Effexor, which is the brand name for Venlafaxine, is a prescription medication available in oral tablet and capsule forms. Venlafaxine oral tablets are classified into immediate-release and extended-release formulations. While both forms are available as generic drugs, they are generally more affordable compared to their brand-name counterparts.
The primary use of Effexor is for the treatment of depression, with the immediate-release tablet and extended-release tablet being suitable options. Additionally, the extended-release tablet is also prescribed for managing social anxiety disorder.
In certain cases, Venlafaxine may be prescribed as part of combination therapy, where it is used in conjunction with other medications to effectively treat the specific condition.
How Does Effexor Works
Effexor, or Venlafaxine belongs to a class of medications known as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). It works by affecting the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, specifically serotonin and norepinephrine.
SNRIs like Effexor work by blocking the reabsorption (reuptake) of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, which helps to increase the levels of these neurotransmitters. Serotonin and norepinephrine are important for regulating mood, emotions, and mental well-being
How Long Does It Take Effexor to Work?
Once you start taking Effexor, the medication begins to be absorbed into your body and starts working. However, it usually takes a few weeks before noticeable changes in your mood and emotional state occur. During the initial week or two, you may observe improvements in your sleep patterns, appetite, and overall energy levels. These early changes can be promising signs that the medication is beginning to have an effect.
It is important to be patient, as it may take up to eight weeks before you experience a significant improvement in your mood and overall well-being. If, after this period, you do not observe any noticeable shifts in your mood, it is crucial to discuss this with your healthcare provider.
Your healthcare provider may recommend adjusting your dosage or exploring alternative medications to better address your specific needs. In the meantime, it is important to continue taking Effexor exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
What is Effexor Withdrawal?
After a prolonged use of Effexor (venlafaxine), a person may experience a set of symptoms known as venlafaxine withdrawal. Anxiety disorders, depression, and other conditions related to these are frequently treated with the prescription drug Effexor.
When someone takes Effexor for a prolonged period of time, their body adjusts to the drug’s presence. The body’s chemical balance can be upset by abruptly stopping or drastically reducing the dosage, which can result in withdrawal symptoms.
Effexor withdrawal symptoms vary in intensity and duration and might include:
- Physical symptoms. Dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, muscle aches, excessive sweating, and flu-like symptoms are a few of these.
- Psychological symptoms. These could include mood swings, irritability, anxiety, agitation, confusion, and difficulty focusing.
- Sensory disturbances. Some people may experience “brain zaps,” which are frequently described as brief, unpleasant sensations in the head or throughout the body.
Other Withdrawal Symptoms of Effexor
The following are other typical Effexor withdrawal symptoms that may be uncomfortable or even incapacitating:
- Symptoms of the flu
- Coordination problems
- Hands or feet electric shock
- Vivid dreams
Duration of Effexor Withdrawal
Effexor withdrawal can take a variety of times depending on the individual. Typically, withdrawal symptoms begin to show up 12 hours or so after the last Effexor dose and usually go away in one to two weeks. This is due to the fact that Effexor has a half-life of only four hours, which means that it leaves the body in a day.
The shorter half-life of Effexor compared to antidepressants with longer half-lives may speed up the onset of withdrawal symptoms. It also means that Effexor is removed from the body fairly quickly, though. Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome (ADS) may be delayed and less severe because antidepressants with longer half-lives stay in the body for a longer period of time.
What is the Wet Finger Method For Effexor Withdrawal?
The Wet Finger Method for Effexor withdrawal is one of the treatment approaches used to help individuals experiencing Effexor withdrawal symptoms. It involves several steps to gradually reduce the medication dosage and eventually stop it without significant withdrawal effects.
Here is a breakdown of the process:
- Empty the contents of the Effexor capsule onto a plate or saucer.
- Moisten your finger by licking it and then dab it into the Effexor capsule content.
- Take what you consider an appropriate amount for tapering off the medication, periodically reducing the dose until you can completely abstain from it without experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
- Analyzing the method further, it can be divided into three steps:
- a. Start with three wet fingers off the capsule contents for three days. After dabbing, return the remaining contents to the capsule and take the capsule itself. If there are no noticeable side effects, proceed to the next step.
- b. After five days, increase the dose to five wet fingers off the capsule contents. Repeat the same process of dabbing, returning the remaining contents, and taking the capsule. If no significant side effects are observed, move on to the next step.
- c. After an additional five days, take seven wet fingers off the capsule contents, dabbing them, returning the remaining contents, and consuming the capsule. If no adverse effects are experienced, you can proceed to discontinue Effexor completely.
It is important to note that while this method aims to minimize side effects, if you encounter persistent side effects, it is crucial to consult your doctor promptly. They can provide alternative treatments and therapies if the Wet Finger Method does not yield the desired results.
What Are The Mild Side Effects of Effexor?
Some people who take Effexor may experience minor side effects. Effexor side effects that have been described as mild include:
- weight gain or weight loss
- unusual dreams
- feeling tired
- loss of appetite
- dry mouth
- sexual side effects
Most of the side effects associated with Effexor are typically temporary and manageable. However, if you experience persistent symptoms or any concerns, it is important to consult your doctor or pharmacist. It is crucial not to discontinue the use of Effexor unless specifically advised by your doctor.
Additionally, Effexor may have other mild side effects that are not listed above. For more information, refer to the Effexor medication guide to gain a comprehensive understanding.
Please note that once a drug receives approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they continue to monitor the medication’s side effects. If you wish to report any side effects you have encountered with Effexor, you can visit MedWatch, an FDA platform dedicated to collecting such information.
What Are The Serious Side Effects of Effexor?
Although rare, there have been reported cases of individuals experiencing serious side effects when taking Effexor. These serious side effects associated with Effexor include:
- Allergic reaction
- Eye problems, such as closed-angle glaucoma
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Low sodium levels in the blood
- Lung problems, such as pneumonia
- Mania or hypomania
- Serotonin syndrome
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
- Unusual bleeding
If you encounter any of these serious side effects while taking Effexor, it is crucial to contact your doctor immediately. In cases where the side effects appear life-threatening or if you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency, it is recommended to call 911 or your local emergency number without delay.