What are the Adverse Effects of Venlafaxine?

Introduction

The following list shows the rates of adverse symptoms seen in people taking venlafaxine.

Very Common (>>10% Incidence)

  • Headache:
    • An often transient side effect that is common to most serotonin reuptake inhibitors and that most often occurs at the beginning of therapy or after a dose escalation.
  • Nausea:
    • An adverse effect that is more common with venlafaxine than with the SSRIs.
    • Usually transient and less severe in those receiving the extended release formulations.
  • Insomnia.
  • Asthenia (weakness).
  • Dizziness.
  • Ejaculation disorder:
    • Sexual side effects can be seen with virtually any antidepressant, especially those that inhibit the reuptake of serotonin (including venlafaxine).
  • Somnolence.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Sweating.
  • Withdrawal.

Common (1-10% incidence)

  • Constipation.
  • Nervousness.
  • Abnormal vision.
  • Anorgasmia.
  • Hypertension.
  • Impotence.
  • Paraesthesia.
  • Tremor.
  • Vasodilation.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weight loss.
  • Chills.
  • Palpitations.
  • Confusion.
  • Depersonalisation.
  • Night sweats.
  • Menstrual disorders associated with increased bleeding or increased irregular bleeding (e.g. menorrhagia, metrorrhagia).
  • Urinary frequency increased.
  • Abnormal dreams.
  • Decreased libido.
  • Increased muscle tonus.
  • Yawning.
  • Sweating.
  • Abnormality of accommodation.
  • Abnormal ejaculation/orgasm (males).
  • Urinary hesitancy.
  • Serum cholesterol increased (especially when treatment is prolonged and it may be dose-dependent).

Uncommon (0.1-1% incidence)

  • Face oedema.
  • Intentional injury (self-injury).
  • Malaise.
  • Moniliasis.
  • Neck rigidity.
  • Pelvic pain.
  • Photosensitivity reaction.
  • Suicide attempt.
  • Withdrawal syndrome (Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome).
  • Hypotension.
  • Postural hypotension.
  • Syncope.
  • Tachycardia.
  • Bruxism.
  • Ecchymosis.
  • Mucous membrane bleeding.
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • Abnormal liver function tests.
  • Hyponatraemia.
  • Weight gain.
  • Apathy.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Myoclonus.
  • Rash.
  • Abnormal orgasm (females).
  • Urinary retention (the inability to pass urine).
  • Angioedema.
  • Agitation.
  • Impaired coordination & balance.
  • Alopecia (hair loss).
  • Tinnitus (hearing bells).
  • Proteinuria (protein in urine).

Rare (0.01-0.1% incidence)

  • Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH).
  • Thrombocytopenia.
  • Prolonged bleeding time.
  • Seizures.
  • Mania.
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS).
  • Serotonin syndrome.
  • Akathisia/psychomotor restlessness.
  • Urinary incontinence.

Very Rare (<0.01% incidence)

  • Anaphylaxis.
  • QT prolongation.
  • Ventricular fibrillation.
  • Ventricular tachycardia (including torsades de pointes).
  • Pancreatitis.
  • Blood dyscrasias (including agranulocytosis, aplastic anaemia, neutropenia and pancytopenia).
  • Elevated serum prolactin.
  • Delirium.
  • Extrapyramidal reactions (including dystonia and dyskinesia).
  • Tardive dyskinesia.
  • Pulmonary eosinophilia.
  • Erythema multiforme.
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
  • Pruritus.
  • Urticaria.
  • Toxic epidermal necrolysis.
  • Angle closure glaucoma.

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