Effexor is a an antidepressant that has been on the market since 1993. It is a member of the SNRI class of antidepressants (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). In addition to major depression, Effexor XR is approved by the U.S. FDA to treat generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. It is one of the more commonly prescribed antidepressants in the U.S., coming in at number 25 on Drug Topics' Top 200 branded drugs by total prescriptions in 2010.
Effexor XR is available in three different strengths: 37.5 mg, 75 mg, and 150 mg. According to the information provided by the manufacturer, the typical starting dose for generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder is 75 mg, while the starting dose for panic disorder is usually 37.5 mg.
The most common side effects of Effexor are nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, insomnia, constipation, nervousness, loss of appetite, sexual side effects, sleepiness, sweating, and weakness. Many people report discontinuation or withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug, which is something to keep in mind before beginning a course of treatment or before stopping treatment abruptly.