Effexor is better known as Venlafaxine (Wiki), an antidepressant.
Like many of its kind, it is in the SNRI classification (Serotonin Nonrepinphrine Reuptake Inhibitor), meaning that it acts not only on serontonin (the neurotransmitter affecting the digestive system, and one of several that affect the central nervous system) but also on nonrepinphrine (one of several neurotransmitters affecting the heart).
Marketed by Pfizer, the drug has shown a number of effectual uses in treating major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorders.
The price for all this is the same risk that is present in other SNRI classed drugs, according to the FDA, which notes that Effexor side effects include “life-threatening serotonin syndrome” when combined with triptan medications (such as Imitrex Side Effects).
SS consists of such symptoms as a change in mental status (the inducing of a hypertensive or depressive state, resulting in agitation, hallucination or possibly even a coma), autonomic instability (high blood pressure, tachycardia or heart fibrillation, and hyperthermia), lack of coordination and sexual dysfunction (including inability to achieve orgasm and general feeling of anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure in anything). (read about side effects of paxil)
Most Serious Effexor Side Effects
Most serious of this is the tendency toward suicidal tendencies. This is given as a warning on the label; however, there is a serious research study backing up the warning in this case. A study in Finland tracked 15,000 patients for over 3 years—suicidal tendencies and risk increased 1.6 fold, which is statistically significant.
In addition, other Effexor side effects include, as might be expected with a serontonin imbalance, stomach and digestive difficulties, include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Somnolence, dry mouth, dizziness, insomnia and constipation were also observed in up to 15% of patients studied in double-blind groups with a placebo substituted.
All the side effects thus represent possible threats to both central nervous system and digestive system; these and the Finnish study warrant the FDA’s classification of the symptoms as “life-threatening.”
So far, the reports on Effexor side effects (other than those of suicidal tendencies) have been limited, but the drug is on “watchdog” status, and is viewed with suspicion by some, particularly after the Finland study.
Effexor/Velafaxine, is contraindicated for patients with glaucoma (as the drug increases eye pressure) or hypersensitivity. There is also, of course, a set of allergic reactions to some of its compounds.
If you would like more information about Effexor side effects, or if you are currently taking Effexor and have concerns about it, we urge you to visit your health professional at the earliest opportunity.