Venlafaxine is one of a group of antidepressants called serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, also called SNRIs. These medicines increase levels of mood-enhancing chemicals called serotonin and norepinephrine. Venlafaxine is an antidepressant that affects unbalanced chemicals in the brain.
Venlafaxine is also known as Effexor and Effexor XR. Effexor is made by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993. Effexor was discontinued from marketing due to the severe nauseating effects. Effexor XR is still available by prescription and was continued as it was less nauseating and could be taken once a day.
It typically takes 4 to 6 weeks for venlafaxine to work effectively. However, it may take 1 to 2 weeks to show results in better sleep, appetite, and energy.
Antidepressants such as Zoloft, Prozac, Wellbutrin, and others can cause side effects such as weight gain. According to a study by SSRI, antidepressant use increases weight if the patient’s lifestyle is improper, and the more you use them, the more weight you’ll gain.(Gupta, S., 2002)
How Does Venlafaxine Work?
It works by increasing the levels of mood-enhancing chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine which help maintain mental balance.
Who Can Use Venlafaxine?
Venlafaxine can be taken by adults for depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. It is only prescribed for those who are 18 years and older.
Venlafaxine can be consumed once or twice a day. It’s best to take with food so that it doesn’t make you feel nauseous. It should not be consumed with alcohol as it may result in increased sedation.
It comes in tablets and capsules form. The usual starting dose of venlafaxine is 75mg per day which can be gradually increased to 375mg. The doctor may prescribe a lower dose if the patient has problems with the liver and kidney. Only use the right amount of dose prescribed by your doctor.
Some Side Effects Of Venlafaxine Include.
- Weight Gain
- Weight Loss
- Loss of Strength
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Muscle stiffness
- Skin rash
How Does Venlafaxine Cause Weight Gain?
Like all medicines, venlafaxine may cause side effects in some people. Approximately 1 in 100 people may have serious side effects when on Venlafaxine. Weight gain is one of the primary reasons people stay away from antidepressants, also known as “mood-enhancing” drugs. Many clinical trials have shown weight gain directly associated with the intake of Venlafaxine.
In one study, more than 55 percent of patients using Venlafaxine gained weight at least 7 percent or more weight in a treatment that lasted between 6 to 36 months. Most of these patients found it challenging to lose the gained weight as a result of the treatment even after discontinuing the use of antidepressants.
Other studies also have reported similar results, where SNRIs have contributed to weight gain. This can be caused due to increased cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods and an increase in appetite, which can gradually increase weight. However, it does not significantly affect blood sugar levels. Venlafaxine can stimulate your appetite and can significantly impact weight.
You can gain weight due to other factors as well, such as insomnia which can be caused by Venlafaxine.
Some people may feel a decrease in appetite when on antidepressants, which may lead to weight loss.
How Can You Avoid Weight Gain From Venlafaxine?
Eating a Healthy Diet.
One of the most important factors beneficial for weight loss is eating healthy food. Having various foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat items, and enough protein, is essential to stay healthy and fit.
Working out daily can boost your metabolism and burn excess calories, which help in losing weight.
Getting Plenty Of Sleep.
Having 7 to 8 hours of sound sleep is essential for the mind and body to reset the daily schedule. Sleeping well has proven benefits of a healthy mental and physical being.
Consult Your Doctor.
Every patient treated with antidepressants must consult their doctor if the symptoms are worsening or have suicidal tendencies. Getting proper treatment is essential to good health both mentally and physically.
By using the mentioned tactics we can try to stop or minimize the effects of antidepressants like Venlafaxine on our weight.(Ken nedy, S.N.H. and Bagby, R.M.C., 2002)