Specific Safety Concerns With Effexor XR
Some Effexor XR Warnings and PrecautionsSome warnings and precautions of Effexor XR include:
- Antidepressants (including Effexor XR) may increase the risk of suicidal thinking or behavior in children, teenagers, and adults (see Antidepressants and Suicide for more information). Therefore, if you notice any changes in symptoms or new symptoms, talk with your healthcare provider immediately. Some of these symptoms may include anxiety, hostility, agitation, panic, restlessness, hallucinations, extreme hyperactivity, and suicidal thinking or behavior (see Effexor XR and Suicide for more information).
- Before prescribing Effexor XR for depression, your healthcare provider should make sure that you do not have bipolar disorder (instead of depression). Sometimes, the symptoms of bipolar disorder and depression are very similar, and Effexor XR can cause problems in people with bipolar disorder.
- In previous studies, Effexor XR was shown to slightly increase blood pressure and heart rate. Your healthcare provider should monitor your blood pressure and heart rate while you are taking Effexor XR.
- Antidepressants can cause a group of dangerous symptoms known as serotonin syndrome. Taking Effexor XR with other medications that affect serotonin can increase your risk of serotonin syndrome. These other medications include other antidepressants, triptans (migraine medications), and several other medications (see Effexor XR Drug Interactions for more information). Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you have any possible symptoms of serotonin syndrome, including:
- Seeing or hearing things that are not really there (hallucinations)
- Fast heartbeat (tachycardia)
- Feeling faint
- Muscle spasms
- Difficulty walking
- Your healthcare provider should monitor your closely if you have glaucoma (a condition of the eyes) while you are taking Effexor XR, as Effexor XR may make glaucoma worse.
- Effexor XR can cause anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia. Tell your healthcare provider if you experience these symptoms while taking Effexor XR.
- Effexor XR may increase the risk of bleeding or bruising. This is probably most dangerous in people who already have a bleeding disorder or who take other medications that increase the risk of bleeding.
- Effexor XR can cause a loss of appetite and weight loss. Usually, weight loss is small; although it is possible to lose large amounts of weight while taking Effexor XR (see Effexor XR and Weight Loss).
- Effexor XR can cause seizures or high cholesterol, and can also increase your risk of bleeding. Let your healthcare provider known if you have a seizure or if you notice any unusual bleeding (such as unusual bruising or blood in the stool) while taking Effexor XR.
- Since Effexor XR is removed from the body using the liver and kidneys, you may need a lower Effexor XR dosage if you have liver or kidney problems.
- Effexor XR can interact with certain other medications (see Effexor XR Drug Interactions).
- You should talk with your doctor about whether to avoid alcohol while taking Effexor XR (see Alcohol and Effexor XR).
- If you are elderly or are taking a diuretic, Effexor XR could cause low salt levels in the blood (hyponatremia). Salt levels generally return to "normal" when Effexor XR is discontinued.
- If you are stopping Effexor XR, you should be monitored by a healthcare professional for Effexor XR withdrawal symptoms. If you do develop any symptoms of Effexor XR withdrawal -- such as irritability, anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, or insomnia -- your healthcare provider may slow down the rate at which the Effexor XR is stopped (see Effexor XR Withdrawal).
- Effexor XR may affect your ability to perform complex tasks requiring mental and motor skills. Therefore, it is recommended that you become accustomed to its effect on you before performing any activities requiring mental or motor concentration (such as driving a car or operating machinery). Taking Effexor XR with alcohol or other medications that cause drowsiness can increase this effect.
Effexor XR may increase your risk for certain lung problems. Be sure to let your healthcare provider know right away if you have signs of lung problems, such as difficulty breathing, coughing, or chest pain.
- This medication can cause false positives on some urine drug tests for phencyclidine (PCP) or amphetamines. If this happens, more specific tests can be done to confirm (or deny) the results of the initial test.
- Effexor XR is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that Effexor XR may not be safe to use during pregnancy. Talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using Effexor XR during pregnancy (see Effexor XR and Pregnancy for more information).
- Effexor XR passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about using Effexor XR (see Effexor and Breastfeeding).