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How Effexor Works with Panic Disorders

Almost 7 million people in the United States, or nearly 3 percent of the population, are affected by panic disorder. Women are more likely than men to have panic disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Panic attacks can occur at any time of the day or night, and they may cause some people to avoid daily activities, such as going to work or school. Some people who are affected by panic attacks do not tell their doctor out of fear as being labeled a hypochondriac.

However, panic disorder is very treatable, and those who use Effexor to treat it experience a much-reduced rate of relapse. Keep reading to learn about how Effexor works with panic disorders.

What Is Effexor and How Does It Work?

Effexor is the brand name of venlafaxine, which is no longer sold in the United States, per Everyday Health. Effexor XR, the extended-release form of Effexor, is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRIs) antidepressant, and it is sold in the U.S. The prescription drug affects chemicals in the brain that could be unbalanced in people with depression. An SNRI works by increasing the brain’s levels of serotonin and norepinephrine. These are neurotransmitters that act together to brighten mood and relieve anxiety.

A study found that Effexor XR was more effective than a placebo in both long- and short-term treatments of panic disorder. It also resulted in significantly reduced relapse rates. The drug may start working within the first two weeks by improving energy, sleep, and appetite. If these changes are noticed, it is a good sign that the drug is working. Still, it may take longer for the symptoms of depression or panic disorder to be eased.

What Is Panic Disorder?

Panic disorder happens when a person experiences unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear. Physical symptoms of these episodes may include sweating, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or nausea. It is also common to fear that future episodes may occur.

The American Academy of Family Physicians states that panic disorder is diagnosed when a patient experiences recurring, unexpected panic attacks and relays at least one of the following characteristics:

  1. Persistent concern about having another attack
  2. Worrying about the implications of an attack or its consequences
  3. Experiences a significant change in behavior related to the attacks (for example: avoiding daily activities such as work)

Panic Disorder Signs or Symptoms

The signs or symptoms of a panic disorder, as noted by the Mayo Clinic, may include:

  • A sense of impending doom or danger
  • A fear of loss of control or death
  • Having a pounding or rapid heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Having shortness of breath or tightness in the throat
  • Having the chills
  • Having hot flashes
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Having abdominal cramping
  • Experiencing chest pain
  • Having a headache
  • Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or feeling faint.
  • Having a numbness or tingling sensation
  • Experiencing a feeling of unreality or detachment

Effexor XR, the formulation sold in the U.S., comes with side effects that some people taking the drug might experience. These are:

  • An abnormal lack of energy (asthenia)
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Decreased appetite or anorexia
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blurry vision, visual disturbance
  • Hypertension
  • Unable to experience orgasm despite ample sexual stimulation (anorgasmia)
  • Delayed ejaculation, impotence
  • Tremors

How Effexor Works with Panic Disorder

Effexor XR is an SSRI and a norepinephrine medication. Both of the neurotransmitters, serotonin, and norepinephrine, are considered to be linked to panic disorder, as both play an essential role in the regulation of specific functions and emotions that affect panic disorder.

Serotonin is thought to be connected to mood and sleep. Norepinephrine is thought to be responsible for how someone reacts to stress and anxiety. Since the drug contains medication that regulates these functions, it helps to alleviate panic attacks by reducing the feelings of anxiety and improves a person’s mood.

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If you or someone you know is experiencing recurring panic attacks, they may have panic disorder. A doctor can diagnose it and prescribe Effexor if it is the right medication to use.

Sources

Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Facts. Retrieved from https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

Everyday Health. (2014, November 5) Venlafaxine. Halperin, K. Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/effexor#basics

Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management. (2007, March 3) Kjernisted, K., McIntosh, D. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1936289/

American Academy of Family Physicians. University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. (1998, May 15) Saeed, S.A., M.D., Bruce, T. Retrieved from https://www.aafp.org/afp/1998/0515/p2405.html

Mayo Clinic. (2018, May 4) Panic attacks and panic disorder. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/panic-attacks/symptoms-causes/syc-20376021

verywellmind. (2020, March 23) Taking SNRIs for Treating Panic Disorder. How They Work in Treating Anxiety and Panic Disorders. Star, K., Ph.D. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/serotonin-and-norepinephrine-reuptake-inhibitors-snris-2584366

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