How To Take EFFEXOR XR® (venlafaxine HCl) | Safety Info

How To Take EFFEXOR XR

EFFEXOR XR should be taken exactly as prescribed. Your doctor may need to adjust your dosage of EFFEXOR XR until the right dose is established for you; do not change your dose without consulting your physician.

  • Take a single dose of EFFEXOR XR with food at about the same time every day, in the morning or in the evening
  • The capsule should be swallowed whole; it should not be divided, crushed, chewed, or placed in water
  • It can also be administered by carefully opening the capsule and sprinkling its contents onto a spoonful of applesauce. This mixture should be swallowed immediately, without chewing, and followed by a glass of water

If you have questions about taking your medication, adjusting your daily dose, or discontinuing treatment with EFFEXOR XR, speak with your doctor.

Take Your Medicine Every Day

It is important to take EFFEXOR XR every day according to your doctor’s instructions. If you miss a dose or abruptly decrease your dosage without your doctor's approval, there is a chance that you may experience “discontinuation symptoms.” This term describes the symptoms that may occur when a person suddenly stops or quickly lowers his or her daily dose of an antidepressant.

Examples of discontinuation symptoms include: agitation, anorexia, anxiety, confusion, problems with coordination and balance, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, a “down” or sad mood, muscle twitches, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, headaches, feeling very “up” or irritable for a number of days with no need for sleep, problems falling asleep or staying asleep, nausea, nervousness, nightmares, sensory disturbances (including shock-like electrical sensations), feeling overly sleepy, sweating, tremor, vertigo, and vomiting.

Discontinuing Treatment

If you and your doctor have made the decision to discontinue treatment, gradually reducing the dose is recommended rather than abruptly stopping your medication. To successfully taper you off treatment with EFFEXOR XR and avoid discontinuation symptoms, your physician should slowly decrease your daily dose and carefully monitor you for symptoms.

If You Miss a Dose

You should take EFFEXOR XR at about the same time every day. However, if you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regularly scheduled time. Do not take 2 doses of EFFEXOR XR at the same time.

If you take too much EFFEXOR XR, call your doctor or poison control center or seek emergency treatment immediately.

EFFEXOR XR is available in different dosage strengths (37.5 mg, 75 mg, and 150 mg).

Indications

Effexor XR extended-release capsules are a prescription medicine indicated for the treatment, in adults, of Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), and Panic Disorder (PD) with or without agoraphobia.

Important Safety Information

Suicidality and Antidepressant Drugs

Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, teens, and young adults. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Effexor XR is not approved for use in children and teens.

  • Do not take Effexor XR if you currently take, or have taken within the last 14 days, any medicine known as an MAOI such as linezolid or methylene blue. Do not take an MAOI within 7 days of stopping Effexor XR. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure if your medicine is an MAOI.
  • All patients taking antidepressants should be watched closely for signs that their condition is getting worse or that they are becoming suicidal, especially when they first start therapy, or when their dose is increased or decreased. Patients should also be watched for becoming agitated, irritable, hostile, aggressive, impulsive, or restless. Such symptoms should be reported to the patient’s doctor right away.
  • Before starting Effexor XR, tell your doctor if you’re taking or plan to take any prescription or over-the-counter drugs, including migraine headache medication, herbal preparations, and nutritional supplements, to avoid a potentially life-threatening condition.
  • Effexor XR may raise blood pressure in some patients. Your blood pressure should be controlled before starting treatment and should be monitored regularly.
  • Taking Effexor XR with aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warfarin, or other drugs that affect coagulation may increase the risk of bleeding events.
  • Some people are at risk for visual problems such as eye pain, changes in vision, or swelling or redness around the eye. You may want to undergo an eye examination to see if you are at risk and get preventative treatment if you are.
  • When people suddenly stop using or quickly lower their daily dose of Effexor XR, discontinuation symptoms may occur. Talk to your doctor before discontinuing or reducing your dose of Effexor XR.
  • Pregnant or nursing women shouldn’t take any antidepressant without consulting their doctor.
  • Until you see how Effexor XR affects you, be careful doing such activities as driving a car or operating machinery. Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Effexor XR.
  • In clinical studies, the most common side effects with Effexor XR (reported in at least 5% of patients and at least twice as often as with placebo) were constipation, dizziness, dry mouth, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, nervousness, sexual side effects, sleepiness, sweating, and weakness.

Patients should always ask their doctors for medical advice about adverse events.

You may report an adverse event related to Pfizer products by calling 1-800-438-1985 (US only). If you prefer, you may contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) directly. The FDA has established a reporting service known as MedWatch where health care professionals and consumers can report serious problems they suspect may be associated with the drugs and medical devices they prescribe, dispense, or use. Visit MedWatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please see Full Prescribing Information, including BOXED WARNING, and Medication Guide for EFFEXOR XR.