DESCRIPTION / DEFINITIONS: Effexor® (venlafaxine) is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) reuptake inhibitor.
ABUSE: Effexor is a drug prescribed for the treatment of depression.
ADDICTION / DEPENDENCE: Half life and metabolism, Black Box Warning.
SIDE EFFECTS: Heart attack, suicide, paranoid reactions (see list below).
WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS: Nausea, insomnia, headache (see list below).
TREATMENT: Medical detoxification.
Effexor® (venlafaxine) is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (“SNRI”).
Although there are no medical tests to determine if a person has insufficient serotonin or norepinephrine, SNRI drugs like Effexor increase the amount of serotonin norepinephrine in the brain. According to its label, “The mechanism of the antidepressant action of venlafaxine in humans is believed to be associated with its potentiation of neurotransmitter activity in the CNS.”
Effexor is a drug prescribed for the treatment of depression.
HALF LIFE AND METABOLISM
The biological half life of a substance is the time it takes for a drug to lose half of its pharmacologic activity. This is significant because it affects how soon withdrawal symptoms may appear.
The half life of venlafaxine is between five to seven hours. The half life of Effexor’s active metabolite, O-desmethylvenlafaxine (ODV) is between 11 to 13 hours. The active metabolite is the substance produced when Effexor is metabolized.
Effexor is mainly metabolized through the P450 pathway in the liver and the enzyme primarily handling the metabolism is CYP2D6.
The CYP enzymes are the major enzymes involved in drug metabolism, and since many drugs may increase or decrease the activity of various CYP isozymes, this is a major source of adverse drug interactions, since changes in CYP enzyme activity may affect the metabolism and clearance of various drugs. For example, if one drug inhibits the CYP-mediated metabolism of another drug, the second drug may accumulate within the body to toxic levels, possibly causing an overdose.
BLACK BOX WARNING
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided that some drugs pose very serious risks and have required these drugs have what is called a black box warning. Effexor has a black box warning. Here is the warning.
WARNING: Suicidality and Antidepressant DrugsAntidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of Effexor or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. Effexor is not approved for use in pediatric patients.
The following information is taken from the Effexor label:
Effexor can be a very difficult drug to stop taking. Here are some of the Effexor withdrawal symptoms:
Withdrawal from Effexor should only be done under the care of a health practitioner. The safest way is to withdraw at an inpatient medical detox facility with a protocol that includes hydration, vitamins and supplements for biological balancing. Call us to talk to a Detox Advisor.