What is Effexor (venlafaxine hcl)?
Effexor is an antidepressant drug used for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) as well as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). In is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) and has been found to be helpful for differing conditions based upon the dosage taken. It is also know by its generic name venlafaxine hydrochloride. It is currently the sixth most prescribed medication in the United States and is popular for treatment of a variety of disorders around the world.
Effexor and Effexor XR
Effexor is commonly prescribed in two different forms. Normal release Effexor is found to produce higher concentrations of the medication in the blood that Effexor XR. Effexor standard release enters the blood stream at a quicker rate resulting in a stronger shorter lasting effect. Effexor standard release must be taken typically twice a day. Effexor XR releases the medication at a slower steadier rate than standard release Effexor. Many find Effexor XR to not be as irritating to the stomach and gastrointestinal system as a whole than standard release Effexor. Effexor XR only needs to be taken once a day as well.
Effexor (venlafaxine) uses
Many may wonder what is Effexor used for? Primarily it is used for the treatment of depression. It has been found to be very effective in treating depression. Depression has been found to be linked to low levels of serotonin and norepinephrine. As a reuptake inhibitor Effexor gradually increases the levels of these chemicals in the frontal cortex causing those with the depressive symptoms to feel better. Effexor is also used for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. Anxiety is also linked to the same neurotransmitters as depression so for this reason Effexor is also used to treat anxiety. Doctors have also begun to prescribe Effexor for diabetic neuropathy as it has been found to greatly ease the symptoms in many cases. It has also shown to be effective in treating certain kinds of migraines. Women undergoing menopause are also increasingly prescribed Effexor for helping to lessen the severity and frequency of hot flashes. It has shown to be very effective at doing this. It is not recommended to use Effexor for the treatment of Bipolar disorder as it may induce a manic state or severe mood swings.
How does Effexor work?
Effexor is classified as an SNRI meaning it is a reuptake inhibitor of both serotonin as well as norepinephrine. It has also been found to be a reuptake inhibitor of dopamine in high doses. It blocks the reuptake of theses neurotransmitters by binding to key protein sites that are necessary for these neurotransmitters to be eliminated from the brain. This leaves more serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the synapses which is what causes the effects of elevated mood in those experiencing depression. Other studies have also found that Effexor also interacts with certain opioid receptors. Studies where Effexor was given to mice, showed that the mice had a decreased pain threshold. This explains why Effexor is so effective at treating very severe depression.