If you're taking an antidepressant called Effexor (venlafaxine), you know it is a Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor (SNRI) used to treat depression, generalized or socialized anxiety disorder, or panic disorder 1. Your physician or pharmacist should have explained that Effexor needs to be swallowed whole, and taken with a full glass of water and food at about the same time every day. If you're trying to decide whether it is better to take Effexor in the morning or in the evening, there are some important considerations.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
If Effexor Makes You Wired or Tired
In some people, Effexor causes such side effects as insomnia and abnormal dreams. If this is your reaction to the medication, take it in the morning, so these side effects will have worn off by bedtime.
For others, Effexor can have a sedative effect, causing drowsiness during the daytime. Some doctors recommend taking it at night so you can sleep off the effects of tiredness.
You might have to experiment with taking Effexor in the morning and evening to see which time of day works best for you.
- In some people, Effexor causes such side effects as insomnia and abnormal dreams.
If You Are Taking Other Medications With Effexor
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Your doctor may recommend taking Effexor in the morning or evening to avoid drug interaction. Some medicines--including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal and nutritional supplements--can affect how Effexor works. A potentially life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome can also occur when Effexor is taken with other medicines that affect serotonin. Tell your physician if you are taking medicines used to treat migraine headaches (known as triptans), Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs), lithium, tramadol, St. John's wort, MAOIs (including linezolid, an antibiotic), and tryptophan supplements.
- Your doctor may recommend taking Effexor in the morning or evening to avoid drug interaction.
- A potentially life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome can also occur when Effexor is taken with other medicines that affect serotonin.
Remember to Take Effexor Every Day
Whether you take Effexor with breakfast or dinner, the most important thing is that you take it consistently every day to get the greatest benefit with the least amount of side effects. Discontinuation symptoms--such as physical discomfort, changes in mood or sensory disturbances--may occur even after you skip only a few doses. If you want to stop taking Effexor, your doctor will recommend how to gradually lower your daily dose. Safely "tapering" the dose over a matter of weeks or months helps minimize discontinuation symptoms.
- Whether you take Effexor with breakfast or dinner, the most important thing is that you take it consistently every day to get the greatest benefit with the least amount of side effects.
- Safely "tapering" the dose over a matter of weeks or months helps minimize discontinuation symptoms.
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- Depression Community Forum
- Official Effexor Site: Drug Interactions
- 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).
Brenda Asheim is a freelance copywriter in the Seattle area. She has more than 25 years of experience writing ad copy for anything from Fortune 500 to small businesses in high-tech, health care and consumer industries. A second-degree black belt and certified taekwondo instructor, Asheim also writes the Seattle Fitness Examiner column.