If you or a loved one live with fibromyalgia, then you are no stranger to the litany of symptoms that plague us. And finding relief from the pain is only one of the challenges we face. All of us deal with seemingly random and disconnected symptoms. One day, they will figure out exactly what causes this horrific affliction and we’ll understand it so much better. For now, though, we also have to deal with chronic fatigue, memory and cognition problems, mood issues, and the one that makes it all worse: sleep problems. Then there’s the extras like headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and depression. Any one of these symptoms is enough by itself, but combine any or all of them, and it just feels like your life is slipping away. Quality of life: zero.
So if you have found a good physician to help treat your fibro symptoms, it is probably no surprise if she suggested a prescription antidepressant. Not only do they treat depression and some anxiety, they also often treat several fibromyalgia symptoms simultaneously. In fact, some of you may already use one such antidepressants called Effexor (Venlafaxine). Has taking Effexor for fibromyalgia worked for you?
What exactly is Effexor for fibromyalgia?
So, Effexor is usually prescribed by doctors for issues such as major depressive disorder, anxiety, and panic disorders. It has been put in a relatively newer classification of antidepressant known as SSNRIs or SNRIs. Those acronyms stand for Selective Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors.
This family of antidepressants is considered highly potent. And as their classification suggests, they act upon both serotonin and norepinephrine within the brain. What does that mean? Well, those are both neurotransmitters or chemical messengers that are used to communicate between the brain cells. In an average human, the body will produce the neurotransmitters which are gradually absorbed within the brain through an “reuptake” process. This process is the reabsorption of a neurotransmitter by a neurotransmitter. For some people, however, this interaction doesn’t work the way it should. Interestingly enough, those who suffer from fibromyalgia also have significant problems where neurotransmitters are concerned.
So a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor such as Effexor forces serotonin and norepinephrine to stay in the brain until the brain has no choice but the process them properly. You see, normally the brain will simply recycle chemicals that it isn’t using. But if the brain does not effectively absorb the neurotransmitters produced by their body, then the brain will not really be able to benefit from those substances. This is often what is happening in the brains and bodies of people with depression, anxiety, and fibromyalgia.
Are there side effects when you take Effexor for fibromyalgia?
You bet! However, Effexor for fibromyalgia has been shown to be effective in treating many of the common symptoms of fibromyalgia. Of course, you should always consult your physician before taking any prescription, especially one that acts so powerfully upon the functioning of the brain. It is also extremely important to inform your doctor or healthcare practitioner of any medications and other health supplements you consume, regardless of how often. Even natural herbs can create an unwanted interaction with your prescription.
Possible side effects of Effexor for fibromyalgia include but are not limited to:
- High blood pressure
- Severe headaches
- Blurry vision
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Chest pain
- Changes in heartbeat
- Mood changes
- Suicidal thoughts
Extremely rare side effects of Effexor for fibromyalgia can consist of incontrollable actions, high fever, changes in menstrual cycle, fluctuations in blood pressure, convulsions, lightheadedness/fainting, irritability, itching/rash, difficulty breathing, difficulty with urination, and pale skin.
It is also important to know that SSNRIs/SNRIs come with their own side effects in general. No two people will experience the same side effects (if they even experience any at all), but possibilities include:
- Loss of appetite, weight, and sleep
- Suicidal thoughts
- Urinary difficulties
- Sexual dysfunction
- Heart and blood pressure problems
As with any drug, there can certainly be problems associated. But they can also provide a great deal of relief to your fibromyalgia symptoms. For some, the benefits outweigh the risks or felt side effects. For others, it works wonders with no side effects at all. And for others still, it doesn’t make any difference. It just comes down to quality of life. No two people are exactly the same, nor do they share the same experiences. And that applies to any person with fibromyalgia as well. What works great for me could possibly make other symptoms worse for you. Having fibromyalgia involves a lot of trial and error.
Have you had success with Effexor for fibromyalgia? Did it help or make any symptoms worse? Tell us about it!