Venlafaxine Hydrochloride (Page 10 of 13)

8.5 Geriatric Use

Approximately 4% (14/357) and 2% (6/277) of patients treated with venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules in placebo-controlled premarketing major depressive disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder trials, respectively, were 65 years of age or over. Of 2,897 patients treated with venlafaxine hydrochloride immediate-release tablets in premarketing phase major depressive disorder studies, 12% (357) were 65 years of age or over. No overall differences in effectiveness or safety were observed between geriatric patients and younger patients, and other reported clinical experience generally has not identified differences in response between the elderly and younger patients. However, greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out. SSRIs and SNRIs, including venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules have been associated with cases of clinically significant hyponatremia in elderly patients, who may be at greater risk for this adverse reaction [see Warnings and Precautions (5.12) ].

The pharmacokinetics of venlafaxine and ODV are not substantially altered in the elderly [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3) ]. No dose adjustment is recommended for the elderly on the basis of age alone, although other clinical circumstances, some of which may be more common in the elderly, such as renal or hepatic impairment, may warrant a dose reduction [see Dosage and Administration (2.3) ].

8.6 Patients with Hepatic Impairment

In patients with cirrhosis of the liver, the clearances of venlafaxine and its active metabolite (ODV) were decreased, thus prolonging the elimination half-lives of these substances. A large degree of intersubject variability was noted. [See Clinical Pharmacology (12.3).] A lower dose and individualization of dosing may be necessary [see Dosage and Administration (2.3) ]. Venlafaxine Extended-Release Tablets, like all drugs effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder, should be used with caution in such patients.

8.7 Patients with Renal Impairment

In patients with renal impairment (GFR = 10 to 70 mL/min), the clearances of venlafaxine and its active metabolites were decreased, thus prolonging the elimination half-lives of these substances [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3) ]. It is recommended that the total daily dose be reduced by 25% to 50% in patients with renal impairment. Because there was much individual variability in clearance between patients with renal impairment, individualization of dosage may be desirable in some patients. In patients undergoing hemodialysis, it is recommended that the total daily dose be reduced by 50%. [See Dosage and Administration (2.3).] Venlafaxine Extended Release Tablets, like all drugs effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder, should be used with caution in such patients.


9.1 Controlled Substance

Venlafaxine Extended Release Tablets (venlafaxine hydrochloride) are not a controlled substance.

9.2 Abuse

While venlafaxine has not been systematically studied in clinical trials for its potential for abuse, there was no indication of drug-seeking behavior in the clinical trials. However, it is not possible to predict on the basis of premarketing experience the extent to which a CNS active drug will be misused, diverted, and/or abused once marketed. Consequently, physicians should carefully evaluate patients for history of drug abuse and follow such patients closely, observing them for signs of misuse or abuse of venlafaxine (e.g., development of tolerance, incrementations of dose, drug-seeking behavior).

9.3 Dependence

In vitro studies revealed that venlafaxine has virtually no affinity for opiate, benzodiazepine, phencyclidine (PCP), or N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptors.

Venlafaxine was not found to have any significant CNS stimulant activity in rodents. In primate drug discrimination studies, venlafaxine showed no significant stimulant or depressant abuse liability.

Discontinuation effects have been reported in patients receiving venlafaxine [see Dosage and Administration (2.4) and Warnings and Precautions (5.6)].


10.1 Human Experience

Among the patients included in the premarketing evaluation of venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules, there were 2 reports of acute overdosage with venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules in major depressive disorder trials, either alone or in combination with other drugs. One patient took a combination of 6 g of venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules and 2.5 mg of lorazepam. This patient was hospitalized, treated symptomatically, and recovered without any untoward effects. The other patient took 2.85 g of venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules. This patient reported paresthesia of all four limbs but recovered without sequelae.

There were no reports of acute overdose with venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules in Social Anxiety Disorder trials.

Among the patients included in the premarketing evaluation with venlafaxine hydrochloride immediate-release tablets, there were 14 reports of acute overdose with venlafaxine, either alone or in combination with other drugs and/or alcohol. The majority of the reports involved ingestion in which the total dose of venlafaxine taken was estimated to be no more than several-fold higher than the usual therapeutic dose. The 3 patients who took the highest doses were estimated to have ingested approximately 6.75 g, 2.75 g, and 2.5 g. The resultant peak plasma levels of venlafaxine for the latter 2 patients were 6.24 and 2.35 µg/mL, respectively, and the peak plasma levels of O-desmethylvenlafaxine were 3.37 and 1.30 µg/mL, respectively. Plasma venlafaxine levels were not obtained for the patient who ingested 6.75 g of venlafaxine. All 14 patients recovered without sequelae. Most patients reported no symptoms. Among the remaining patients, somnolence was the most commonly reported symptom. The patient who ingested 2.75 g of venlafaxine was observed to have 2 generalized convulsions and a prolongation of QTc to 500 msec, compared with 405 msec at baseline. Mild sinus tachycardia was reported in 2 of the other patients.

In postmarketing experience, overdose with venlafaxine has occurred predominantly in combination with alcohol and/or other drugs. The most commonly reported reactions in overdosage include tachycardia, changes in level of consciousness (ranging from somnolence to coma), mydriasis, seizures, and vomiting. Electrocardiogram changes (e.g., prolongation of QT interval, bundle branch block, QRS prolongation), ventricular tachycardia, bradycardia, hypotension, rhabdomyolysis, vertigo, liver necrosis, serotonin syndrome, and death have been reported.

Published retrospective studies report that venlafaxine overdosage may be associated with an increased risk of fatal outcomes compared to that observed with SSRI antidepressant products, but lower than that for tricyclic antidepressants. Epidemiological studies have shown that venlafaxine-treated patients have a higher pre-existing burden of suicide risk factors than SSRI-treated patients. The extent to which the finding of an increased risk of fatal outcomes can be attributed to the toxicity of venlafaxine in overdosage as opposed to some characteristic(s) of venlafaxine-treated patients is not clear. Prescriptions for Venlafaxine Extended Release Tablets should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose.

10.2 Management of Overdosage

Treatment should consist of those general measures employed in the management of overdosage with any antidepressant.

Ensure an adequate airway, oxygenation, and ventilation. Monitor cardiac rhythm and vital signs. General supportive and symptomatic measures are also recommended. Induction of emesis is not recommended. Gastric lavage with a large bore orogastric tube with appropriate airway protection, if needed, may be indicated if performed soon after ingestion or in symptomatic patients.

Activated charcoal should be administered. Due to the large volume of distribution of this drug, forced diuresis, dialysis, hemoperfusion, and exchange transfusion are unlikely to be of benefit. No specific antidotes for venlafaxine are known.

In managing overdosage, consider the possibility of multiple drug involvement. The physician should consider contacting a poison control center for additional information on the treatment of any overdose. Telephone numbers for certified poison control centers are listed in the Physicians’ Desk Reference ® (PDR).


Venlafaxine Extended Release Tablets (venlafaxine hydrochloride) are extended-release tablets for oral administration that contain venlafaxine hydrochloride, a structurally novel antidepressant. Venlafaxine hydrochloride is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). It is designated (R/S)-1-[2-(dimethylamino)-1-(4-methoxyphenyl)ethyl] cyclohexanol hydrochloride or (±)-1-[α- [(dimethylamino)methyl]-p-methoxybenzyl] cyclohexanol hydrochloride and has the empirical formula of C17 H27 NO2 HCl. Its molecular weight is 313.87. The structural formula is shown below.

Chemical Structure
(click image for full-size original)

Venlafaxine hydrochloride

Venlafaxine hydrochloride

Venlafaxine hydrochloride is a white to off-white crystalline solid with a solubility of 572 mg/mL in water (adjusted to ionic strength of 0.2 M with sodium chloride). Its octanol:water (0.2 M sodium chloride) partition coefficient is 0.43. Venlafaxine Extended Release Tablets are formulated as extended-release tablet for once-a-day oral administration. Venlafaxine Extended Release Tablets use osmotic pressure to deliver venlafaxine hydrochloride at a controlled rate over approximately 24 hours. The system, which resembles a conventional tablet in appearance, comprises an osmotically active core surrounded by a semipermeable membrane. The unitary tablet core is composed of the drug and excipients (including the osmotically active components). There is a precision-laser drilled orifice in the semipermeable membrane on the side of the tablet. In an aqueous environment, such as the gastrointestinal tract, water permeates through the membrane into the tablet core, causing the drug to dissolve and the osmotic components to expand. This expansion pushes the drug out through the orifice. The semipermeable membrane controls the rate at which water permeates into the tablet core, which in turn controls the rate of drug delivery. The controlled rate of drug delivery into the gastrointestinal lumen is thus independent of pH or gastrointestinal motility. The function of Venlafaxine Extended Release Tablets depends on the existence of an osmotic gradient between the contents of the core and the fluid in the gastrointestinal tract. Since the osmotic gradient remains constant, drug delivery remains essentially constant.

The biologically inert components of the tablet remain intact during gastrointestinal transit and are eliminated in the feces as an insoluble shell.

Tablets contain venlafaxine hydrochloride equivalent to 37.5 mg, 75 mg, 150 mg, or 225 mg venlafaxine. Inactive ingredients consist of mannitol, povidone, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, colloidal silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, cellulose acetate, hypromellose, lactose, titanium dioxide, triacetin, black iron oxide, and propylene glycol.

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