Effexor (Venlafaxine Hydrochloride)


Indications

1.1 Major Depressive Disorder

Effexor XR (venlafaxine hydrochloride) extended-release capsules are indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). Efficacy was established in three short-term (4, 8, and 12 weeks) and two long-term, maintenance trials.

1.2 Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Effexor XR is indicated for the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Efficacy was established in two 8-week and two 26-week placebo-controlled trials.

1.3 Social Anxiety Disorder

Effexor XR is indicated for the treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia. Efficacy was established in four 12-week and one 26-week, placebo-controlled trials.

1.4 Panic Disorder

Effexor XR is indicated for the treatment of Panic Disorder (PD), with or without agoraphobia. Efficacy was established in two 12-week placebo-controlled trials.

contraindications

4.1 Hypersensitivity

Hypersensitivity to venlafaxine hydrochloride, desvenlafaxine succinate or to any excipients in the formulation

4.2 Concomitant Use with Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

The use of MAOIs (intended to treat psychiatric disorders) concomitantly with Effexor XR or within 7 days of discontinuing treatment with Effexor XR is contraindicated because of an increased risk of serotonin syndrome. The use of Effexor XR within 14 days of discontinuing treatment with an MAOI (intended to treat psychiatric disorders) is also contraindicated

Starting Effexor XR in a patient who is being treated with an MAOI such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue is also contraindicated, because of an increased risk of serotonin syndrome [see Dosage and Administration (2.9), Warnings and Precautions (5.2), and Drug Interactions (7.3)].

adverse reactions

The following adverse reactions are discussed in greater detail in other sections of the label:

  • Hypersensitivity [see Contraindications (4.1)]
  • Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors in Children, Adolescents, and Adults [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)]
  • Serotonin Syndrome [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)]
  • Elevations in Blood Pressure [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)]
  • Abnormal Bleeding [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)]
  • Angle Closure Glaucoma [see Warnings and Precautions (5.5)]
  • Activation of Mania/Hypomania [see Warnings and Precautions (5.6)]
  • Discontinuation Syndrome [see Warnings and Precautions (5.7)]
  • Seizure [see Warnings and Precautions (5.8)]
  • Hyponatremia [see Warnings and Precautions (5.9)]
  • Weight and Height changes in Pediatric Patients [see Warnings and Precautions (5.10)]
  • Appetite Changes in Pediatric Patients [see Warnings and Precautions (5.11)]
  • Interstitial Lung Disease and Eosinophilic Pneumonia [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)]

6.1 Clinical Studies Experience

Because clinical studies are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical studies of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical studies of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

Most Common Adverse Reactions

The most commonly observed adverse reactions in the clinical study database in Effexor XR treated patients in MDD, GAD, SAD, and PD (incidence ≥ 5% and at least twice the rate of placebo) were: nausea (30.0%), somnolence (15.3%), dry mouth (14.8%), sweating (11.4%), abnormal ejaculation (9.9%), anorexia (9.8%), constipation (9.3%), impotence (5.3%) and decreased libido (5.1%).

Adverse Reactions Reported as Reasons for Discontinuation of Treatment

Combined across short-term, placebo-controlled premarketing studies for all indications, 12% of the 3,558 patients who received Effexor XR (37.5–225 mg) discontinued treatment due to an adverse experience, compared with 4% of the 2,197 placebo-treated patients in those studies.

The most common adverse reactions leading to discontinuation in ≥ 1% of the Effexor XR treated patients in the short-term studies (up to 12 weeks) across indications are shown in Table 7.

Table 7: Incidence (%) of Patients Reporting Adverse Reactions Leading to Discontinuation in Placebo-controlled Clinical Studies (up to 12 Weeks Duration)
Body System
Adverse Reaction
Effexor XR
n = 3,558
Placebo
n = 2,197
Body as a whole
  Asthenia 1.7 0.5
  Headache 1.5 0.8
Digestive system
  Nausea 4.3 0.4
Nervous system
  Dizziness 2.2 0.8
  Insomnia 2.1 0.6
  Somnolence 1.7 0.3
Skin and appendages 1.5 0.6
  Sweating 1.0 0.2

Common Adverse Reactions in Placebo-controlled Studies

The number of patients receiving multiple doses of Effexor XR during the premarketing assessment for each approved indication is shown in Table 8. The conditions and duration of exposure to venlafaxine in all development programs varied greatly, and included (in overlapping categories) open and double-blind studies, uncontrolled and controlled studies, inpatient (Effexor only) and outpatient studies, fixed-dose, and titration studies.

Table 8: Patients Receiving Effexor XR in Premarketing Clinical Studies
Indication Effexor XR
*
In addition, in the premarketing assessment of Effexor, multiple doses were administered to 2,897 patients in studies for MDD.
MDD 705*
GAD 1,381
SAD 819
PD 1,314

The incidences of common adverse reactions (those that occurred in ≥ 2% of Effexor XR treated patients [357 MDD patients, 1,381 GAD patients, 819 SAD patients, and 1,001 PD patients] and more frequently than placebo) in Effexor XR treated patients in short-term, placebo-controlled, fixed- and flexible-dose clinical studies (doses 37.5 to 225 mg per day) are shown in Table 9.

The adverse reaction profile did not differ substantially between the different patient populations.

Table 9: Common Adverse Reactions: Percentage of Patients Reporting Adverse Reactions (≥ 2% and > placebo) in Placebo-controlled Studies (up to 12 Weeks Duration) across All Indications
Body System
Adverse Reaction
Effexor XR
n = 3,558
Placebo
n = 2,197
*
Percentages based on the number of men (Effexor XR, n = 1,440; placebo, n = 923)
Percentages based on the number of women (Effexor XR, n = 2,118; placebo, n = 1,274)
Body as a whole
  Asthenia 12.6 7.8
Cardiovascular system
  Hypertension 3.4 2.6
  Palpitation 2.2 2.0
  Vasodilatation 3.7 1.9
Digestive system
  Anorexia 9.8 2.6
  Constipation 9.3 3.4
  Diarrhea 7.7 7.2
  Dry mouth 14.8 5.3
  Nausea 30.0 11.8
  Vomiting 4.3 2.7
Nervous system
  Abnormal dreams 2.9 1.4
  Dizziness 15.8 9.5
  Insomnia 17.8 9.5
  Libido decreased 5.1 1.6
  Nervousness 7.1 5.0
  Paresthesia 2.4 1.4
  Somnolence 15.3 7.5
  Tremor 4.7 1.6
Respiratory system
  Yawn 3.7 0.2
Skin and appendages
  Sweating (including night sweats) 11.4 2.9
Special senses
  Abnormal vision 4.2 1.6
Urogenital system
  Abnormal ejaculation/orgasm (men)* 9.9 0.5
  Anorgasmia (men)* 3.6 0.1
  Anorgasmia (women)† 2.0 0.2
  Impotence (men)* 5.3 1.0

Other Adverse Reactions Observed in Clinical Studies

Body as a whole – Photosensitivity reaction, chills

Cardiovascular system – Postural hypotension, syncope, hypotension, tachycardia

Digestive system – Gastrointestinal hemorrhage [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)], bruxism

Hemic/Lymphatic system – Ecchymosis [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)]

Metabolic/Nutritional – Hypercholesterolemia, weight gain [see Warnings and Precautions (5.10)], weight loss [see Warnings and Precautions (5.10)]

Nervous system – Seizures [see Warnings and Precautions (5.8)], manic reaction [see Warnings and Precautions (5.6)], agitation, confusion, akathisia, hallucinations, hypertonia, myoclonus, depersonalization, apathy

Skin and appendages – Urticaria, pruritus, rash, alopecia

Special senses – Mydriasis, abnormality of accommodation, tinnitus, taste perversion

Urogenital system – Urinary retention, urination impaired, urinary incontinence, urinary frequency increased, menstrual disorders associated with increased bleeding or increased irregular bleeding (e.g., menorrhagia, metrorrhagia)

6.2 Vital Sign Changes

In placebo-controlled premarketing studies, there were increases in mean blood pressure (see Table 10). Across most indications, a dose-related increase in mean supine systolic and diastolic blood pressure was evident in patients treated with Effexor XRs. Across all clinical studies in MDD, GAD, SAD and PD, 1.4% of patients in the Effexor XR groups experienced an increase in SDBP of ≥15 mm Hg along with a blood pressure ≥ 105 mm Hg, compared to 0.9% of patients in the placebo groups. Similarly, 1% of patients in the Effexor XR groups experienced an increase in SSBP of ≥ 20 mm Hg with a blood pressure ≥ 180 mm Hg, compared to 0.3% of patients in the placebo groups.

Table 10: Final On-therapy Mean Changes From Baseline in Supine Systolic (SSBP) and Diastolic (SDBP) Blood Pressure (mm Hg) in Placebo-controlled Studies
Effexor XR Placebo
Indication ≤ 75 mg per day > 75 mg per day
  (Duration) SSBP SDBP SSBP SDBP SSBP SDBP
MDD
  (8–12 weeks) -0.28 0.37 2.93 3.56 -1.08 -0.10
GAD
  (8 weeks) -0.28 0.02 2.40 1.68 -1.26 -0.92
  (6 months) 1.27 -0.69 2.06 1.28 -1.29 -0.74
SAD
  (12 weeks) -0.29 -1.26 1.18 1.34 -1.96 -1.22
  (6 months) -0.98 -0.49 2.51 1.96 -1.84 -0.65
PD
  (10–12 weeks) -1.15 0.97 -0.36 0.16 -1.29 -0.99

Effexor XR treatment was associated with sustained hypertension (defined as treatment-emergent Supine Diastolic Blood Pressure [SDBP] ≥ 90 mm Hg and ≥ 10 mm Hg above baseline for three consecutive on-therapy visits (see Table 11). An insufficient number of patients received mean doses of Effexor XR over 300 mg per day in clinical studies to fully evaluate the incidence of sustained increases in blood pressure at these higher doses.

Table 11: Sustained Elevations in SDBP in Effexor XR Premarketing Studies
Indication Dose Range (mg per day) Incidence (%)
MDD 75–375 19/705 (3)
GAD 37.5–225 5/1011 (0.5)
SAD 75–225 5/771 (0.6)
PD 75–225 9/973 (0.9)

Effexor XR was associated with mean increases in pulse rate compared with placebo in premarketing placebo-controlled studies (see Table 12) [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3, 5.4)].

Table 12: Approximate Mean Final On-therapy Increase in Pulse Rate (beats/min) in Effexor XR Premarketing Placebo-controlled Studies (up to 12 Weeks Duration)
Indication
  (Duration)
Effexor XR Placebo
MDD
  (12 weeks)
2 1
GAD
  (8 weeks)
2 < 1
SAD
  (12 weeks)
3 1
PD
  (12 weeks)
1 < 1

6.3 Laboratory Changes

Serum Cholesterol

Effexor XR was associated with mean final increases in serum cholesterol concentrations compared with mean final decreases for placebo in premarketing MDD, GAD, SAD and PD clinical studies (Table 13).

Table 13: Mean Final On-therapy Changes in Cholesterol Concentrations (mg/dL) in Effexor XR Premarketing Studies
Indication
  (Duration)
Effexor XR Placebo
MDD
  (12 weeks) +1.5 -7.4
GAD
  (8 weeks) +1.0 -4.9
  (6 months) +2.3 -7.7
SAD
  (12 weeks) +7.9 -2.9
  (6 months) +5.6 -4.2
PD
  (12 weeks) 5.8 -3.7

Effexor XR (venlafaxine hydrochloride) extended-release capsules treatment for up to 12 weeks in premarketing placebo-controlled trials for major depressive disorder was associated with a mean final on-therapy increase in serum cholesterol concentration of approximately 1.5 mg/dL compared with a mean final decrease of 7.4 mg/dL for placebo. Effexor XR treatment for up to 8 weeks and up to 6 months in premarketing placebo-controlled GAD trials was associated with mean final on-therapy increases in serum cholesterol concentration of approximately 1.0 mg/dL and 2.3 mg/dL, respectively while placebo subjects experienced mean final decreases of 4.9 mg/dL and 7.7 mg/dL, respectively. Effexor XR treatment for up to 12 weeks and up to 6 months in premarketing placebo-controlled Social Anxiety Disorder trials was associated with mean final on-therapy increases in serum cholesterol concentration of approximately 7.9 mg/dL and 5.6 mg/dL, respectively, compared with mean final decreases of 2.9 and 4.2 mg/dL, respectively, for placebo. Effexor XR treatment for up to 12 weeks in premarketing placebo-controlled panic disorder trials was associated with mean final on-therapy increases in serum cholesterol concentration of approximately 5.8 mg/dL compared with a mean final decrease of 3.7 mg/dL for placebo.

Patients treated with Effexor (immediate release) for at least 3 months in placebo-controlled 12-month extension trials had a mean final on-therapy increase in total cholesterol of 9.1 mg/dL compared with a decrease of 7.1 mg/dL among placebo-treated patients. This increase was duration dependent over the study period and tended to be greater with higher doses. Clinically relevant increases in serum cholesterol, defined as 1) a final on-therapy increase in serum cholesterol ≥50 mg/dL from baseline and to a value ≥261 mg/dL, or 2) an average on-therapy increase in serum cholesterol ≥50 mg/dL from baseline and to a value ≥261 mg/dL, were recorded in 5.3% of venlafaxine-treated patients and 0.0% of placebo-treated patients.

Serum Triglycerides

Effexor XR was associated with mean final on-therapy increases in fasting serum triglycerides compared with placebo in premarketing clinical studies of SAD and PD up to 12 weeks (pooled data) and 6 months duration (Table 14).

Table 14: Mean Final On-therapy Increases in Triglyceride Concentrations (mg/dL) in Effexor XR Premarketing Studies
Indication
  (Duration)
Effexor XR Placebo
SAD
  (12 weeks)
8.2 0.4
SAD
  (6 months)
11.8 1.8
PD
  (12 weeks)
5.9 0.9
PD
  (6 months)
9.3 0.3

6.4 Pediatric Patients

In general, the adverse reaction profile of venlafaxine (in placebo-controlled clinical studies) in children and adolescents (ages 6 to 17) was similar to that seen for adults. As with adults, decreased appetite, weight loss, increased blood pressure, and increased serum cholesterol were observed [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3, 5.10, 5.11) and Use in Specific Populations (8.4)].

In pediatric clinical studies, the adverse reaction, suicidal ideation, was observed.

Particularly, the following adverse reactions were observed in pediatric patients: abdominal pain, agitation, dyspepsia, ecchymosis, epistaxis, and myalgia.

6.5 Adverse Reactions Identified During Postapproval Use

The following adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of Effexor XR. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure:

Body as a whole – Anaphylaxis, angioedema

Cardiovascular system – QT prolongation, ventricular fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia (including torsade de pointes)

Digestive system – Pancreatitis

Hemic/Lymphatic system – Mucous membrane bleeding [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4 )], blood dyscrasias (including agranulocytosis, aplastic anemia, neutropenia and pancytopenia), prolonged bleeding time, thrombocytopenia

Metabolic/Nutritional – Hyponatremia [see Warnings and Precautions (5.9)], Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone (SIADH) secretion [see Warnings and Precautions (5.9)], abnormal liver function tests, hepatitis, prolactin increased

Musculoskeletal – Rhabdomyolysis

Nervous system – Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)], serotonergic syndrome [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)], delirium, extrapyramidal reactions (including dystonia and dyskinesia), impaired coordination and balance, tardive dyskinesia

Respiratory system – Dyspnea, interstitial lung disease, pulmonary eosinophilia [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12)]

Skin and appendages – Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, erythema multiforme

Special senses – Angle-closure glaucoma [see Warnings and Precautions (5.5)]

warnings and precautions

5.1 Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors in Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults

Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), both adult and pediatric, may experience worsening of their depression and/or the emergence of suicidal ideation and behavior (suicidality) or unusual changes in behavior, whether or not they are taking antidepressant medications, and this risk may persist until significant remission occurs. Suicide is a known risk of depression and certain other psychiatric disorders, and these disorders themselves are the strongest predictors of suicide. There has been a long-standing concern, however, that antidepressants may have a role in inducing worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality in certain patients during the early phases of treatment. Pooled analyses of short-term placebo-controlled studies of antidepressant drugs (SSRIs and others) showed that these drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 18–24) with MDD and other psychiatric disorders. 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 with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older.

The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled studies in children and adolescents with MDD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 24 short-term studies of 9 antidepressant drugs in over 4,400 patients. The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled studies in adults with MDD or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 295 short-term studies (median duration of 2 months) of 11 antidepressant drugs in over 77,000 patients. There was considerable variation in risk of suicidality among drugs, but a tendency toward an increase in the younger patients for almost all drugs studied. There were differences in absolute risk of suicidality across the different indications, with the highest incidence in MDD. The risk differences (drug versus placebo), however, were relatively stable within age strata and across indications. These risk differences (drug-placebo difference in the number of cases of suicidality per 1,000 patients treated) are provided in Table 1.

Table 1: Difference in the Number of Cases of Suicidality per 1,000 Patients Treated versus Placebo
Age Range Increases Compared to Placebo
< 18 14 additional cases
18–24 5 additional cases
Decreases Compared to Placebo
25–64 1 fewer case
≥ 65 6 fewer cases

No suicides occurred in any of the pediatric studies. There were suicides in the adult studies, but the number was not sufficient to reach any conclusion about drug effect on suicide.

It is unknown whether the suicidality risk extends to longer term use, i.e., beyond several months. However, there is substantial evidence from placebo-controlled maintenance studies in adults with depression that the use of antidepressants can delay the recurrence of depression.

All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases.

The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for MDD, as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric. Although a causal link between the emergence of such symptoms and either the worsening of depression and/or the emergence of suicidal impulses has not been established, there is concern that such symptoms may represent precursors to emerging suicidality.

Consideration should be given to changing the therapeutic regimen, including possibly discontinuing the medication, in patients whose depression is persistently worse, or who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms that might be precursors to worsening depression or suicidality, especially if these symptoms are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient’s presenting symptoms.

If the decision has been made to discontinue treatment, medication should be tapered, as rapidly as is feasible, but with recognition that abrupt discontinuation can be associated with certain symptoms [see Warnings and Precautions (5.7) and Dosage and Administration (2.8)].

Families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants for MDD or other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric, should be alerted about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behavior, and the other symptoms described above, as well as the emergence of suicidality, and to report such symptoms immediately to healthcare providers. Such monitoring should include daily observation by families and caregivers. Prescriptions for Effexor XR should be written for the smallest quantity of capsules consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose.

Screening Patients for Bipolar Disorder

A major depressive episode may be the initial presentation of bipolar disorder. It is generally believed (though not established in controlled studies) that treating such an episode with an antidepressant alone may increase the likelihood of precipitation of a mixed/manic episode in patients at risk for bipolar disorder. Whether any of the symptoms described above represent such a conversion is unknown. However, prior to initiating treatment with an antidepressant, patients with depressive symptoms should be adequately screened to determine if they are at risk for bipolar disorder; such screening should include a detailed psychiatric history, including a family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, and depression. It should be noted that Effexor XR is not approved for use in treating bipolar depression.

5.2 Serotonin Syndrome

The development of a potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome has been reported with SNRIs and SSRIs, including Effexor XR alone, but particularly with concomitant use of other serotonergic drugs (including triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, tryptophan, buspirone, amphetamines, and St. John’s wort) and with drugs that impair metabolism of serotonin in particular, MAOIs, both those intended to treat psychiatric disorders and others, such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue).

Serotonin syndrome symptoms may include mental status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, delirium, coma) autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile blood pressure, hyperthermia, diaphoresis, flushing, and dizziness), neuromuscular symptoms (e.g., tremor, rigidity, myoclonus, hyperreflexia, incoordination); seizures and gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). Patients should be monitored for the emergence of serotonin syndrome.

The concomitant use of Effexor XR with MAOIs (intended to treat psychiatric disorders) is contraindicated. Effexor XR should also not be started in a patient who is being treated with MAOIs such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue. All reports with methylene blue that provided information on the route of administration involved intravenous administration in the dose range of 1 mg/kg to 8 mg/kg. No reports involved the administration of methylene blue by other routes (such as oral tablets or local tissue injection) or at lower doses. There may be circumstances when it is necessary to initiate treatment with a MAOI such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue in a patient taking Effexor XR. Effexor XR should be discontinued before initiating treatment with the MAOI [see Contraindications (4.2), Dosage and Administration (2.6), and Drug Interactions (7.3)].

If concomitant use of Effexor XR with other serotonergic drugs (e.g., triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, mirtazapine, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, buspirone, amphetamines, tryptophan, or St. John’s wort) is clinically warranted, careful observation of the patient is advised, particularly during treatment initiation and dose increases [see Drug Interactions (7.3)]. Patients should be made aware of the potential risk of serotonin syndrome. Treatment with Effexor XR and any concomitant serotonergic agents should be discontinued immediately if the above events occur, and supportive symptomatic treatment should be initiated.

5.3 Elevations in Blood Pressure

In controlled trials, there were dose-related increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, as well as cases of sustained hypertension

Monitor blood pressure before initiating treatment with Effexor XR and regularly during treatment. Control pre-existing hypertension before initiating treatment with Effexor XR. Use caution in treating patients with pre-existing hypertension or cardiovascular or cerebrovascular conditions that might be compromised by increases in blood pressure. Sustained blood pressure elevation can lead to adverse outcomes. Cases of elevated blood pressure requiring immediate treatment have been reported with Effexor XR. Consider dose reduction or discontinuation of treatment for patients who experience a sustained increase in blood pressure.

Across all clinical studies with Effexor, 1.4% of patients in the Effexor XR treated groups experienced a ≥15 mm Hg increase in supine diastolic blood pressure (SDBP ) ≥ 105 mm Hg, compared to 0.9% of patients in the placebo groups. Similarly, 1% of patients in the Effexor XR treated groups experienced a ≥ 20 mm Hg increase in supine systolic blood pressure (SSBP) with blood pressure ≥ 180 mm Hg, compared to 0.3% of patients in the placebo groups [see Table 10 in Adverse Reactions (6.2)]. Effexor XR treatment was associated with sustained hypertension (defined as treatment-emergent SDBP ≥ 90 mm Hg and ≥ 10 mm Hg above baseline for three consecutive on-therapy visits [see Table 11 in Adverse Reactions (6.2)]. An insufficient number of patients received mean doses of Effexor XR over 300 mg per day in clinical studies to fully evaluate the incidence of sustained increases in blood pressure at these higher doses.

5.4 Abnormal Bleeding

SSRIs and SNRIs, including Effexor XR, may increase the risk of bleeding events, ranging from ecchymoses, hematomas, epistaxis, petechiae, and gastrointestinal hemorrhage to life-threatening hemorrhage. Concomitant use of aspirin, Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), warfarin, and other anti-coagulants or other drugs known to affect platelet function may add to this risk. Case reports and epidemiological studies (case-control and cohort design) have demonstrated an association between use of drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake and the occurrence of gastrointestinal bleeding. Caution patients about the risk of bleeding associated with the concomitant use of Effexor XR and NSAIDs, aspirin, or other drugs that affect coagulation.

5.5 Angle-Closure Glaucoma

The pupillary dilation that occurs following use of many antidepressant drugs including Effexor XR may trigger an angle closure attack in a patient with anatomically narrow angles who does not have a patent iridectomy.

5.6 Activation of Mania/Hypomania

Mania or hypomania was reported in Effexor XR treated patients in the premarketing studies in MDD, SAD, and PD (see Table 2). Mania/hypomania has also been reported in a small proportion of patients with mood disorders who were treated with other marketed drugs to treat MDD. Effexor XR should be used cautiously in patients with a history of mania or hypomania.

Table 2: Incidence (%) of Mania or Hypomania Reported in Effexor XR Treated Patients in the Premarketing Studies
Indication Effexor XR Placebo
MDD 0.3 0.0
GAD 0.0 0.2
SAD 0.2 0.0
PD 0.1 0.0

5.7 Discontinuation Syndrome

Discontinuation symptoms have been systematically evaluated in patients taking venlafaxine, including prospective analyses of clinical studies in GAD and retrospective surveys of studies in MDD and SAD. Abrupt discontinuation or dose reduction of venlafaxine at various doses has been found to be associated with the appearance of new symptoms, the frequency of which increased with increased dose level and with longer duration of treatment. Reported symptoms include agitation, anorexia, anxiety, confusion, impaired coordination and balance, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, dysphoric mood, fasciculation, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, headaches, hypomania, insomnia, nausea, nervousness, nightmares, sensory disturbances (including shock-like electrical sensations), somnolence, sweating, tremor, vertigo, and vomiting.

During marketing of Effexor XR, other SNRIs, and SSRIs, there have been spontaneous reports of adverse events occurring upon discontinuation of these drugs, particularly when abrupt, including the following: dysphoric mood, irritability, agitation, dizziness, sensory disturbances (e.g., paresthesia, such as electric shock sensations), anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, emotional lability, insomnia, hypomania, tinnitus, and seizures. While these events are generally self-limiting, there have been reports of serious discontinuation symptoms.

Patients should be monitored for these symptoms when discontinuing treatment with Effexor XR. A gradual reduction in the dose, rather than abrupt cessation, is recommended whenever possible. If intolerable symptoms occur following a decrease in the dose or upon discontinuation of treatment, then resuming the previously prescribed dose may be considered. Subsequently, the physician may continue decreasing the dose, but at a more gradual rate [see Dosage and Administration (2.8)].

5.8 Seizures

Seizures have occurred with venlafaxine therapy. Effexor XR, like many antidepressants, should be used cautiously in patients with a history of seizures and should be discontinued in any patient who develops seizures. [Must mitigate the risk: Risk factors, concomitant meds that lower the seizure threshold.]

5.9 Hyponatremia

Hyponatremia can occur as a result of treatment with SSRIs and SNRIs, including Effexor XR. In many cases, the hyponatremia appears to be the result of the Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone (SIADH) secretion. Cases with serum sodium lower than 110 mmol/L have been reported. Elderly patients may be at greater risk of developing hyponatremia with SSRIs and SNRIs [see Use in Specific Populations (8.5)]. Also, patients taking diuretics, or those who are otherwise volume-depleted, may be at greater risk. Consider discontinuation of Effexor XR in patients with symptomatic hyponatremia, and institute appropriate medical intervention.

Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia include headache, difficulty concentrating, memory impairment, confusion, weakness, and unsteadiness, which may lead to falls. Signs and symptoms associated with more severe and/or acute cases have included hallucination, syncope, seizure, coma, respiratory arrest, and death.

5.10 Weight and Height Changes in Pediatric Patients

Weight Changes

The average change in body weight and incidence of weight loss (percentage of patients who lost 3.5% or more) in the placebo-controlled pediatric studies in MDD, GAD, and SAD are shown in Tables 3 and 4.

Table 3: Average Change in Body Weight (kg) From Beginning of Treatment in Pediatric Patients in Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Studies of Effexor XR
Indication
  (Duration)
Effexor XR Placebo
MDD and GAD
  (4 pooled studies, 8 weeks)
-0.45 (n = 333) +0.77 (n = 333)
SAD
  (16 weeks)
-0.75 (n = 137) +0.76 (n = 148)
Table 4: Incidence (%) of Pediatric Patients Experiencing Weight Loss (3.5% or more) in Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Studies of Effexor XR
Indication
  (Duration)
Effexor XR Placebo
*
p < 0.001 versus placebo
MDD and GAD
  (4 pooled studies, 8 weeks)
18* (n = 333) 3.6 (n = 333)
SAD
  (16 weeks)
47* (n = 137) 14 (n = 148)

Weight loss was not limited to patients with treatment-emergent anorexia [see Warnings and Precautions (5.11)].

The risks associated with longer term Effexor XR use were assessed in an open-label MDD study of children and adolescents who received Effexor XR for up to six months. The children and adolescents in the study had increases in weight that were less than expected, based on data from age- and sex-matched peers. The difference between observed weight gain and expected weight gain was larger for children (< 12 years old) than for adolescents (≥ 12 years old).

Height Changes

Table 5 shows the average height increase in pediatric patients in the short-term, placebo-controlled MDD, GAD, and SAD studies. The differences in height increases in GAD and MDD studies were most notable in patients younger than twelve.

Table 5: Average Height Increases (cm) in Pediatric Patients in Placebo-controlled Studies of Effexor XR
Indication
  (Duration)
Effexor XR Placebo
*
p = 0.041
MDD
  (8 weeks)
0.8 (n = 146) 0.7 (n = 147)
GAD
  (8 weeks)
0.3* (n = 122) 1.0 (n = 132)
SAD
  (16 weeks)
1.0 (n = 109) 1.0 (n = 112)

In the six-month, open-label MDD study, children and adolescents had height increases that were less than expected, based on data from age- and sex-matched peers. The difference between observed and expected growth rates was larger for children (< 12 years old) than for adolescents (≥ 12 years old).

5.11 Appetite Changes in Pediatric Patients

Decreased appetite (reported as treatment-emergent anorexia) was more commonly observed in Effexor XR treated patients versus placebo-treated patients in the premarketing evaluation of Effexor XR for MDD, GAD, and SAD (see Table 6).

Table 6: Incidence (%) of Decreased Appetite and Associated Discontinuation Rates* (%) in Pediatric Patients in Placebo-controlled Studies of Effexor XR
Indication
  (Duration)
Effexor XR Incidence Discontinuation Placebo Incidence Discontinuation
*
The discontinuation rates for weight loss were 0.7% for patients receiving either Effexor XR or placebo.
MDD and GAD
  (pooled, 8 weeks)
10 0.0 3
SAD
  (16 weeks)
22 0.7 3 0.0

5.12 Interstitial Lung Disease and Eosinophilic Pneumonia

Interstitial lung disease and eosinophilic pneumonia associated with venlafaxine therapy have been rarely reported. The possibility of these adverse events should be considered in venlafaxine-treated patients who present with progressive dyspnea, cough or chest discomfort. Such patients should undergo a prompt medical evaluation, and discontinuation of venlafaxine therapy should be considered.

medication guide

EFFEXOR XR(e-fex-or)
(venlafaxine hydrochloride)
(Extended-Release Capsules)

Read the Medication Guide that comes with EFFEXOR XR before you start taking it and each time you get a refill. There may be new information. This Medication Guide does not take the place of talking to your healthcare provider about your medical condition or treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider if there is something you do not understand or want to learn more about.

What is the most important information I should know about EFFEXOR XR?

EFFEXOR XR and other antidepressant medicines may cause serious side effects, including:

1. Suicidal thoughts or actions:

  • EFFEXOR XR and other antidepressant medicines may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some children, teenagers, or young adults within the first few months of treatment or when the dose is changed.
  • Depression or other serious mental illnesses are the most important causes of suicidal thoughts or actions.
  • Watch for these changes and call your healthcare provider right away if you notice:
    • New or sudden changes in mood, behavior, actions, thoughts, or feelings, especially if severe.
    • Pay particular attention to such changes when EFFEXOR XR is started or when the dose is changed.

    Keep all follow-up visits with your healthcare provider and call between visits if you are worried about symptoms.

    Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms, or call 911 if an emergency, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you:
    • attempts to commit suicide
    • acting on dangerous impulses
    • acting aggressive or violent
    • thoughts about suicide or dying
    • new or worse depression
    • new or worse anxiety or panic attacks
    • feeling agitated, restless, angry or irritable
    • trouble sleeping
    • an increase in activity or talking more than what is normal for you
    • other unusual changes in behavior or mood
    • Visual problems
      • eye pain
      • changes in vision
      • swelling or redness in or around the eye
      Only some people are at risk for these problems. You may want to undergo an eye examination to see if you are at risk and receive preventative treatment if you are.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms, or call 911 if an emergency. EFFEXOR XR may be associated with these serious side effects:

2. Serotonin Syndrome
This condition can be life-threatening and may include
:

  • agitation, hallucinations, coma or other changes in mental status
  • coordination problems or muscle twitching (overactive reflexes)
  • racing heartbeat, high or low blood pressure
  • sweating or fever
  • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • muscle rigidity

3. Changes in blood pressure. EFFEXOR XR may:

  • increase your blood pressure. Control high blood pressure before starting treatment and monitor blood pressure regularly

4. Enlarged pupils (mydriasis).

5. Anxiety and insomnia.

6. Changes in appetite or weight.

7. Manic/hypomanic episodes:

  • greatly increased energy
  • severe trouble sleeping
  • racing thoughts
  • reckless behavior
  • unusually grand ideas
  • excessive happiness or irritability
  • talking more or faster than usual

8. Low salt (sodium) levels in the blood. Elderly people may be at greater risk for this. Symptoms may include:

  • headache
  • weakness or feeling unsteady
  • confusion, problems concentrating or thinking or memory problems

9. Seizures or convulsions.

10. Abnormal bleeding: EFFEXOR XR and other antidepressant medicines may increase your risk of bleeding or bruising, especially if you take the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs, like ibuprofen or naproxen), or aspirin.

11. Elevated cholesterol.

12. Lung disease and pneumonia: EFFEXOR XR may cause rare lung problems. Symptoms include:

  • worsening shortness of breath
  • cough
  • chest discomfort

13. Severe allergic reactions:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of the face, tongue, eyes or mouth
  • rash, itchy welts (hives) or blisters, alone or with fever or joint pain.

Do not stop EFFEXOR XR without first talking to your healthcare provider. Stopping EFFEXOR XR too quickly or changing from another antidepressant too quickly may cause serious symptoms including:

  • anxiety, irritability
  • feeling tired, restless or problems sleeping
  • headache, sweating, dizziness
  • electric shock-like sensations, shaking, confusion, nightmares
  • vomiting, nausea, diarrhea

What is EFFEXOR XR?

EFFEXOR XR is a prescription medicine used to treat depression. It is important to talk with your healthcare provider about the risks of treating depression and also the risks of not treating it. You should discuss all treatment choices with your healthcare provider. EFFEXOR XR is also used to treat:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
  • Panic Disorder (PD)

Talk to your healthcare provider if you do not think that your condition is getting better with EFFEXOR XR treatment.

Who should not take EFFEXOR XR?

Do not take EFFEXOR XR if you:

  • are allergic to EFFEXOR XR or any of the ingredients in EFFEXOR XR. See the end of this Medication Guide for a complete list of ingredients in EFFEXOR XR.
  • have uncontrolled angle-closure glaucoma
  • take a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI). Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are not sure if you take an MAOI, including the antibiotic linezolid.
    • Do not take an MAOI within 7 days of stopping EFFEXOR XR unless directed to do so by your physician.
    • Do not start EFFEXOR XR if you stopped taking an MAOI in the last 2 weeks unless directed to do so by your physician.

    People who take EFFEXOR XR close in time to an MAOI may have serious or even life-threatening side effects. Get medical help right away if you have any of these symptoms:
     
    • high fever
    • uncontrolled muscle spasms
    • stiff muscles
    • rapid changes in heart rate or blood pressure
    • confusion
    • loss of consciousness (pass out)

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking EFFEXOR XR? Ask if you are not sure.

Before starting EFFEXOR XR, tell your healthcare provider if you:

  • Are taking certain drugs such as:
    • Amphetamines
    • Medicines used to treat migraine headaches such as:
      • triptans
    • Medicines used to treat mood, anxiety, psychotic or thought disorders, such as:
      • tricyclic antidepressants
      • lithium
      • SSRIs
      • SNRIs
      • antipsychotic drugs
    • Medicines used to treat pain such as:
      • tramadol
    • Medicines used to thin your blood such as:
      • warfarin
    • Medicines used to treat heartburn such as:
      • Cimetidine
    • Over-the-counter medicines or supplements such as:
      • Aspirin or other NSAIDs
      • Tryptophan
      • St. John’s Wort
  • have heart problems
  • have diabetes
  • have liver problems
  • have kidney problems
  • have thyroid problems
  • have or had seizures or convulsions
  • have bipolar disorder or mania
  • have low sodium levels in your blood
  • have high blood pressure
  • have high cholesterol
  • have or had bleeding problems
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if EFFEXOR XR will harm your unborn baby. Talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of treating depression during pregnancy
  • are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed. Some EFFEXOR XR may pass into your breast milk. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby while taking EFFEXOR XR.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines that you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. EFFEXOR XR and some medicines may interact with each other, may not work as well, or may cause serious side effects.

Your healthcare provider or pharmacist can tell you if it is safe to take EFFEXOR XR with your other medicines. Do not start or stop any medicine while taking EFFEXOR XR without talking to your healthcare provider first.

If you take EFFEXOR XR, you should not take any other medicines that contain (venlafaxine) including: venlafaxine HCl.

How should I take EFFEXOR XR?

  • Take EFFEXOR XR exactly as prescribed. Your healthcare provider may need to change the dose of EFFEXOR XR until it is the right dose for you.
  • EFFEXOR XR is to be taken with food.
  • If you miss a dose of EFFEXOR XR, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of EFFEXOR XR at the same time.
  • If you take too much EFFEXOR XR, call your healthcare provider or poison control center right away, or get emergency treatment.
  • When switching from another antidepressant to EFFEXOR XR your doctor may want to lower the dose of the initial antidepressant first to avoid side effects

What should I avoid while taking EFFEXOR XR?

EFFEXOR XR can cause sleepiness or may affect your ability to make decisions, think clearly, or react quickly. You should not drive, operate heavy machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how EFFEXOR XR affects you. Do not drink alcohol while using EFFEXOR XR.

What are the possible side effects of EFFEXOR XR?

EFFEXOR XR may cause serious side effects, including:

  • See "What is the most important information I should know about EFFEXOR XR?"
  • Increased cholesterol- have your cholesterol checked regularly
  • Newborns whose mothers take EFFEXOR XR in the third trimester may have problems right after birth including:
    • problems feeding and breathing
    • seizures
    • shaking, jitteriness or constant crying
  • Angle-closure glaucoma

Common possible side effects in people who take EFFEXOR XR include:

  • unusual dreams
  • sexual problems
  • loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, or dry mouth
  • feeling tired, fatigued or overly sleepy
  • change in sleep habits, problems sleeping
  • yawning
  • tremor or shaking
  • dizziness, blurred vision
  • sweating
  • feeling anxious, nervous or jittery
  • headache
  • increase in heart rate

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of EFFEXOR XR. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

CALL YOUR DOCTOR FOR MEDICAL ADVICE ABOUT SIDE EFFECTS. YOU MAY REPORT SIDE EFFECTS TO THE FDA AT 1-800-FDA-1088.

How should I store EFFEXOR XR?

  • Store EFFEXOR XR at room temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
  • Keep EFFEXOR XR in a dry place.

Keep EFFEXOR XR and all medicines out of the reach of children.

General information about EFFEXOR

Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in a Medication Guide. Do not use EFFEXOR XR for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give EFFEXOR XR to other people, even if they have the same condition. It may harm them.

This Medication Guide summarizes the most important information about EFFEXOR XR. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider. You may ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about EFFEXOR XR that is written for healthcare professionals.

For more information about EFFEXOR XR call 1-800-438-1985 or go to www. EFFEXOR XR.com.

What are the ingredients in EFFEXOR XR?

Active ingredient: (venlafaxine)

Inactive ingredients:

  • Extended-Release Capsules: cellulose, ethylcellulose, gelatin, hypromellose, iron oxides, and titanium dioxide.

This Medication Guide has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for all antidepressants.

This product’s label may have been updated. For current full prescribing information, please visit www.pfizer.com

LAB-0542-6.0

October 2016

overdosage

10.1 Human Experience

During the premarketing evaluations of Effexor XR (for MDD, GAD, SAD, and PD) and Effexor (for MDD), there were twenty reports of acute overdosage with Effexor (6 and 14 reports in Effexor XR and Effexor patients, respectively), either alone or in combination with other drugs and/or alcohol.

Somnolence was the most commonly reported symptom. Among the other reported symptoms were paresthesia of all four limbs, moderate dizziness, nausea, numb hands and feet, and hot-cold spells 5 days after the overdose. In most cases, no signs or symptoms were associated with overdose. The majority of the reports involved ingestion in which the total dose of venlafaxine taken was estimated to be no more than several-fold higher than the usual therapeutic dose. One patient who ingested 2.75 g of venlafaxine was observed to have two generalized convulsions and a prolongation of QTc to 500 msec, compared with 405 msec at baseline. Mild sinus tachycardia was reported in two of the other patients.

Actions taken to treat the overdose included no treatment, hospitalization and symptomatic treatment, and hospitalization plus treatment with activated charcoal. All patients recovered.

In postmarketing experience, overdose with venlafaxine has occurred predominantly in combination with alcohol and/or other drugs. The most commonly reported events in overdosage include tachycardia, changes in level of consciousness (ranging from somnolence to coma), mydriasis, seizures, and vomiting. Electrocardiogram changes (e.g., prolongation of QT interval, bundle branch block, QRS prolongation), ventricular tachycardia, bradycardia, hypotension, rhabdomyolysis, vertigo, liver necrosis, serotonin syndrome, and death have been reported.

Published retrospective studies report that venlafaxine overdosage may be associated with an increased risk of fatal outcomes compared to that observed with SSRI antidepressant products, but lower than that for tricyclic antidepressants. Epidemiological studies have shown that venlafaxine-treated patients have a higher preexisting burden of suicide risk factors than SSRI-treated patients. The extent to which the finding of an increased risk of fatal outcomes can be attributed to the toxicity of venlafaxine in overdosage, as opposed to some characteristic(s) of venlafaxine-treated patients, is not clear. Prescriptions for Effexor XR should be written for the smallest quantity of capsules consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose.

10.2 Management of Overdosage

Consult a Certified Poison Control Center for up-to-date guidance and advice (1-800-222-1222 or www.poison.org). In case of an overdose, provide supportive care, including close medical supervision and monitoring. Treatment should consist of those general measures employed in the management of overdosage with any drug. Consider the possibility of multiple drug overdose. Ensure an adequate airway, oxygenation, and ventilation. Monitor cardiac rhythm and vital signs. Provide supportive and symptomatic measures.

description

Effexor XR is an extended-release capsule for once-a-day oral administration that contains venlafaxine hydrochloride, a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI).

Venlafaxine is designated (R/S)-1-[2-(dimethylamino)-1-(4-methoxyphenyl)ethyl] cyclohexanol hydrochloride or (±)-1-[α- [(dimethylamino)methyl]-p-methoxybenzyl] cyclohexanol hydrochloride and has the empirical formula of C17H27NO2 HCl. Its molecular weight is 313.86. The structural formula is shown as follows:

Venlafaxine hydrochloride is a white to off-white crystalline solid, with a solubility of 572 mg/mL in water (adjusted to ionic strength of 0.2 M with sodium chloride). Its octanol:water (0.2 M sodium chloride) partition coefficient is 0.43.

Drug release is controlled by diffusion through the coating membrane on the spheroids and is not pH-dependent. Capsules contain venlafaxine hydrochloride equivalent to 37.5 mg, 75 mg, or 150 mg venlafaxine. Inactive ingredients consist of cellulose, ethylcellulose, gelatin, hypromellose, iron oxide, and titanium dioxide.

Effexor Package Photos

About the Author

Truman Lewis
Truman has been a bureau chief and correspondent in D.C., Los Angeles, Phoenix and elsewhere, reporting for radio, television, print and news services, for more than 30 years. Most recently, he has reported extensively on health and consumer issues for ConsumerAffairs.com and FairfaxNews.com.