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venlafaxine (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking venlafaxine (Effexor, Effexor XR)?

You should not take this medication if you are allergic to venlafaxine or desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), or if you are also using a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate). You must wait at least 14 days after stopping an MAOI before you can take venlafaxine. After you stop taking venlafaxine, you must wait at least 7 days before you start taking an MAOI.

Do not take venlafaxine together with desvenlafaxine (Pristiq).

To make sure you can safely take venlafaxine, tell your doctor if you have other medical conditions, especially:

You may have thoughts about suicide while taking an antidepressant, especially if you are younger than 24 years old. Tell your doctor if you have worsening depression or suicidal thoughts during the first several weeks of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed.

Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits for at least the first 12 weeks of treatment.

FDA pregnancy category C. Venlafaxine may cause problems in a newborn baby if the mother takes the medication late in pregnancy (during the third trimester). Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Venlafaxine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give this medication to anyone under 18 years old without the advice of a doctor.

How should I take venlafaxine (Effexor, Effexor XR)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Venlafaxine should be taken with food. Try to take venlafaxine at the same time each day.

Swallow the controlled-release capsule (Effexor XR) whole, without crushing or chewing. To make the medication easier to swallow, you may open the capsule and sprinkle the medicine into a small amount of applesauce. Swallow all of the mixture without chewing, and do not save any for later use.

It may take 4 weeks or more for your symptoms to improve. Keep using the medication as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 4 weeks of treatment.

This medication can cause you to have a false positive drug screening test. If you provide a urine sample for drug screening, tell the laboratory staff that you are taking venlafaxine.

Do not stop using venlafaxine suddenly, or you could have unpleasant symptoms. Ask your doctor how to avoid these symptoms when you stop using venlafaxine.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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