Effexor (venlafaxine) is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). It is also sold under the brand names Alventa, Argofan, and Trevilor. Effexor can cause fatal overdose, sudden cardiac death in women, serious birth defects, and miscarriage.


Effexor carries a greater risk of fatal overdose than selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Symptoms of Effexor overdose include:

  • Feeling very tired or sleepy
  • Increased, decreased or irregular heart rate
  • Spinning sensation (vertigo)
  • Burning, tingling, or numbness of the hands and feet
  • Muscle pain
  • Hot and cold spells
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Seizures
  • Liver damage
  • Coma death


Several studies have found an increased risk of suicide in Effexor users. One study found that taking Effexor increased the risk of suicide more than taking Prozac or Celexa.

In children and adults under 25, Effexor was found to increase suicidal thoughts and behavior five-fold, and to increase hostility.

Birth Defects and Miscarriage

A study published in May, 2010, in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that women who took Effexor during the first trimester of pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to miscarry.

Effexor has also been linked to developmental delays and serious birth defects including:

  • Heart defects
  • Skull defects
  • Abdominal wall defects
  • Club foot
  • Anal atresia
  • Oral clefts

Serotonin Syndrome

Serotonin syndrome, also called serotonin toxicity, is a life-threatening health emergency. Serotonin syndrome can occur when taking Effexor alone, but it more common when it is taken in combination with triptans, a type of medication used to treat migraines.

Effexor Uses

Effexor is an antidepressant, but it is also used to treat conditions which do not seem to be related to depression at all. It works by increasing the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine available to the brain.

Some uses are off-label, meaning that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the drug for that purpose. Doctors can prescribe medications off-label if they believe it is in their patients’ best interest.

Effexor is used to treat:

  • Depression
  • General anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Hot flashes in postmenopausal women and women taking breast cancer medication
  • Migraines
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Muscle weakness in people with narcolepsy

If you have been injured by Effexor, if your baby was harmed by this dangerous medication, or if you have lost a loved one to the drug, please find an Effexor injury attorney in your area and schedule a consultation today.