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What does it do?

Venlafaxine is used to treat and prevent depression, and sometimes other conditions.

How should you take it?

Take venlafaxine regularly as directed with a glass of water. Swallow the tablets or capsules whole.

What if you forget a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as possible. If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and carry on as normal. Do not take two doses at the same time.

Can you take other medicines?

Some medicines available without a prescription may react with venlafaxine including:

  • anti-inflammatories, such as diclofenac (e.g. Voltaren®), ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen®), or aspirin (e.g. Disprin®, in doses used for pain relief). These can also be found in some cold and flu medicines (e.g. Nurofen Cold and Flu®).
  • low-dose aspirin (e.g. Cartia®)
  • cold and flu medicines containing dextromethorphan (e.g. Robitussin Dry Cough Forte®)
  • some migraine medicines, such as sumatriptan (e.g. Sumagran Active®) or zolmitriptan (e.g. Zomig®)

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products (e.g. St John's wort) or recreational drugs (e.g. ecstasy).

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Suicidal thoughts

Fast or irregular heartbeat

Muscle twitching or shaking you can’t control, confusion, heavy sweating, fever

Tell your doctor immediately

Anxiety

Tell your doctor

Dizziness, drowsiness, headache, blurred vision, flushing, yawning, strange dreams, trouble sleeping

Muscle weakness, tingling or numbness

Loss of appetite, dry mouth, weight loss

Changes in sexual function, changes in periods, trouble peeing

Nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhoea

Tell your doctor if troublesome

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have heart, liver, kidney or bleeding problems.
  • Tell your doctor if you have high cholesterol or blood pressure, glaucoma, bipolar disorder, or if you have ever had a seizure.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Venlafaxine may make you dizzy or sleepy and make it dangerous to drive, operate machinery or do other activities that require you to be alert. Limit alcohol intake because it can increase these effects.
  • It may take a few weeks for venlafaxine to start working.
  • Feelings of anxiety in the first few weeks of therapy are common, but should get better. Discuss with your doctor.
  • If your depression continues to get worse, see your doctor.
  • Do not stop taking venlafaxine without talking to your doctor first.

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the PILs Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand. September 2017

For more general information about this sheet and its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

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About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at the Canterbury District Health Board. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed