According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately one in five American adults are mentally ill. This breaks down to approximately 51 million Americans suffering from mental illness in 2019. Of these mentally ill Americans, approximately 13% of them take antidepressants regularly according to the CDC. One of the many antidepressants on the market is Effexor, but not everyone wants to rely on antidepressants like this one forever. Many people who are withdrawing from the drug end up wondering: how long does it take for Effexor to get out of your system?
Houston defective drug attorneys at Reich & Binstock take pride in discovering all the latest pharmaceutical injuries and recalls in order to protect our clients. If you’ve suffered life-threatening injuries from Effexor or any other drug, call us today at 713-622-7271 for a free consultation.
What is Effexor?
Effexor is a type of serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) that generally treats depression, anxiety, and panic disorders. The FDA originally approved the antidepressant in 1993 to treat major depressive disorder.
SNRIs vs. SSRIs
There are many different types of antidepressants on the market that can treat almost any mental disorder. There are five main classes of antidepressants: SNRIs, SSRIs, TCAs, MAOIs, and atypical. The two most common classes of antidepressants are SNRIs and SSRIs. But what’s the difference between the two?
SNRIs prevent the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. Meanwhile, SSRIs only prevent the reuptake of serotonin. Basically, serotonin and norepinephrine are two kinds of neurotransmitters that can create feelings of happiness and relaxation. Scientists believe that maintaining healthy serotonin levels can alleviate depression and anxiety. Additionally, scientists believe that increasing norepinephrine levels can relieve neuropathic pain.
Common SNRIs and Their Side Effects
Pristiq, Cymbalta, Savella, Fetzima, and Effexor are all common types of SNRIs. These types of antidepressants can cause a wide variety of side effects such as:
- Dry mouth
- Excess sweating
- Sexual dysfunction, low libido
- Loss of appetite
- Physical weakness
Common SSRIs and Their Side Effects
Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Zoloft, Luvox, and Paxil are all common types of SSRIs. These types of antidepressants can cause these side effects:
- Insomnia or changes in sleep patterns
- Strange dreams
- Sexual dysfunction, low libido
- Sinus infections and sore throat
- Excess sweating
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain or loss
Conditions that SNRIs and SSRIs Can Treat
SNRIs and SSRIs can treat a variety of mental illnesses, including:
- Types of depression such as major depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder, and depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder
- Types of anxiety such as generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and phobias
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Suicidal ideation and thoughts of self-harm
- Types of chronic pain including fibromyalgia
Why Was Effexor Discontinued in the U.S.?
The first version of Effexor was later discontinued in the United States because it required patients to take multiple doses every day. Additionally, the older version of Effexor allegedly caused severe nausea. The newer version of the drug, Effexor XR, was FDA approved in 1997. The XR version is a single daily dose that causes less nausea.
Side Effects of Effexor Abuse
Doctors and scientists consider SNRIs and SSRIs to be generally non-addictive. However, it’s still possible to develop a serious dependence on any type of drug through misuse. Antidepressants won’t cause a high like other drugs. But people can abuse antidepressants by taking them whenever they need a mood boost instead of taking them as directed by their doctor. People who suffer from severe mental illness or who have a history of substance abuse are more likely to abuse antidepressants like Effexor.
Physical Side Effects
Those who purposely abuse Effexor will certainly experience more severe side effects than if they were taking the drug as directed. Physical side effects of Effexor abuse include:
- Stomach pain and cramping
- Nausea and vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms such as chills, sweating, muscle aches, headache, and fatigue
- Low libido
Psychological Side Effects
Psychological side effects of Effexor abuse include:
- Severe panic attacks
- Memory loss
- Vivid dreams
- Euphoria or mania
- Aggressive behavior
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
- Self-harming behaviors
Signs of an Effexor Addiction
If you suspect that someone in your life is suffering from any kind of drug abuse, including Effexor abuse, these are the signs to look out for.
- Taking too much Effexor multiple times a day
- Blatantly ignoring doctor instructions about Effexor dose
- Having multiple doctors in order to get more Effexor prescriptions
- Creating symptoms just to receive more Effexor from a doctor
- Having intense withdrawal symptoms after going a few hours without taking Effexor
- Struggling to stop Effexor overuse
- Craving Effexor all day
- Losing interest in daily activities and hobbies due to Effexor overuse
- Suffering psychological, physical, financial, and social consequences due to Effexor overuse
- Struggling to function every day without Effexor
Effexor Withdrawal Symptoms
Anyone who takes antidepressants for years, even if they take the drug as directed, will likely experience withdrawal symptoms once they stop the drug. Doctors generally call this Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome. People who experience this syndrome will generally have flu-like symptoms, brain zaps, nausea, insomnia, dizziness, loss of coordination, irritability, and more.
Effexor withdrawal will certainly produce the same symptoms, but the severity of the symptoms will depend on if the drug was abused or not. If you or someone you love is withdrawing from Effexor after abusing the drug, they shouldn’t do it alone. They should undergo a medical detox with professional help because it can prevent future relapse.
How Long Does it Take for Effexor to Get Out of Your System?
If you want to stop relying on antidepressants, you may be asking yourself: how long does it take for Effexor to get out of your system? The answer to this depends on individual body composition, genetics, and a drug’s approximate half-life. Effexor has an incredibly short half-life of about 5 hours. Basically, this means that if you took 100mg of Effexor at 10am, you would have about 50mg left in your system by the time 3pm rolled around. At 8pm, you would have about 25mg left in your system, and so on. So Effexor might be completely out of your system in two to three days.
It’s important to note that just because Effexor can completely leave your system within a couple days, that doesn’t mean you’ll stop having withdrawal symptoms by that time. Most people who experience Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome will have uncomfortable symptoms for two to three weeks. Symptoms generally peak within the first week or so. Occasionally, some people won’t feel normal again until several months later.
Effexor Addiction Treatment
It’s completely possible and safe to withdraw from antidepressants at home if the person had never abused them. But it’s important for those who abused antidepressants to undergo rehabilitation in order to maintain sobriety following detox. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it’s crucial for patients to undergo addiction treatment that lasts at least 90 days. Treatment that’s shorter than that time period could result in quicker relapse. Listed below is what to expect if you or someone you love will be undergoing addiction treatment:
- Learning general information about addiction and the recovery process
- Practicing daily skills that will support life-long recovery and sobriety
- Establishing a solid support system of friends and family who will undoubtedly hold you accountable
- Learning how spot and cope with triggers
- Working through a specific recovery plan or program
- Attending frequent therapy sessions
- Learning relapse prevention strategies
People who are recovering from drug abuse can benefit from both inpatient and outpatient therapy, depending on their specific needs and financial situation.
The main difference between inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation is that inpatient requires the person to live at a facility during recovery. Inpatient rehabilitation requires patients to follow a strict daily schedule of activities, meetings, and therapy sessions.
If a patient chooses outpatient therapy, they can live at home while attending frequent therapy sessions and completing a recovery plan. Outpatient may be cheaper compared to inpatient depending on your health insurance and where you live.
Call Reich & Binstock Today
If you or someone you love has suffered tremendously due to Effexor or any other antidepressant, you deserve compensation and justice. Experienced defective drug attorneys at Reich & Binstock can help you receive the best outcome possible for your case. Call us today at 713-622-7271 for a free consultation.