Effexor | venlafaxine is an anti-depressant of the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) class, not to be confused with the SSRI’s. It was first introduced by Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories in 1993 and is currently manufactured by the drug-maker Pfizer. Effexor was the first anti-depressant indicated for the treatment of short and long term generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
This drug is also FDA approved for the treatment of panic disorder, social phobia, and major depression in adults. Off-label, Effexor is used for:
Effexor comes in an immediate release and extended release (XR) formula. Effexor XR is by far the most popular of the two due to a slightly lower instance and severity of side effects and a more level amount of the drug in the body (the contributing factor to the more favorable effects).
Effexor works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. These are neurotransmitters, chemicals utilized in the process of sending messages from one nerve cell to another. When a message travels through a nerve, the nerve ending releases serotonin and norepinephrine. When these chemicals get to the next nerve cell in the chain, receptors are activated and the message continues along the line. The cell that released the serotonin and norepinephrine then reabsorbs any residual chemical that is in the gap. This is called “reuptake.” Under normal circumstances, this process occurs without any problems.
When there is not enough neurotransmitter between nerve cells, disorders such as anxiety and depression may occur. Effexor blocks the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine so that more of it remains in between the brain’s nerve cells. These neurotransmitters then have a better chance of activating the chemical receptors on the next nerve cell. This is believed to enhance mood and alleviate some of the symptoms of anxiety.
Effexor is available in capsules o 37.5 mg, 75 mg, and 150 mg. For Effexor XR, the recommended starting dose is 37.5 mg-75 mg a day and is increased in increments. The maximum dosage of Effexor XR should not exceed 375 mg in a 24 hour period.
Effexor should be taken as a single dose with food at the same time every day. If you have trouble swallowing pills, you may open the capsule and sprinkle the medication on a spoonful of applesauce.