Effexor (venlafaxine) is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It is used to treat depression and anxiety disorders and though it is similar to SSRIs, some of Effexor’s side effects may be different.

Effexor was approved by the FDA in 1993. Wyeth markets this drug to treat depression, anxiety, and some types of panic disorders.

It was the first antidepressant in a drug class called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). By 2007, Effexor became the sixth most popularly-prescribed drug of its class with more than 17 million prescriptions in the United States.

SNRIs regulate serotonin and norepinephrine reabsorption. Many patients taking Effexor may notice sudden and painful conditions in the form of side effects.

What Is Effexor?

Effexor (venlafaxine hydrochloride) is an antidepressant drug doctors prescribe to patients to treat depression, anxiety, panic disorders, and social phobia. Effexor can help treat pain caused by severe migraines and diabetic neuropathy. While some patients taking Effexor get no symptoms, others struggle with serious side effects.

Common Effexor Side Effects

As with any medication, patients may experience some side effects when taking Effexor. Some occur often and in a mild fashion, but others may be serious.

A list of common Effexor side effects may include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Increased sweating
  • Nervousness
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Strange dreams
  • Appetite and weight change
  • Decreased libido, sex drive, and difficulty achieving orgasm

Although this list is not inclusive, they can be the most common side effects for Effexor. Individuals should consult immediately with a doctor if these symptoms worsen.

Severe Effexor Side Effects

In addition to common side effects, patients can experience more severe side effects while taking Effexor. These issues call for immediate medical or emergency attention.

Severe Effexor side effects can include:

  • Trouble breathing or tightness in the chest
  • Memory
  • Hallucination
  • Seizures
  • Fever, nausea, or vomiting
  • Increased heart rate or blood pressure
  • Hostility, agitation, aggression
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Sudden changes in moods or behavior
  • Anxiety or panic attacks

Effexor can be linked with any of the above symptoms, though the list is not inclusive. Call 911 if any symptoms escalate when taking Effexor. Doctors also warn against taking any other prescription that can lead to a serotonin overdose. Too much serotonin in the brain can cause this syndrome.

Serotonin syndrome needs immediate treatment. Symptoms include:

  • sudden spikes in blood pressure or heart rate
  • Higher than normal body temperature
  • Hyperthermia

If these symptoms arise, patients should contact a doctor. This condition can be fatal.

Experts recommend that patients consult a physician before stopping Effexor use. Stopping too soon can lead to discontinuation syndrome.

This condition includes the following symptoms:

  • loss of coordination
  • stomach cramps
  • severe headaches/migraines
  • extreme sleepiness
  • fatigue

Talk to your doctor about the best way to avoid these symptoms.

Pregnant or nursing mothers face serious risks. Effexor carries the potential risk of birth defects in some pregnancies. After birth, nursing infants may still develop side effects related to Effexor use from their mothers.

Newborns may develop symptoms such as:

  • Irregular appetite or difficulties feeding
  • Heart defects
  • Growth or development defects
  • Jitteriness or shaking
  • Seizures
  • Consistent or abnormally frequent crying

Effexor Lawsuits

Because Effexor carries the potential risk of many side effects, several lawsuits against the Wyeth exist. You may be able to recover money with the help of an attorney.

Pfizer acquired Wyeth in 2009. A majority of claims involve mothers whose newborns experience birth defects. They believe Effexor causes defects while the mother is pregnant or nursing. Other patients develop physical and mental issues taking Effexor.

An individual may be entitled to compensation if Effexor causes them health problems. Those women who took Effexor while pregnant may also file a claim if their child’s birth defects impact their life seriously.

These individuals can seek the help of an experienced attorney for filing a claim. If you think your injuries are tied to Effexor use, the right lawyer can help protect your legal rights.

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