An overdose on Effexor can be fatal, especially if alcohol or other drugs are involved.
Signs of an Effexor overdose include confusion, seizures, extreme drowsiness, vomiting, dizziness, and delirium. If overdose is suspected, call 911.
Effexor is an antidepressant medication containing the active ingredient venlafaxine, which is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI).
The prescribed dosage of Effexor or Effexor XR (extended release) is generally initiated in the lowest possible amount that will be effective. It is then slowly adjusted over several weeks until depressive symptoms are stabilized.
Effexor should be taken only under the direct supervision and instruction of a trained medical professional.
Side Effects of Effexor
Effexor comes with a long list of side effects, so it is smart to inform your medical provider when you feel any of these:
- Increased sweating
- Dry mouth
- Abnormal weakness of lack of energy
- Blurry vision
- Change in appetite or weight
- Strange dreams
- Decreased sex drive
- Trouble reaching an orgasm
Effexor also may produce some more serious side effects:
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Muscle cramps or weakness
- Changes in sexual ability, including a decreased interest in sex
Younger people taking Effexor XR might experience worsening symptoms and possible suicide risk. If you are taking this medication, please let your doctor know if your depression is getting worse.
Snorting Effexor or drugs is one the means of abuse. This is done by crushing the tablets on a hard surface, dividing the resulting powder into “lines,” and using a straw to inhale it through the nose. When this is done, the effects of the drug come on faster. When the drug is snorted, it immediately goes into the bloodstream through the soft tissues in the nasal cavities. It takes very little time to feel the desired effects. When taking an extended-release formula of Effexor, the effects may be heightened.
A published medical report states that when Effexor is snorted at dosages up to 10-15 times higher than prescribed, the individual abusing the drug will have stimulant and psychedelic effects. The report also indicated that polydrug misuse was commonly reported.
Who is more likely to snort this drug? A person with co-occurring disorders like depression and a substance use disorder. Snorting the drug might elevate their mood more than a regularly taken dose would. If you abuse Effexor by taking more of it than prescribed or using it in a way that is not prescribed (snorting), your risk for addiction is possible.
Effexor can be obtained illegally from dealers, fake online pharmacies, or from friends who are prescribed. Prescription drugs bought from street dealers are known to have other additives in them to “stretch” the dealer’s supply of drugs. Known additives in drugs bought on the street include cornstarch, talcum powder, and fentanyl, which can take a life. There is also the risk of illegitimate pharmacies selling Effexor with additives, which are unknown to the buyer and user. Overdose on this drug is possible.
Overdose on Venlafaxine
Can you overdose on venlafaxine? Venlafaxine is the generic name for Effexor, and it is possible that you can overdose on either drug. When you combine venlafaxine and alcohol or with other drugs, you may experience tachycardia (very fast heartbeat), feeling like you really want to go to sleep, vomiting, coma, dilated eye pupils, and/or seizures. There are other adverse risks for a venlafaxine overdose or Effexor overdose. These are:
- Serotonin syndrome
- Liver necrosis
- Bradycardia – Heart rate less than 60 beats per minute
- Hypotension – Very low blood pressure
Symptoms of an Effexor Overdose
Misuse of Effexor, or mixing it with alcohol or other drugs, can result in a toxic overdose. An overdose happens when the drug builds up to toxic levels in the bloodstream and can no longer be safely metabolized out of the body.
Mood changes, impaired memory, anxiety, restlessness, nervousness, mental confusion, delirium, and significant drowsiness are side effects of Effexor that can indicate a possible overdose.
The U.S. National Library Of Medicine (NLM) Publishes the Following Signs of a Potential Effexor Overdose to Watch For:
- Muscle pain
- Flashes of feeling hot interspersed with feeling cold
- Dilated pupils
- Tingling, burning, or numb sensation in the extremities
- Irregular heart rate
- Muscle pain
- Loss of consciousness and possible coma
Some of the potential side effects of an overdose may not be present for several hours after taking Effexor. For example, delayed onset seizures may occur up to 12 hours after the last dose, Missouri Poison Control warns.
If there is any indication of Effexor overdose, call 911 immediately.
Hazards of Overdose
An overdose on Effexor can cause low blood pressure and heart rate, and liver cell death. Additional toxic effects can occur, including QTC prolongation, which can lead to sudden cardiac death.
Effexor is also a serotonergic medication, which means it elevates levels of serotonin in the brain. Excessive amounts of serotonin, which typically occur if the drug is misused or combined with other serotonergic drugs, can lead to potentially fatal serotonin syndrome.
Elevated body temperature, tremors, sweating, dilated pupils, hyperactive reflexes, agitation, diarrhea, muscle rigidity and twitches, and a loss of consciousness are all possible signs of serotonin syndrome.
The medical information for Effexor XR publishes that the most serious reported overdoses include a combination of Effexor with another drug or alcohol. The mixture of other drugs and/or alcohol with Effexor can increase the side effects of all substances involved, including elevating the risk for overdose.
An overdose on Effexor generally involves doses that are many times more than the recommended and therapeutic amounts. For example, Effexor XR is distributed in dosage tables equaling 37.5 mg (milligrams), 75 mg, and 150 mg. Doses are not to exceed 225 mg per day. In one reported overdose that had serious adverse reactions, the dose was 2.75 grams, which is more than 2,000 mg over the maximum daily dosage.
Misuse of Effexor, including chewing the tablet or crushing it to inject, snort, or smoke it, also raises the risk for overdose. Effexor XR is designed to be released into the bloodstream in a timed-release fashion. Bypassing this mechanism puts the entire dose into the brain and bloodstream at once, increasing the odds for toxic buildup and overdose.
Effexor should only be taken exactly as directed under the guidance of a medical professional. Discuss any other medications you are taking with your doctor, as some can negatively interact with Effexor.
What To Do
Again, the first thing to do when an Effexor overdose is suspected is call 911.
Give as Much Detail to the Operator as You Can, Such As:
- What the person took
- How much they took
- If they have a prescription for Effexor
- How they took the medication, such as swallowing or snorting it
- How long they have been taking Effexor
- Age and weight
- Any known medical or mental health conditions
- Current status of the person
If the person is awake, try to keep them calm.
If they have lost consciousness, turn them onto their side in the recovery position to ensure they don’t choke if they vomit. Listen to the 911 operator carefully and follow their instructions.Once the paramedics arrive, show them all the medications, pill bottles, or anything else relevant to the overdose. Share with them as much information as you know.
There is no specific treatment for an Effexor overdose, but medical professionals may use various approaches to reverse the overdose and stabilize the person.
Effexor Addiction Information
When you abuse Effexor or venlafaxine, you may become addicted to the medication. Addiction carries signs or symptoms that you should know:
- Frequently taking larger doses than prescribed
- Using the drug in a way that is not prescribed, such as snorting it
- No interest in usual activities, hobbies, or interests
- Struggling with personal finances, relationships, and the damage caused by drug abuse
- Not feeling like you can function without the drug
- Intense cravings for the drug
Effexor Addiction Help
Addiction is also called a severe substance use disorder. Many people with an addiction also have a mental health disorder. Treatment for the two disorders, often called dual diagnosis, is readily available at Arete Recovery. Our South Florida campus is located in Pembroke Pines in southern Broward County. Our dedicated and attentive medical and addiction professionals have decades of experience working with those who wish to end substance use. Addiction to Effexor or venlafaxine can destroy every aspect of an individual’s life. Why risk that when you obtain the necessary help? Learn more about what we have to offer here.