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The active ingredient Venlafaxine belongs to the group of antidepressants. It is used in the medicinal treatment of depression and anxiety disorders. Very often calls Venlafaxine side effects like headache and gastrointestinal complaints forth. The antidepressant should not be applied to under-18s in combination with CNS depressants. Here you can read everything important on the effects of Venlafaxine, side effects and use.
How Venlafaxine works
The antidepressant Venlafaxine belongs to the group of selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. The two messengers serotonin and norepinephrine transmit nerve signals between brain cells in that they are distributed by a cell and bind then in certain docking sites (receptors) of the next cell. Then the messengers are resumed in the first nerve cell and thus inactivated. Venlafaxine inhibits this resumption, which noradrenaline and serotonin stay active for longer and therefore effective. The result is a mood alleviating and drive-increasing effect.
Venlafaxine is normally used in salt form, as Venlafaxine hydrochloride. It is metabolized by the oral ingestion mainly by the liver and has a bioavailability of 40 percent (that is, 40 percent of the area occupied by mouth amount of active substance can be utilized by the body). After metabolization by the liver, it is largely excreted through the kidneys. The maximum concentration of Venlafaxine in the blood serum is reached after about two hours. In case of multiple ingestion of blood levels achieved after about three days constant values.
When is Venlafaxine used?
Venlafaxine is preferably used in the drug treatment of depression, including maintenance therapy for the prevention of recurrence of new depressive episodes.
In addition, patients with generalized anxiety disorders benefit from Venlafaxine effect. In rarer cases, the antidepressant is preventively used against (migraine and tension headache) and in ADHD. For both indications, the drug is not actually approved, the application is therefore here a so-called “off-label” -Use represents.
How Venlafaxine is used
Venlafaxine is in oral form mainly as a tablet or capsule, with or without delayed release of active ingredient (slow-release drugs). For depressive syndromes, and generalized anxiety disorder, the outpatient treatment is usually carried out with a Venlafaxine dose of initially 75 milligrams per day (two divided doses). If necessary, the doctor may increase the dose to 150 milligrams per day (three single doses). The maximum dose is 375 milligrams per day.
The regular use of Venlafaxine is important for successful treatment, otherwise the amount of active noradrenaline and serotonin may fall outside the nerve cells. An additional use of a combination product is not needed and should be taken only in consultation with the doctor.
If you want to settle Venlafaxine, this should be done by gradually reducing the daily dose, because otherwise Venlafaxine withdrawal symptoms occur, such as mental changes (anxiety, confusion, sensory disturbances), neurological disorders (headache, sensory disturbances), vegetative disorders and loss of appetite.
What are the side effects of Venlafaxine?
Very common (occurring in more than one in ten patients) Venlafaxine side effects are headache, gastrointestinal disturbances (such as nausea, vomiting and and sweating. Rare (between one in ten and one hundred patients) occur when taking Venlafaxine weight loss, abnormal dreams, insomnia and decrease in sexual desire (loss of libido) on.
Occasionally (one out of one hundred to one thousand people) can Venlafaxine, trigger skin reactions, orgasm disorders in women and changes in taste.
What should I watch for while taking Venlafaxine?
Children and young people under 18 should not take Venlafaxine. During pregnancy and lactation antidepressant should be used only when strictly necessary.
Experts, while taking Venlafaxine to avoid alcohol.
The antidepressant may not together with MAO inhibitors (antidepressants also) or serotonin precursors (such as tryptophan for insomnia) are applied. Especially in combination with such drugs Venlafaxine can trigger the so-called “serotonin syndrome” – a life-threatening condition with increases in blood pressure, agitation, spasms and body overheating. Therefore, at least two weeks interval between taking Venlafaxine and MAOIs must be respected.
There may be interactions with other concomitantly administered drugs, for example with:
- drugs to suppress the immune system (immunosuppressants: Tacrolimus, cyclosporine, sirolimus)
- cancer drugs (chemotherapy drugs: Cyclophosphamide, erlotinib, gefitinib, doxorubicin, etoposide, vindesine, vinblastine, Tamoxifen)
- Anti-fungal agents (antifungal: clotrimazole, ketoconazole, itraconazole)
- macrolide antibiotics: Clarithromycin, Erythromycin
- Various antidepressants: Amitriptyline, Clomipramine, Imipramine, Citalopram, esCitalopram, Fluoxetine, norFluoxetine, Sertraline
- medications for mental disorders (antipsychotics / neuroleptics: Aripiprazole, haloperidol, Risperidone, ziprasidone)
- Strong painkillers from the group of opiates / opioids: alfentanil, codeine, fentanyl, methadone)
- sleeping pills and tranquilizers (benzodiazepines: Alprazolam, Clonazepam, flunitrazepam, midazolam, triazolam, pimozide)
- cholesterol-lowering agents (statins: Atorvastatin, lovastatin, Simvastatin)
- calcium channel blockers (for high blood pressure, heart Enge): Amlodipine, Diltiazem, Felodipine, Nifedipine, Verapamil
- agents for erectile dysfunction: sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil
- Specialty: Buspirone (with generalized anxiety disorder), Amiodarone (for irregular heart beat)
In the following cases, the application of the antidepressant with caution should be:
- suicidal thoughts
- brain organic brain syndrome
- severe hepatic or renal insufficiency
- increased intraocular pressure (glaucoma)
- severe cardiovascular disease
Especially at the beginning of treatment and also the discontinuation of Venlafaxine the judgment and reflexes may be limited – therefore caution when driving or operating machinery
How to get Venlafaxine
Venlafaxine is a prescription at all doses because of possible serious side effects and interactions. It may only be taken on medical advice.
Since when Venlafaxine is known?
As a first drug from the group of selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor Venlafaxine 1995 approved in Germany. First, it has been approved for treatment of depression, only later other applications have been added. The patent of the drug company Pfizer Inc. has expired in December 2008, since then numerous generic drugs (generic Venlafaxine) have come on the market.