What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?
You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking venlafaxine if you have:
- Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) or a family history of bipolar disorder
- A history of suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts
- A recent history of a heart attack (or if you have unstable heart disease)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Seizures or epilepsy
- Glaucoma (a condition of the eyes)
- Liver disease, including liver failure or cirrhosis
- Kidney problems, including kidney failure (renal failure)
- A bleeding disorder
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also let your healthcare provider know if you:
- Are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant (see Effexor and Pregnancy)
- Are breastfeeding (see Effexor and Breastfeeding)
- Drink alcohol regularly.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Precautions and Warnings for Venlafaxine for more information, including information on who should not take the drug.)
Alternatives to Venlafaxine
Depression, even in its most severe form, is highly treatable. As with many illnesses, getting depression treatment early is more effective and reduces the chance of recurrence.
The most common forms of treatment for depression are medication (antidepressants) and psychotherapy ("talk" therapy). In cases of severe depression, some healthcare providers may recommend electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Some people may also try complementary or alternative treatments for depression (see Natural Remedies for Depression).
For most people, venlafaxine is quite effective at treating depression. It is also generally well tolerated. However, bothersome side effects can occur or the medicine may not work as well as needed. In these cases, your healthcare provider may recommend an alternative. Some examples of substitute depression medications include:
- Other serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs)
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
(Click Effexor Alternatives to learn more about alternatives to venlafaxine. Click Dealing With Depression to learn other ways of managing depression.)