Depression Home > What Is Venlafaxine Used For?

How Venlafaxine Works

Venlafaxine is part of a class of drugs called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs for short. SNRIs, such as venlafaxine, act on two specific chemicals within the brain, known as serotonin and norepinephrine. Serotonin and norepinephrine are two of several chemicals used to send messages in between nerves; but, when serotonin and norepinephrine levels become unbalanced, it can cause a variety of conditions, such as depression. Venlafaxine helps to block the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine, so that higher levels of these chemicals are available for the nerves in the brain, returning the serotonin and norepinephrine back to their "normal" levels.
Although it is not entirely clear how venlafaxine works for nerve pain, it appears that venlafaxine seems to help block the nerve pain signals in the spinal cord or brain. This helps to relieve the pain of peripheral diabetic neuropathy.

Venlafaxine Uses in Children

Venlafaxine is not approved for the treatment of childhood depression. Talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using venlafaxine in children with depression.

Off-Label Venlafaxine Uses

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend venlafaxine for treating something other than the conditions listed above. This is called an "off-label" use. Venlafaxine is used off-label to treat the following conditions:
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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