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Effexor XR


Take charge

Depression, generalized anxiety, social phobia, and panic disorder are real. They’re common. And they’re treatable.

EFFEXOR XR has been prescribed to you by your doctor to relieve your symptoms of one or more of the following conditions:

  • Depression (feeling sad, a change in appetite or weight, difficulty concentrating or sleeping, feeling tired, headaches, unexplained aches and pain)
  • Generalized anxiety or nervousness
  • Social phobia (social anxiety disorder) – avoidance and/or fear of social situations
  • Panic disorder (repeated, unexpected panic attacks)
  • Depression

    How do you know if it’s depression?

    Individuals experience depression in their own unique manner. Although the exact cause of depression is unknown, research has shown that depression may be due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Depression often involves feeling depressed for most of the day, nearly every day, as well as a loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy.

    If you have been diagnosed with depression, the symptoms you are experiencing may include some of the following:

    • Sadness
    • Change in weight
    • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
    • Energy loss
    • Feelings of worthlessness
    • Thoughts of death or suicide

    Who’s at risk of developing depression?

    Depression is an illness, which can affect anyone. People from every age, social, economic, occupational, cultural and religious group get depressed. Risk factors for depression may include:

    • Genetics. Depression runs in families
    • Gender. Women are twice as likely to develop depression
    • Different stages of life. There are times in life when family and work pressures are higher and during which time people are more likely to get depressed
    • Life events. Depression can follow significant life events such as a history of physical and emotional abuse or losses such as the death of a loved one or an unexpected job loss
    • Medical conditions. Depression is common in people who have a medical illness and chronic disability. Additionally, some prescription and nonprescription drugs are known to cause depression by interfering with important chemicals in the brain
    • Social status. Depression is also found to be more common in those with low income, who are unemployed, unmarried or divorced
    • Alcohol use. Alcohol is a known central nervous system depressant
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

    What is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)?

    If you have been diagnosed with GAD, you have ongoing, repeated, exaggerated worrying that interferes with your daily functioning for more than six months. You worry constantly and feel helpless to control these worries. People with GAD have disproportionate levels of worry over routine events that others feel are of minor concern.

    Worrying may not be the only symptom you are dealing with. You may also be experiencing physical symptoms that are related to the worry. Some of these physical symptoms may include:

    • Nausea
    • Trembling
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle tension
    • Headache
    • Feeling restless or keyed up
    • Sweating
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Having sleep difficulties

    Who’s at risk of getting GAD?

    GAD affects nearly 6% of people at some point in their life. It may start in early adulthood, although it’s not uncommon for it to begin much later in life. Some people have a higher risk of getting the disorder:

    • Women are two times more likely to have GAD than men
    • Those with a family history of GAD
    • People with another mental disorder or who have a substance use disorder
  • Social phobia

    Excessive nervousness or embarrassment? It could be social phobia.

    If you have been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, you may feel nervous or uncomfortable in social situations. You may be concerned that you will do something embarrassing or humiliating, or that others will think badly of you. A social situation includes any situation in which you and at least one other person are present, and tends to fall into two main categories:

    • Performance situations where you might feel like you are being observed by others such as giving presentations, participating in meetings, eating in front of others, using public washrooms and performing (i.e., singing or acting) in public
    • Interpersonal situations where you are interacting with others and developing closer relationships such as meeting new people, talking to coworkers or friends, attending a social event, dating, being assertive, expressing opinions and talking on the phone

    When faced with a social situation, you may experience the following symptoms:

    • Increased heart rate, upset stomach, nausea, shaking, choking sensations, sweating, trembling, dry mouth, blushing or the urge to urinate
    • Negative thinking such as “I’m going to say something stupid,” “I’ll get anxious and others will notice,” “They won’t like me,” or “Others will think I’m stupid”
    • Avoidance and safety behaviours such as escaping a scary social situation (i.e., leaving the party early) or engaging in protective behaviours (i.e., drinking alcohol, staying quiet and avoiding eye contact)

    It’s normal to feel anxious in social situations from time to time. For example, many people feel anxious in job interviews or when having to give a formal speech. Social anxiety can be a problem when it becomes too intense or happens too often. When it does, social anxiety can cause significant distress and affect many aspects of a person’s life.

    Who’s at risk of developing a social phobia?

    Social anxiety disorder is one of the most common anxiety disorders, affecting between 7% and 13% of the population. Risk factors for getting social phobia include:

    • Being female. Females are more likely than males to have social anxiety disorder
    • Family history. You’re more likely to develop social anxiety disorder if your biological parents or siblings have the condition
    • Environment. May be a learned behaviour that may have been developed after witnessing the anxious behaviour of others
    • New social or work demands. Meeting new people, giving a speech in public or making an important work presentation may trigger social anxiety disorder symptoms for the first time
    • Having a health condition that draws attention. Facial disfigurement, stuttering or other health conditions can increase feelings of self-consciousness
  • Panic disorder

    Panic disorder, sudden and repeated attacks of fear

    The core symptom of panic disorder is the panic attack, an overwhelming combination of physical and psychological distress. Panic attacks are characterized by a fear of disaster or of losing control, even when there is no real danger. You may also experience strong physical reactions during a panic attack; it may feel like you are having a heart attack. Panic attacks can occur at any time, and many people with panic disorder dread the possibility of having another attack. During an attack, the following symptoms may be experienced (alone or in combination):

    • Pounding heart or chest pain
    • Sweating, trembling, shaking
    • Shortness of breath, sensation of choking
    • Nausea or abdominal pain
    • Dizziness or lightheadedness
    • Feeling unreal or disconnected
    • Fear of losing control, “going crazy” or dying
    • Numbness
    • Chills or hot flashes

    Panic attacks can strike without warning and are accompanied by feelings of terror that range from mild to extreme. The fear experienced by those with a panic disorder is powerful, unpredictable and overwhelming.

    Who’s at risk of developing panic disorder?

    Panic disorder affects about 3.5% of the population. Symptoms of panic disorder may start in early adulthood and affect more women than men. Factors that may increase your risk of developing panic attacks or panic disorder include:

    • Family history of panic attacks or panic disorder
    • Significant stress
    • Death or serious illness of a loved one
    • Major changes in your life, such as the addition of a baby
    • History of childhood physical or sexual abuse
    • Experiencing a traumatic event, such as an accident or sexual assault
  • What is EFFEXOR XR?

    Because most depression and anxiety disorders* have some biological basis, medications that act on the brain’s chemical messengers are prescribed. You have been prescribed EFFEXOR XR. EFFEXOR XR belongs to a group of medicines called antidepressants and is used to relieve the symptoms of depression, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia and panic disorder. EFFEXOR XR is thought to work by affecting two naturally occurring chemicals in the brain called serotonin and norepinephrine.

    The goal of treatment is to help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders*. A combination of medicine, to help relieve the biological symptoms, and nonpharmacological therapies, such as psychotherapy and counselling, to help with the way you think and behave, can help relieve your depression and anxiety disorder* symptoms.

    When should EFFEXOR XR not be used?

    • Do not use EFFEXOR XR if you are allergic to it or to any of the components of its formulation (see list of components at the end of this section). Stop taking the drug and contact your doctor immediately if you experience an allergic reaction or any severe or unusual side effects.
    • Do not use EFFEXOR XR if you are currently taking or have recently taken monoamine oxidase inhibitor antidepressants (e.g., phenelzine sulphate, moclobemide).

    What other treatment options are available for depression and anxiety disorders*?

    For more information, see EFFEXOR XR’s WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS.

  • EFFEXOR XR treatment

    What to expect from your EFFEXOR XR therapy

    When will I start to feel a difference?

    As with all antidepressants, improvement with EFFEXOR XR is gradual. You may not have a noticeable effect in the first few days of treatment. Some symptoms may begin to improve within about two weeks but significant improvement can take several weeks.

    It’s important to note that all medications can cause some side effects. For most patients, these side effects are likely to be minor and temporary, however, some may be serious. To help reduce the risk of side effects, your doctor will start you at a low dose of medication and gradually increase your prescription to a full dose. It may take several weeks of treatment for your symptoms to improve noticeably.

    Talk to your doctor about any side effects you may have.

    How to ensure you are taking EFFEXOR XR properly:

    • It is very important that you take EFFEXOR XR exactly as your doctor has prescribed.
    • Never increase or decrease the amount of EFFEXOR XR you are taking unless your doctor tells you. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
    • EFFEXOR XR should be taken once a day with food, as prescribed; do not divide, crush or chew the capsules.

    For more information on taking EFFEXOR XR, see Taking this medication.

  • Additional treatment options

    What other treatment options are available for depression and anxiety disorders*?

    Because there are multiple factors contributing to depression and anxiety disorders*, there are also a number of different approaches to its management including:

    • Psychotherapy: Supportive therapy is an important part of treatment. Understanding and accepting your illness, addressing the factors which may have contributed to getting ill and developing strategies to cope with life’s challenges will build your resilience and help you get well.
    • Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT): A therapy model often used to help treat depression and anxiety disorders*. The basic idea of CBT is that your thoughts (cognitions) affect how you feel (mood) and lead to your actions (behaviours). Sometimes thoughts and feelings toward situations can be irrational, inaccurate or negative. This can lead to worry, fear, depression and excessive anxiety. CBT helps you identify negative thought patterns and provides you with the tools to view situations more rationally.
    • Peer support: Learning more about your condition and seeking information for coping with mood disorders have been found to have a positive impact on recovery and prevention of relapse.
    • Hospitalization: Sometimes hospitalization may be required, particularly if suicidal feelings are at risk of turning into action, or there are complicating medical conditions or a lack of support at home.
  • Ongoing treatment

    Your ongoing treatment

    How long will I take EFFEXOR XR?

    It is difficult to know how long you will need to take your antidepressant medication. Your doctor will assess your situation on a personal level, make specific recommendations based on your outcomes, and take an individualized approach to your care.

    Don’t give up if treatment doesn’t work quickly. Finding the right medication and dosage for your situation can take some trial and error. To make the most of treatment, keep your medical or therapy appointments, take medications as directed and talk to your doctor about any changes in your condition. Staying on your treatment is very important.

    Sometimes people taking antidepressants feel better and stop taking the medication too soon and the symptoms of depression or anxiety disorders* may worsen. When it is time to stop the medication, the doctor will help you slowly and properly decrease the dose.

    Do not stop taking EFFEXOR XR without talking to your doctor first.

  • Stopping treatment

    When you are ready to stop taking EFFEXOR XR

    Decisions about reducing or stopping your medication should be made only with your doctor. Your dosage of medication needs to be lowered gradually depending on your dose and how long you have been taking EFFEXOR XR, and your doctor will monitor you closely for discontinuation symptoms. These symptoms, some serious, are known to occur when people suddenly stop using their medication.

    Discontinuation symptoms can include loss of appetite, loss of weight, anxiety, restlessness, aggression, confusion, convulsions, coordination problems, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, headache, rapid mood swings, insomnia, nausea, nervousness, nightmares, sensation of tingling, burning or crawling of the skin, electric shock sensations, sleep disturbances, drowsiness, sweating, ringing in the ears, sensation that the world is spinning (vertigo) and vomiting. Just as there is a correct way to start your medication, there is a correct way to stop. Never stop taking your medication until you speak with your doctor.

    Talk to your doctor about the discontinuation symptoms you may be experiencing.

  • Calm the mind

    Learning ways to relax can help calm your mind and deal with your depression or anxiety disorder*. Activities such as relaxation, meditation and yoga can help to relax your mind in situations where you are experiencing depression or anxiety* and may also enhance the effects of your therapy.

    Try relaxation techniques. Progressive relaxation, guided imagery and deep-breathing exercises all help to produce your body’s natural relaxation response. When your body is relaxed, breathing slows, blood pressure and oxygen consumption decrease and you may even feel an increased sense of well-being. These techniques are usually more effective when you practice them regularly and combine them with good nutrition, regular exercise and a strong social support system.

    Focus your attention with meditation. Meditation can help you achieve a state of greater calmness and physical relaxation. Meditation techniques such as specific posture, focused attention and an open attitude toward distractions may help you increase calmness and physical relaxation, and enhance your overall health and well-being.

    Do some yoga. Like meditation, yoga is a mind–body practice with historical origins in ancient Indian philosophy. Yoga typically combines physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation or relaxation that can help you maintain your health and well-being and improve your physical fitness. There are many different styles of yoga that are practiced, so there are many options out there for you.

  • Eat well

    Eating healthily can be a challenge and it is not a substitute for treatment. However, watching what you eat may help you manage your condition. Changes to your diet can make a difference in your general mood and sense of well-being, and of course a well-balanced, nutritious diet is important for your overall health.

    Eating well doesn’t mean giving up the foods you love; it means choosing food wisely and limiting foods and beverages high in calories, fat, sugar or salt (sodium). Try some of the following suggestions when making food choices:

    • Have breakfast every day
    • Benefit from eating vegetables and fruit with all meals and snacks
    • Check the nutrition facts table on food labels to compare products and make informed food choices
    • When eating out, order smaller portions or share with a friend and request nutrition information about the menu items to help you make healthier choices
    • Enjoy eating with family and friends; take time to savour every bite
    • Spread your meals throughout the day to keep you energized and satisfied
    • Avoid skipping meals which may cause you to eat more than you need later in the day
    • Drink water to satisfy your thirst and limit your intake of high-calorie, sweetened beverages
    • Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages
    • Snack smartly – follow your hunger cues and select a variety of foods from all food groups such as fruit, vegetables, dairy and grains
    • Balance your eating with your daily physical activities. If you are very active, choose additional foods from the four food groups to satisfy your extra calorie needs

    A well-balanced, nutritious diet is important for your overall health.

  • Exercise helps

    When you have depression or an anxiety disorder*, exercise may seem like the last thing you want to do. But once you get motivated, exercise can help make you feel better.

    Exercise may help in a number of ways, including:

    • Releasing feel-good brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters and endorphins
    • Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
    • Increasing body temperature, which may provide a calming effect

    Exercise has many emotional benefits as well, helping you to:

    • Gain confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.
    • Take your mind off worries. Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts.
    • Be more social. Exercise may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighbourhood can help your mood.
    • Cope in a healthy way. Doing something positive to manage anxiety* is good for you. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol, dwelling on how badly you feel or hoping anxiety* will go away on its own can lead to worsening symptoms.
  • Get active

    What kind of exercise is best for you?

    The word “exercise” may make you think of running laps around the gym. But exercise includes a number of activities that boost your activity level, helping you to feel better. Certainly running, lifting weights, playing basketball and other fitness activities help. But so can gardening, washing your car or strolling around the block and other less intense activities.

    Find ways to exercise daily. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park a little farther away from your work to fit in a short walk. If you live close to your job, consider biking to work.

    How much is enough?

    Doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week is great! But smaller amounts of activity – as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time – can also make a difference.

    The mental health benefits of exercise last only if you stick with it over the long term. So it’s important to find activities that you enjoy.

  • Get motivated

    How do I get started and stay motivated?

    Starting and sticking with an exercise routine can be tough. These steps can help:

    • Identify what you enjoy doing. What type of physical activities are you most likely to do? Think about when and how you’d be most likely to follow through. For instance, would you be more likely to do some gardening in the evening or go for a jog in the pre-dawn hours? Go for a bike ride or play basketball with your children after school? Do what you enjoy to help you stick with it.
    • Be reasonable. Your mission doesn’t have to be walking for an hour, five days a week. Think realistically about what you may be able to do. Tailor your plan to your own needs and abilities rather than trying to meet unrealistic guidelines that you’re unlikely to meet.
    • Don’t think of exercise as a chore. Look at your exercise schedule as a tool to help you stay healthy.
    • Think about anything that may be stopping you from exercising. If you feel self-conscious, for instance, you may want to exercise at home. If you stick to goals better with a partner, find someone to work out with. If you don’t have money to spend on exercise gear, do something that’s virtually cost-free, such as walking. If you think about what’s stopping you from exercising, you can probably think about a way to overcome it.
    • Give yourself credit for every step in the right direction, no matter how small. If you skip exercise one day, that doesn’t mean you can’t maintain your routine. Just get back at it the next day.

    Important: Remember to first check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program to make sure it’s safe for you.

  • Support

    Surround yourself with people who care for you. Caring friends and family will improve your well-being. Plan activities together that you enjoy, such as a going on a picnic or seeing a movie. Share your feelings and nurture your relationships just as they in turn nurture you.

    Work closely with your doctor. A trusting and honest relationship with your doctor is essential for good care.

    Don’t forget that your pharmacist is also an important part of your healthcare team. You can talk with your pharmacist about any questions or concerns you may have about your treatment.

    Learn as much as you can about depression and anxiety disorders* and your treatment and encourage your family to do the same.

    Join a support group where you can gain support from people who understand what you are going through. A support group allows you to talk to people who share common experiences and problems. Talking it out may help you feel better about your condition and help to better manage your depression or anxiety disorder*.

    Support groups and learning more about the disorder can help a great many people deal with depression and anxiety disorders*.

  • Resources

What is EFFEXOR XR used for?

EFFEXOR XR is used to relieve the symptoms of:

  • Depression (feeling sad, a change in appetite or weight, difficulty concentrating or sleeping, feeling tired, headaches, unexplained aches and pain)
  • Generalized anxiety or nervousness
  • Social phobia (social anxiety disorder) – avoidance and/or fear of social situations
  • Panic disorder (repeated, unexpected panic attacks)

How does EFFEXOR XR work?

EFFEXOR XR belongs to a group of medicines called antidepressants. It is thought to work by affecting two naturally occurring brain chemicals called serotonin and norepinephrine.

Who should not use EFFEXOR XR?

You should not take EFFEXOR XR if you:

  • are allergic to venlafaxine or to any of the nonmedicinal ingredients in it (black iron oxide NF, ethylcellulose NF, gelatin NF, hydroxypropyl-methylcellulose USP, microcrystalline cellulose NF, opacode red print S-15094/95, red iron oxide, talc, titanium dioxide, white ink tekprint SB-0007P, yellow iron oxide). Stop taking EFFEXOR XR and contact your doctor immediately if you experience an allergic reaction or any severe or unusual side effects.
  • are currently taking or have recently taken monoamine oxidase inhibitor antidepressants such as phenelzine sulphate or moclobemide.
  • are under 18 years of age.

What should I tell my doctor before I take EFFEXOR XR?

Before taking EFFEXOR XR, you should have told your doctor or pharmacist:

  • if you have ever had any allergic reaction to medications, food, etc.
  • all your medical conditions, including any history of seizures, liver disease, kidney disease, heart problems or high cholesterol
  • if you have a bleeding disorder or have been told that you have low platelets
  • if you have blood pressure problems
  • any medications (prescription or non-prescription) you are taking, especially monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors or any other antidepressants, weight-loss medication, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety drugs, or medication to control blood pressure
  • if you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant or you are breast feeding
  • your habits of alcohol use and/or street drug use
  • any natural or herbal products you are taking (such as St. John’s Wort)
  • if you had a recent bone fracture or were told you have osteoporosis or risk factors for osteoporosis
  • if you drive a vehicle or perform hazardous tasks during your work

What should I know before taking EFFEXOR XR?


While you are taking this kind of medication, it is important that you and your doctor have good ongoing communication about how you are feeling.

EFFEXOR XR is not for use in children under 18 years of age.

New or Worsened Emotional or Behavioural Problems

Particularly in the first few weeks or when doses are adjusted, a small number of patients taking drugs of this type may feel worse instead of better. They may experience new or worsened feelings of aggression, agitation, hostility, anxiety, impulsivity or thoughts about suicide, self-harm or harm to others.

Note that suicidal thoughts and actions can occur in anyone but may be more likely in people 18 to 24 years old and people who have previously had thoughts about harming themselves. If this happens to you, talk to your doctor immediately. Close observation by a doctor is necessary in this situation. Do not stop taking your medication on your own.

You may find it helpful to tell a relative or close friend that you are depressed or have an anxiety disorder, and ask them to read this website. You might ask them to tell you if they think your depression or anxiety is getting worse, or if they are worried about changes in your behaviour.

Taking EFFEXOR XR may increase your risk of experiencing sexual problems, which may continue after EFFEXOR XR has been discontinued. Tell your doctor if you experience symptoms such as a decrease in sexual desire, performance or satisfaction.

Taking EFFEXOR XR may also increase your risk of breaking a bone if you are elderly or have osteoporosis or have other major risk factors for breaking a bone. Take extra care to avoid falls, especially if you get dizzy or have low blood pressure.

Discontinuing EFFEXOR XR

It is very important that you do NOT stop taking this medication without first consulting your doctor.

Effects on Pregnancy and Newborns

Post-marketing reports indicate that some newborns whose mothers took an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) or other newer anti-depressants, such as EFFEXOR XR, during pregnancy have developed complications at birth requiring prolonged hospitalization, breathing support and tube feeding. Reported symptoms included feeding and/or breathing difficulties, seizures, tense or overly relaxed muscles, jitteriness and constant crying.

Taking EFFEXOR XR in mid to late pregnancy may increase the risk for preeclampsia (high blood pressure and protein in the urine) and taking it near delivery may increase the risk of heavy bleeding after giving birth.

Angle-closure Glaucoma

EFFEXOR XR can cause an acute attack of glaucoma. Having your eyes examined before you take EFFEXOR XR could help identify if you are at risk of having angle-closure glaucoma. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience:

  • eye pain
  • changes in vision
  • swelling or redness in or around the eye

Drug Interactions

Do not use EFFEXOR XR if you are taking or have recently taken monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

  • Avoid taking St. John’s Wort if you are taking EFFEXOR XR.
  • Certain lab results may be affected by use of EFFEXOR XR. Tell your doctor if you receive any unusual lab reports.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking or have recently taken any medications (prescription, non-prescription or natural/herbal), especially
    • other antidepressants
    • other drugs that affect serotonin (such as amphetamines, lithium, linezolid, sibutramine, tryptophan or triptans used to treat migraines)
    • certain medicines that may affect blood clotting and increase bleeding (such as warfarin, dabigatran, Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen)
    • cimetidine
    • ketoconazole
    • certain medications used to treat pain, cough, schizophrenia, bipolar depression, high blood pressure, angina or epilepsy

Learn More: Taking this medication >

How should I take EFFEXOR XR?

Take EFFEXOR XR once a day with food. Do not divide, crush or chew the capsules.

It is very important that you take EFFEXOR XR exactly as your doctor has instructed. Never increase or decrease the amount of EFFEXOR XR you are taking unless your doctor tells you to.

Do not give your EFFEXOR XR to anyone else.

What precautions should I take while I’m taking EFFEXOR XR?

  • Keep your drinking of alcoholic beverages to a minimum or stop drinking them completely.
  • If you feel sleepy while taking EFFEXOR XR, do not drive or operate machinery.

When might my symptoms improve?

As with all antidepressant medicines, improvement with EFFEXOR XR is gradual. You may not see a noticeable effect in the first few days of treatment. Some symptoms may begin to improve within about 2 weeks, but significant improvement can take several weeks.

What if I miss a dose of EFFEXOR XR?

If you happen to miss a dose, don’t try to make up for it by doubling your next dose. Just take your next dose as usual and try not to miss any more.

What if I take too much EFFEXOR XR?

In case of overdose, contact your doctor or the nearest hospital emergency department, even though you may not feel sick.

How should I store EFFEXOR XR?

Store EFFEXOR XR at room temperature (15-30°C) in a dry place. Keep the container tightly closed and out of the sight and reach of children.

If your doctor tells you to stop taking EFFEXOR XR, please return any left-over medicine to your pharmacist.

What if I want to stop taking EFFEXOR XR?

It is very important that you do NOT stop taking EFFEXOR XR without first talking to your doctor.

Learn More: Safety information >

What are the side effects of EFFEXOR XR?

Like all medications, EFFEXOR XR can cause some side effects, although you may not experience any of them. For most patients these side effects are likely to be minor and temporary. However, some may be serious.

Some side effects of EFFEXOR XR are:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • constipation
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • sleepiness
  • dizziness
  • insomnia
  • sexual problems
  • weakness
  • sweating
  • nervousness
  • abnormal vision
  • abnormal dreams

Some of these side effects may be related to the dose you are taking. Consult your doctor if you experience these or other side effects, as your dose may have to be adjusted.

If you experience an allergic reaction (including red skin, hives, itching, swelling of the lips, face, tongue or throat, trouble breathing, wheezing, shortness of breath, skin rashes, blisters of the skin, or sores or pain in the mouth or eyes) or any severe or unusual side effects, stop taking EFFEXOR XR and contact your doctor immediately.

What are the serious side effects and what should I do about them?

Side effect

How common is it?

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist right away?

Seek urgent medical attention?

Increased blood pressure that persists (if severe, it may cause a headache, particularly in the back of your head/neck when waking up; a stronger, possibly faster or irregular heartbeat; chest pain; dizziness; excessive tiredness; or blurred vision)



If it causes symptoms

Fast heartbeat




Allergic reaction




Low sodium level in the blood (causes tiredness, weakness and confusion, plus achy, stiff or uncoordinated muscles)




Low platelets (causes bruising or unusual bleeding from the skin or elsewhere)




Mania/hypomania (causes an elevated or irritable mood, less need for sleep and racing thoughts)




Akathisia (feeling restless and unable to sit or stand still)








Uncontrollable movements of the body or face




Inability to urinate




Vomiting blood or passing blood in the stools








Serotonin syndrome (a combination of most or all of the following: confusion, restlessness, sweating, shaking, shivering, high fever, sudden jerking of the muscles, hallucinations and a fast heartbeat)




Liver disorder (can cause nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite combined with itching, yellowing of the skin or eyes and dark urine)




Glaucoma (swelling or redness in or around the eye, eye pain and changes in vision)




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