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REPRESENTING VICTIMS OF DANGEROUS ANTIDEPRESSANTS

Effexor (venlafaxine) is an antidepressant medication manufactured by Wyeth (now Pfizer). Introduced in 1997, the drug is prescribed to treat major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorders. Effexor is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), not to be confused with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). In addition to preventing reabsorption of serotonin (increasing mood and feelings), SNRI antidepressants also stop norepinephrine reabsorption, which decreases stress.

However, Effexor is similar to SSRIs in that there are significant risks when taking the antidepressant. Side effects of Effexor include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Increased sweating
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Coughing or trouble breathing
  • Blurred vision or eye pain
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Insomnia

There are also many serious, potentially fatal side effects that Effexor can cause.

LINK BETWEEN SUICIDALITY AND ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has mandated that all antidepressant medications include a warning regarding the increased risk of suicidality. Like its SNRI and SSRI equals, Effexor has been linked to an increase in suicidal thoughts and behaviors, especially in children, adolescents, and young adults.

People taking Effexor are urged to watch for new or sudden changes in mood, behavior, actions or thoughts. Changes often occur during the beginning of an Effexor regimen or if the dosage was changed.

WHAT IS SEROTONIN SYNDROME?

Another similarity among antidepressant drugs is the increased risk of developing serotonin syndrome. This condition is caused by an abundance of serotonin in the brain, which can lead to severe and potentially fatal symptoms, including:

  • Confusion
  • Dilated pupils
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Shivering
  • High blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat

PFIZER RECALLS SEVERAL EFFEXOR LOTS DUE TO POTENTIAL PRESENCE OF HEART DRUG

In March 2014, Pfizer issued a voluntary recall of two lots of Effexor extended-release capsules and one lot of generic venlafaxine extended-release capsules. The recall was due to a discovery of a Tikosyn (dofetilide) capsule in a bottle of Effexor. Tikosyn is an antiarrhythmic drug used to treat irregular heartbeats, such as atrial fibrillation, and its use by an Effexor patient could have serious or potentially fatal adverse health consequences.

Approximately 65,800 bottles of the recalled Effexor were distributed to pharmacies across the United States.

BIRTH DEFECTS LINKED TO EFFEXOR ANTIDEPRESSANT MEDICATIONS

Effexor is no different than other SNRIs or SSRIs in that they have been linked to an increased risk of birth defects in newborns of women who took the drugs during pregnancy. In addition, newborns may experience a direct toxic effect from the antidepressants, through drug discontinuation syndrome, or from serotonin syndrome. Studies have suggested that taking antidepressants especially in the third trimester can have serious negative effects on the child.

HARMED BY EFFEXOR? CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED DANGEROUS DRUG ATTORNEY

There are a litany of problems that can arise from taking antidepressant drugs such as Effexor. If you or a loved one were injured after taking Effexor, you may be entitled to compensation. If your child was born with a birth injury or defect, you may be entitled to compensation to help your child lead a normal life. Let our experienced pharmaceutical litigation lawyers help you take on the drug companies. Contact Thomas J. Henry has the experience and legal resources necessary to develop your case. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends to provide you with a free consultation.

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