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Effexor, which has the generic name venlafaxine, is an antidepressant used to treat major depression, anxiety and panic disorder. It belongs to a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient that is needed for the synthesis of DNA and red blood cells and also for the maintenance of healthy nerve cells. Effexor and vitamin B12 deficiency are tied together in a couple ways 2.
Patients taking Effexor might experience common gastrointestinal effects such as:
- stomach pain
- according to Drugs.com 1
These side effects can lead to a decreased absorption of vitamin B12 in the body because of frequent vomiting and diarrhea. Vitamin B12 is extracted from food in the stomach with the help of a protein known as intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor binds to vitamin B12 and helps it get absorbed in the small intestine. Patients experiencing vomiting lose intrinsic factor as well as the vitamin itself.
- Patients taking Effexor might experience common gastrointestinal effects such as: * nausea
* stomach pain
* according to Drugs.com 1 These side effects can lead to a decreased absorption of vitamin B12 in the body because of frequent vomiting and diarrhea.
- Intrinsic factor binds to vitamin B12 and helps it get absorbed in the small intestine.
Ativan & B Complex Vitamins
Patients taking Effexor may experience vitamin B12 deficiency because of malnutrition caused by major depression. Effexor takes a while to relieve symptoms of depression, so even though patients are taking the medication, they might still experience symptoms that cause malnutrition. These include decreased appetite and loss of interest in eating and making healthy food choices.
Untreated vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to pernicious anemia and neurological damage. Symptoms of pernicious anemia include fatigue, shortness of breath, paleness and constipation. Patients should ensure that they take prescribed treatments for vitamin B12 deficiency in order to prevent permanent nerve damage. Vitamin B12 deficiency is treated with supplements that are available through injections, tablets and nasal gels.
- Untreated vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to pernicious anemia and neurological damage.
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- Drugs.com: Effexor
- MayoClinic.com: Vitamin B12 and Depression: Are They Related?
- Shelton RC. Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2019;250:145-180. doi:10.1007/164_2018_164
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Effexor XR (venlafaxine Extended-Release) Capsules. Updated 2017.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Effexor. Updated 2006.
- Ye C, Ninneman M, Christian JS, Zhang F, Musselman D. Seizure Induced by a Therapeutic Dose of Venlafaxine ER: A Case Report. J Psychiatr Pract. 2018;24(2):117-120. doi:10.1097/PRA.0000000000000298
- Patel R, Reiss P, Shetty H, et al. Do antidepressants increase the risk of mania and bipolar disorder in people with depression? A retrospective electronic case register cohort study. BMJ Open. 2015;5(12):e008341. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008341
- "Venlafaxine." MedLine Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine (2014).
Esther Kinuthia is a registered nurse with extensive experience in health and wellness. She holds a B.S. in nursing, B.A in psychology and has worked for more than ten years in the health-care field. She enjoys writing articles on a variety of topics for the Internet. Her work has been published in various websites.