Effexor’s chemical structure is unlike any other antidepressant. It works to restore the balance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters — specifically serotonin and norepinephrine. Effexor is in a class of medicines called serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Effexor is prescribed to treat depression. Effexor XR is prescribed to treat depression, Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and Social anxiety disorder (SAD).
Manufacturer: Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories
FDA Approved for: Depression, General Anxiety Disorder
FDA ALERT [07/2006] – Potentially Life- Threatening Serotonin Syndrome When Used With Triptan Medicines
A life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome can happen when medicines called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Effexor, and medicines used to treat migraine headaches known as 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor agonists (triptans), are used together. Signs and symptoms of serotonin syndrome include the following:
loss of coordination
fast heart beat
increased body temperature
fast changes in blood pressure
Serotonin syndrome may be more likely to occur when starting or increasing the dose of an SSRI or a triptan. This information comes from reports sent to FDA and knowledge of how these medicines work. If you take migraine headache medicines, ask your healthcare professional if your medicine is a triptan.
Before you take Effexor and a triptan together, talk to your healthcare professional. If you must take these medicines together, be aware of the possibility of serotonin syndrome, and get medical care right away if you think serotonin syndrome is happening to you.
Who Should Not Take Effexor?
Never take Effexor if you are taking another drug used to treat depression, called a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI), or if you have stopped taking an MAOI in the last 14 days. Taking Effexor close in time to an MAOI can result in serious, sometimes fatal, reactions, including:
High body temperature
MAOI drugs include Nardil (phenelzine sulfate), Parnate (tranylcypromine sulfate), Marplan (isocarboxazid), and other brands.