The Main Venlafaxine Side Effects

Venlafaxine Side EffectsWhat Is Venlafaxine

Venlafaxine is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) drug, an anti-depressive drug. Its action is similar to fluoxetine or sertraline.

Venlafaxine is focused to treat major depressive disorder, but it’s also used for the treatment and management of general anxiety disorder, panic disorder and social phobia. This drug can sometimes be prescribed off-label for migraine prevention, although some of the venlafaxine side effects are headaches or migraines. It’s also been off-label prescribed for the alleviation of “hot flashes” in menopausal women and diabetic neuropathy, cataplexy (sudden loss of muscle tone) in patients with narcolepsy and for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Venlafaxine Side Effects

Like most serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, venlafaxine comes with quite a range of side effects.

The most common of the venlafaxine side effects is sexual dysfunction. Most patients that undergo a treatment with this drug are susceptible to develop side effects of sexual nature. These can be: ejaculatory anhedonia, genital anesthesia, anorgasmia, impotence, lack of response to sexual stimuli, lack of interest in sex or difficulties becoming aroused, impotence. venlafaxine side effects of this nature are usually reversible. However, it may take from a couple of months to up to a few years until the patients regain their complete sexual potency and responsivity to sex.

Patients under medication with this drug may also experience various venlafaxine side effects of gastrointestinal nature, like: constipation, stomach pain, or vomiting. Nausea is one of the most common side effects related with the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, so there’s a high chance for any patient to experience this adverse effect.

Other side effects that commonly occur in patients that undergo a treatment with this drug, are: dry mouth, dizziness, insomnia, diaphoresis (excessive sweating), general state of weakness, blurred vision, tremor, chills, anorexia, weight gain, fatigue, concentration difficulties, anxiety, nervousness.

There are though other venlafaxine side effects with lower incidence, but side effects that have to also be mentioned because are strictly related with the intake of this drug. These are: headaches, vasodilatation, hypertension, tachycardia (increased heart rate), diarrhea, paraesthesia (sensation of numbness of skin, or of a limb), hypertonia (increased muscle tension), urinary retention, weight loss, taste disorder, tinnitus, or even depression.

Like many other SNRI drugs, it’s known that venlafaxine may induce suicidal behavior. Therefore, it’s not recommended to patients that already feature suicidal behavior since it can lead to an actual suicidal act. Venalfaxine is marketed under a black box warning due to this fact.

Allergic reactions as venlafaxine side effects are not excluded. In rare cases patients can develop an allergic reaction to the drug, which usually results in the following symptoms: skin itchiness, hives, angioedema, swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, lips, difficulties breathing due to the swelling of the pharynx or tongue, anaphylaxis. The last one can be a life-threatening side effect if the patient doesn’t get immediate medical care.

Finally, serotonin syndrome (high level of serotonin) is another side effect that may occur due to the intake of this drug, especially if it’s paired with other serotonergic drugs, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

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