Treatment-emergent anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia were more commonly reported for venlafaxine-treated patients compared to placebo-treated patients in a pooled analysis of short-term, double-blind, placebo-controlled depression studies:
Venlafaxine n = 1033
Placebo n = 609
Anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia led to drug discontinuation in 2%, 2%, and 3%, respectively, of the patients treated with venlafaxine in the Phase 2 and Phase 3 depression studies.
A dose-dependent weight loss was noted in patients treated with venlafaxine for several weeks. A loss of 5% or more of body weight occurred in 6% of patients treated with venlafaxine compared with 1% of patients treated with placebo and 3% of patients treated with another antidepressant. However, discontinuation for weight loss associated with venlafaxine was uncommon (0.1% of venlafaxine-treated patients in the Phase 2 and Phase 3 depression trials).
The safety and efficacy of venlafaxine therapy in combination with weight loss agents, including phentermine, have not been established. Coadministration of venlafaxine hydrochloride and weight loss agents is not recommended. Venlafaxine hydrochloride is not indicated for weight loss alone or in combination with other products.
Weight loss has been observed in pediatric patients (ages 6 to 17) receiving venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules. In a pooled analysis of four eight-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, flexible dose outpatient trials for major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsule-treated patients lost an average of 0.45 kg (n = 333), while placebo-treated patients gained an average of 0.77 kg (n = 333). More patients treated with venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules than with placebo experienced a weight loss of at least 3.5% in both the MDD and the GAD studies (18% of venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsule-treated patients vs. 3.6% of placebo-treated patients; p < 0.001). Weight loss was not limited to patients with treatment-emergent anorexia (see PRECAUTIONS, General, Changes in Appetite).
The risks associated with longer-term venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsule use were assessed in an open-label study of children and adolescents who received venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules for up to six months. The children and adolescents in the study had increases in weight that were less than expected based on data from age- and sex-matched peers. The difference between observed weight gain and expected weight gain was larger for children (< 12 years old) than for adolescents (> 12 years old).
During the eight-week placebo-controlled GAD studies, venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsule-treated patients (ages 6 to 17) grew an average of 0.3 cm (n = 122), while placebo-treated patients grew an average of 1.0 cm (n = 132); p = 0.041. This difference in height increase was most notable in patients younger than twelve. During the eight-week placebo-controlled MDD studies, venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsule-treated patients grew an average of 0.8 cm (n = 146), while placebo-treated patients grew an average of 0.7 cm (n = 147). In the six-month open-label study, children and adolescents had height increases that were less than expected based on data from age- and sex-matched peers. The difference between observed growth rates and expected growth rates was larger for children (< 12 years old) than for adolescents (> 12 years old).
Treatment-emergent anorexia was more commonly reported for venlafaxine-treated (11%) than placebo-treated patients (2%) in the pool of short-term, double-blind, placebo-controlled depression studies.
Decreased appetite has been observed in pediatric patients receiving venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules. In the placebo-controlled trials for GAD and MDD, 10% of patients aged 6 to 17 treated with venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules for up to eight weeks and 3% of patients treated with placebo reported treatment-emergent anorexia (decreased appetite). None of the patients receiving venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules discontinued for anorexia or weight loss.
During Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials, hypomania or mania occurred in 0.5% of patients treated with venlafaxine. Activation of mania/hypomania has also been reported in a small proportion of patients with major affective disorder who were treated with other marketed antidepressants. As with all antidepressants, venlafaxine hydrochloride should be used cautiously in patients with a history of mania.
Hyponatremia may occur as a result of treatment with SSRIs and SNRIs, including venlafaxine hydrochloride. In many cases, this hyponatremia appears to be the result of the syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH). Cases with serum sodium lower than 110 mmol/L have been reported. Elderly patients may be at greater risk of developing hyponatremia with SSRIs and SNRIs. Also, patients taking diuretics or who are otherwise volume depleted may be at greater risk (see PRECAUTIONS, Geriatric Use). Discontinuation of venlafaxine hydrochloride should be considered in patients with symptomatic hyponatremia and appropriate medical intervention should be instituted.
Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia include headache, difficulty concentrating, memory impairment, confusion, weakness, and unsteadiness, which may lead to falls. Signs and symptoms associated with more severe and/or acute cases have included hallucination, syncope, seizure, coma, respiratory arrest, and death.
During premarketing testing, seizures were reported in 0.26% (8/3082) of venlafaxine-treated patients. Most seizures (5 of 8) occurred in patients receiving doses of 150 mg/day or less. Venlafaxine hydrochloride should be used cautiously in patients with a history of seizures. It should be discontinued in any patient who develops seizures.
SSRIs and SNRIs, including venlafaxine hydrochloride, may increase the risk of bleeding events. Concomitant use of aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warfarin, and other anti-coagulants may add to this risk. Case reports and epidemiological studies (case-control and cohort design) have demonstrated an association between use of drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake and the occurrence of gastrointestinal bleeding. Bleeding events related to SSRIs and SNRIs use have ranged from ecchymoses, hematomas, epistaxis, and petechiae to life-threatening hemorrhages.
Patients should be cautioned about the risk of bleeding associated with the concomitant use of venlafaxine hydrochloride and NSAIDs, aspirin, or other drugs that affect coagulation.
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