Effexor (venlafaxine) is a medication used primarily for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It achieves these effects through its action as a SNRI or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. This results in increased concentrations of serotonin and norepinephrine within the frontal lobe of the brain. Low concentrations of both norepinephrine and serotonin have been found to be linked to MDD as well as GAD. Although Effexor has been very helpful for a wide variety of people it also does exhibit undesirable side effects in certain individuals.
Side effects of Effexor (venlafaxine) symptoms
One of the most severe side effects of taking Effexor is an increase in the risk of suicide by the increase of suicidal tendencies and ideation. Many studies have found that patients who take Effexor experience a greater likelihood to commit suicide than those taking other medications for depression. The statistics show an even higher likelihood that those under 25 years of age will commit suicide while taking Effexor. For this reason it is not prescribed to those under 25 years of age. Another side effect reported by many who take Effexor is a decrease in sexual function. This can result in difficulty becoming aroused or achieving orgasm. Both men and women can develop a decrease in sensitivity in their genital regions while taking Effexor making it hard to sexually interact with their partner.
Nausea, a less serious side effect, is one of the most commonly experienced side effects of those taking Effexor. Those taking Effexor also often experience dizziness and insomnia. The insomnia is due to Effexor being stimulating to some that take the medication. Effexor is closely related to stimulant drugs such as amphetamines though it itself does not function as a stimulant. For this reason some who take it experience stimulant like feelings. There is contradictory evidence to whether or not Effexor causes patients to lose weight or gain weight. One study found that those taking Effexor with severe depression lost weight while another study found that Effexor caused those taking it to gain weight.
Effexor and alcohol
Alcohol can often have a dangerous synergistic effect when combined with medications. Though alcohol's effects when combined with Effexor (venlafaxine) are not as pronounced when alcohol is combined with other antidepressant medications it is still recommended to avoid this combination as it can lead to increased sedation. It may also lead to an increased loss of coordination and blurred vision. This can be a dangerous side effect especially when the user is in a public place or situation where they are expected to function normally.
Effexor and pregnancy
There have been recent studies which suggest the use of Effexor while pregnant can double the chance of a miscarriage. For this reason women who are pregnant should avoid taking Effexor while pregnant unless it is absolutely necessary. There is no correlation between birth defects and taking Effexor though there may be a condition where the baby is born somewhat impaired. This condition however will go away after a few days and is nothing to worry about.