The world of pharmacology is in a constant state of change as new medications hit the market and studies discover side effects and drug interactions. This makes for an extremely difficult time when trying to remain up to date on your prescriptions and staying safe. There are even times when drugs are recalled due to issues that may have occurred during manufacturing or bottling or due to new formulas being devised that proved safer and more effective.
Effexor has been a commonly prescribed depression medication for many years now. The base version was discontinued in the United States when the Effexor XR formulation was released which allowed the drug’s dosage to be reduced to once daily with reduced risks of nausea compared to the original Effexor formula.
What is Effexor?
Effexor is the brand name for the generic drug called venlafaxine. It is a prescription medication most commonly used for treating depression, anxiety, panic disorder, and social phobia. Effexor is also used to treat neuropathic pain, which is pain that arises from damaged nerves. It has also been prescribed for off label purposes for treatment of migraine prophylaxis and diabetic neuropathy. Effexor has also been used in other clinical studies which showed some efficacy in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Effexor is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). It helps to restore the natural balance of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. It is typically packaged inside of a soluble capsule which is taken orally, often with food.
Many different Effexor studies have linked Effexor with an increased risk of suicide or suicidal ideation when compared to other drugs which function similarly. This was especially true among teenagers who were switched to venlafaxine (Effexor). Effexor has not shown to be effective for treating children and is contraindicated for those under the age of 25. Effexor should not be taken in conjunction with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) due to the potential for causing fatal serotonin syndrome.
What are the Side Effects of Effexor?
Effexor has been linked with many known side effects with varying degrees of severity and likelihood of occurring. The most common Effexor side effects are headache and nausea. Most serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Effexor are known to cause headaches that happen most often when the drug is first introduced into the system or when increases in dosage occur. The nausea side effect of Effexor is more common with venlafaxine when compared to other SSRIs which tends to be short-lived and occur less often when taking the extended-release Effexor XR formulation.
Most common side effects of Effexor (venlafaxine) are:
- Insomnia, trouble sleeping
- Asthenia, a general feeling of weakness
- Ejaculation disorder
- Dry mouth and sweating
Effexor has also been linked with constipation, weight loss, vomiting, impotence, confusion, decreased libido, and hypertension among other side effects. It’s important to stay away from potentially dangerous tasks such as driving or operating heavy equipment when starting Effexor treatment before understanding how the drug affects you.
What Happens if Effexor is Taken with Alcohol?
Many of the side effects associated with Effexor are also correlated with alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol while taking Effexor can increase the risk of many of the negative side effects presented by venlafaxine therapy. Antidepressants taken with alcohol tend to increase the likelihood of deleterious effects.
Alcohol is often used to self medicate depression, but habitual use of alcohol can worsen depression while also posing numerous other health risks. Effexor should not be taken with alcohol, especially when first starting treatment or when increasing the dosage.
Side effects linked with mixing alcohol and Effexor may include:
- Memory loss
- Delayed reaction times
- Cognitive difficulties
Effexor can also cause bleeding problems by slowing down platelets from forming clots that stop bleeding. Alcohol use also caused blood to become thinner. This means using both together can increase the risk of bleeding problems such as stomach bleeding, nosebleeds, and brain hemorrhaging.
Alcohol use is always cautioned against for patients with mental disorders due to alcohol’s effects on the brain. Alcohol is known to worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders due to its function as a depressant. Effexor and alcohol have both been linked with increased suicidal ideation, mood swings, and irritability. Both alcohol and Effexor have their own negative side effects that may occur when taking them on their own, but combining the two can increase the likelihood of these negative effects occurring.
Alcohol should not be consumed at all when first starting Effexor therapy in order to give the patient time to understand how Effexor affects them. It is highly recommended that alcohol use is limited while taking Effexor. Alcohol consumption should always be kept to a minimum but this is especially true for those who suffer from depression and are currently taking antidepressants.
Alcohol abuse and Effexor abuse can lead to dependency and result in many negative side effects as well as withdrawal symptoms. If you believe you are suffering from an addiction, it’s imperative that you seek professional help to guide you through the recovery process.
Need Help Recovering From Addiction?
Prolonged drug abuse can result in numerous health risks while also posing a threat to general happiness and well-being. Drug dependence places a strain on finances, health, and relationships. Help is available for those who seek it. Recovery centers provide medical assistance throughout the withdrawal process while also offering guidance and mental support to help addicts recover and return to their normal lives.
Trained professionals are available to help guide addicts through the process of recovery safely while giving them the tools they need to avoid relapse. Continued drug abuse can cause permanent damage if not treated quickly, but it’s never too late to begin the journey to recovery.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or substance dependence, WeRecover can provide you with the guidance necessary to find the help you need. Get in touch today to learn more about the process and to find rehabilitation centers near you.