Effexor Dangers

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Effexor is an antidepressant commonly prescribed to treat major depressive disorder, panic disorder, general anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder. The FDA has approved the use of Effexor to treat the aforementioned conditions. However, Effexor has a number of off-label (non-FDA approved uses) including:

  • Eating Disorders
  • Headaches
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Lupus
  • Arthritis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Diabetic Neuropathy and Other Neuropathic Pain
  • Hot Flashes Associated with Menopause
  • Obesity

Effexor is available by prescription and is approved for use in adults only. generic effexor is known as venlafaxine.

Risks of Effexor

Effexor has been found to have a vast number of side effects. Among the minor side effects of the Effexor drug are dizziness, drowsiness, nervousness, constipation, mild nausea, dry mouth, increased appetite, changes in weight, blurry vision, loss of libido, impotence, and an inability to achieve orgasm.

According to the FDA, use of Effexor with other drugs known as 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor agonists (triptans) result in a life threatening condition called serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome causes serious changes in how the brain, muscles, and digestive system work. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Hallucinations
  • Twitching
  • Increased Body Temperature
  • Loss of Coordination
  • Restlessness
  • Rapid Changes in Blood Pressure
  • Coma

Other serious side effects associated with the use of effexor tablets include:

  • Sudden Mood Swings
  • Fainting
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Agitation
  • Aggressiveness
  • Severe Restlessness
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Skin Rashes and Itching
  • Easy Bleeding or Bruising
  • Seizures
  • Memory Problems and Confusion
  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Fainting
  • Mania

In July, 2005, the FDA issued a Public Warning advising of the increased risk of suicide in patients taking Effexor. Although Effexor is not approved for use by children, physicians still prescribe it to children. According to the FDA's warning, taking antidepressants such as Effexor may increase suicidal thoughts and actions in 1 out of 50 children under the age of 18.

Effexor Overdose

The effects of an Effexor overdose vary depending on how much of the drug was taken and whether it was taken in combination with any other drugs. Symptoms of an Effexor overdose include:

  • Excessive tiredness
  • Seizures
  • Increased heart rate
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Vertigo (loss of balance; spinning sensation)
  • Liver damage
  • Coma
  • Death

If treatment for an Effexor overdose is sought immediately, the patient's stomach will be pumped. Once the Effexor drug has been absorbed into the patient's system, treatment typically includes supportive care (treating symptoms of the overdose as they occur) and close monitoring of heart and lung functioning.

Effexor Withdrawal

Effexor withdrawal can be debilitating. There have been reports that missing one dose of the drug has caused patients to experience withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, and “brain zapping” (an electrical shock like feeling that seems to originate in the head). Other symptoms of Effexor withdrawal include:

  • Mood swings
  • Vomiting
  • Nightmares
  • Sweats
  • Trembling
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Ringing in the Ears
  • Headaches
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Nausea

Withdrawal symptoms seem to be most severe when use of Effexor tablets is suddenly discontinued. This is especially true if the patient has been taking Effexor for an extended period of time, although the drug is not technically considered to be addictive.

Effexor Liability

Effexor and similar antidepressant drugs have been the focus of numerous lawsuits in recent years because of the increased risk of suicide and attempted suicide among patients taking these drugs. Plaintiffs in Effexor lawsuits have alleged that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn of the dangers associated with use of the drug. Plaintiff's have also alleged that the manufacturer used misleading advertising in relation to the drug's safety and effectiveness.

Getting Legal Help

If you or a loved one has been injured by Effexor, you have a very limited amount of time to get legal help. You should consult with a product's liability attorney who will evaluate your case and advise you as to whether you have a valid claim for your injuries.

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