects.
The usual dose of Alventa 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 as needed.
Dosage of Alventa should not exceed 225 mg a day.
You need to take Alventa for a longer time to achieve desired effect. Your doctor will tell you how long you need to use this drug.
It should be taken with food. Tablet should be swallowed whole. Do not crush the tablets because it may hamper their effects.
It should not be used in combination with alcoholic beverages. Alventa should also not be used in combination with St. John's wort and various preparations of St. John's wort because it may lead to the serotonin syndrome.
Alventa is intended for use in patients above the age of 18 but it is not recommended for use in patients below the age of 18.
Use with other medicines (Interactions)
Alventa should be avoided with the following medications:
- Other medicines used in the treatment of depression such as:
- lithium and others. Concomitant use with these medicines may cause serotonin syndrome.
- Sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, rizatriptan and other medicines used in the treatment of migraine. Concomitant use of Alventa with these medicines may cause serotonin syndrome.
- Tramadol (Trodon), used to relieve severe pain. Concomitant use with this medicine may cause serotonin syndrome.
- Sibutramine, weight loss medicine. Concomitant use of Alventa with this medicine may cause serotonin syndrome.
- Haloperidol, risperidone and other medciines used to treat mental disorders.
- Metoprolol, used in the treatment of high blood pressure.
- Ketoconazole, itraconazole, clotrimazole, fluconazole and other medicines used in the treatment of fungal infections.
Tell your doctor about all medications and herbal medicines you are taking.
Alventa side effects
Alventa may cause the following side effects:
- dry mouth (occurs very often),
- loss of appetite,
- blurred vision,
- dilated eye pupils,
- involuntary movements,
- taste changes,
- hypotension (low blood pressure),
- high cholesterol levels,
- menstrual cycle disorders,
- low blood platelet count,
- easy bruising,
- lowering blood sodium levels,
- chest tightness,
- allergy and others.
Tell your doctor if you are experiencing any of above mentioned side effects.
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If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.