Venlafaxine is an anti-depressant of the SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) class. It works primarily by altering chemical levels in the brain that may become unbalanced thereby causing depression.
Marketed under the brand name Effexor it is administered as an extended-release capsule containing venlafaxine hydrochloride. As well as being prescribed for depression it is also used to treat anxiety and panic disorders.
In 2007, it was the sixth most commonly prescribed drug for depressive problems. According to Wolters Kluwer Health, sales of venlafaxine hydrochloride reached roughly US$880 million in the period 2011-2012.
Venlafaxine has the empirical formula C17H27NO2. It is either a white or off-white crystalline sold that is structurally and pharmacologically similar to the opioid analgesic tramadol.
Today numerous pharmaceutical companies manufacture Venlafaxine as a generic drug. It has been available generically in the U.S. since August 2006, and in Canada since December 2006 because of patent expiry. Studies have highlighted that the extended release version results in fewer patients suffering from nausea and therefore fewer discontinuing the drug. Wyeth sells venlafaxine XR under the trade name Efexor-XR in Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland.
Other manufacturers of the extended release venlafaxine include: TAPI, Cobalt Pharmaceuticals Inc., Genpharm, Medley, Osmotica Pharmaceuticals, Laboratoire Riva Inc., Novopharm Limited, Pharmascience Inc., Ratiopharm, Sandoz, Cipla Medpro, Pharmadynamics and IntelliPharmaCeutics.
For those of you that want to learn more about the drug itself, we recommend reading the Venlafaxine page on Mayo Clinic’s Website.