Effexor is a prescription medicine that is licensed to treat depression in adults. The antidepressant, which works on chemicals in the brain that become unbalanced during depression, is a type of serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Effexor comes in a tablet form and is available in a number of strengths. A few common side effects of the drug include drowsiness, dry mouth, and nausea.
What Is Effexor?
Effexor® (venlafaxine hydrochloride) is a prescription medicine used to treat depression (also known as major depression or clinical depression).
(Click Effexor Uses for more information on what it is used for, including possible off-label uses.)
Who Makes Effexor?
Brand-name Effexor was manufactured by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals but is no longer available. Generic versions are made by various manufacturers.
How Does It Work?
Effexor is part of a class of drugs called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs for short. SNRIs, such as Effexor, act on specific chemicals within the brain known as serotonin and norepinephrine. Serotonin and norepinephrine are two of several chemicals used to send messages from one nerve cell to another.
As a message travels down a nerve, it causes the end of the cell to release serotonin or norepinephrine. The serotonin or norepinephrine enters the gap between the first nerve cell and the one next to it. When enough serotonin or norepinephrine reaches the second nerve cell, it activates receptors on the cell and the message continues on its way. The first cell then quickly absorbs any serotonin or norepinephrine that remains in the gap between cells. This is called "reuptake."
Normally, this process works without any problems. But when the levels of serotonin or norepinephrine become unbalanced, it can cause a variety of conditions, including depression. Effexor helps to block the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine so that more remains in the space between the brain's nerve cells. This gives the serotonin and norepinephrine a better chance of activating the receptors on the next nerve cell.