Effexor XR and Suicide
In previous clinical studies, there appeared to be a slightly increased risk of suicidal behavior in children and teenagers who took antidepressants, including Effexor XR. However, it is hard to know for sure whether there is a link between the use of Effexor XR and suicides or suicidal behavior. Also, there are certain people who seem to be at a higher risk of suicidal behavior while taking antidepressants, such as those with bipolar disorder (or a family history of bipolar disorder) and those who have attempted suicide (or have a family history of suicide attempts).
An Overview of Effexor XR and SuicideEffexor XR® (venlafaxine XR) is a prescription medicine used to treat depression and certain anxiety disorders. The medicine is one of a group of antidepressant drugs called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). As with all antidepressants, there may be an increased risk of suicidal behavior when taking Effexor XR.
Effexor XR and Suicide: FDA WarningThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a special warning about the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior with antidepressant use in children and teenagers. The warning was issued due to concerns that antidepressants seemed to increase the risk of suicidal behavior in children and teenagers in clinical studies. Although Effexor XR is not approved for use in children or teenagers, it may be used "off-label" for this age group.
Does Effexor XR Cause Suicides?In previous clinical studies, it did appear that there was a slightly increased risk of suicidal behavior in children and teenagers who took antidepressants, including Effexor XR. In one study, about 4 percent of children and teens taking an antidepressant had suicidal thoughts or behavior, compared to 2 percent of children and teens who were not taking an antidepressant. This study looked at all suicidal behavior, including suicides, attempted suicides, and thoughts about committing suicide. It is important to note that no one in the study actually committed suicide.
It is difficult to know for sure if antidepressants cause suicidal behavior. To make matters more confusing, depression itself can cause suicidal behavior. The bottom line is that you should report any signs of suicidal behavior to your healthcare professional, regardless of whether or not you are taking an antidepressant.
Certain people seem to be at a higher risk of suicidal behavior while taking antidepressants. This includes people with bipolar disorder (or a family history of bipolar disorder) and people who have attempted suicide (or have a family history of suicide attempts).