OT: New Warning on Effexor Overdoses (IMPORTANT)

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by kjfms, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. kjfms

    kjfms Member

    Original page:

    New Warning on Effexor Overdoses

    Reported Overdoses Mainly Seen When Taken With Alcohol or Other Drugs

    By Miranda Hitti

    WebMD Medical News

    Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD on Wednesday, October 25, 2006

    Oct. 25, 2006 -- The antidepressant drug Effexor has new labeling about reported overdoses, mainly when the drug is taken with alcohol and/or other drugs.

    The label notes published studies showing that Effexor's risk of fatal overdoses may be higher than the class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

    The label also notes that the fatal-overdose risk is lower than that of older depressiondepression drugs called tricyclic antidepressants.

    SSRIs include Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, and Zoloft. Tricyclic antidepressants include Elavil and Norpramin.

    News about the new labeling comes from the FDA and Wyeth, the drug company that makes Effexor.

    Wyeth sent doctors a letter dated Oct. 17 about the label changes. That letter is posted on the FDA's web site.

    The label changes also apply to Effexor's extended-release version, Effexor XR.

    Overdose Effects

    Wyeth's letter states that the most commonly reported Effexor overdose effects include fast heart rate, changes in consciousness (ranging from sleepiness to coma), seizuresseizures, vomiting, and eye pupil dilation.

    The letter also notes that death, electrocardiogram (EKG) changes, slow heart rhythms, low blood pressurelow blood pressure, vertigovertigo, toxic buildup of chemicals from dying muscle cells, and liver cell death have also been reported with Effexor overdoses.

    Wyeth's letter doesn't mention how many reports it has gotten of Effexor overdoses or how many of those overdoses were fatal.

    In the letter, Wyeth notes that the studies showing higher risk of fatal overdoses with Effexor compared with SSRIs (and lower risk compared with tricyclic antidepressants) don't show whether those patterns were due to Effexor or to some other factor.

    Wyeth's letter also states that "all antidepressants have a potential risk of fatal outcome in overdoses."

    The drug company recommends that doctors prescribe Effexor in "the smallest quantity of the drug consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose."

    Wyeth is a WebMD sponsor.


    SOURCES: News release, FDA. Wyeth letter, "Dear Health Care Provider," Oct. 17, 2006. WebMD Medical Reference from "Making the Antidepressant Decision." WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise: "Tricyclic and Tetracyclic Antidepressants for Depression," "Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors," "Rhabdomyolysis."

  2. KateMac329

    KateMac329 New Member

    Thanks for the info!

    Bumping for others to see!!! Have a wonderful night!

  3. kjfms

    kjfms Member

    I hope you are doing well.

    Thanks so much for the bump,

    Karen :)
  4. fivesue

    fivesue New Member

    Just another reason I'm so glad to be off these meds.

    Thank you for posting. You keep us so aware.

  5. kjfms

    kjfms Member

    Hi Sue,

    Thank you -- we have to look out for each other don't we?

    Something that really irritates me is the fact that the FDA sends out letters to physicians stating these facts and the physicians fail to inform the patients.

    In my opinion the physician should instruct their staff to send letters to all patients on these drugs that are getting updated warnings.

    It seems pretty simple to me. Every patient has an updated list of medicines in their chart.

    With more physician offices going to electronic medical records (EMR) it is just a matter of cross referencing the Effexor or whatever medication in question to the patient and printing out address labels and forms letters and mailing them.

    OK sure it would take some extra time at first but once a system is in place it would be rather simple and then maybe there would not be such a problem that there is with medication misinformation in this country -- well it would be a start anyway...LOL

    I mean really -- physician's do need to keep better updated -- good grief I wish the clinic I work for would let me use the reference material that is loaded on the physician's computers I would love it but hey I only transcribe their dictated reports not very important...

    OK I will shut up now :)

    Take care,

    Karen :)
  6. NancyMystic

    NancyMystic New Member

    Don't you dare shut up. I find your informative posts interesting and helpful.

    That's a great idea - actually having the doctor take responsibility for informing the patient as to dangers of the drug he's prescribed.

    A novel idea, for a doctor to actually consider pre-emptive prevention measures that might protect the patient!

  7. kjfms

    kjfms Member

    Hi Nancy:

    What a nice thing to say I really appreciate it. I get started sometimes and my frustration of the medical community comes out.

    Having worked in medical coding and now in medical transcription I see too much of what goes on behind the scenes as it were...LOL

    Basically just about everything comes back to the physician's responsibility and with some of them -- well it just makes you wonder.

    I am not saying all physicians are bad I really think the majority are good. The amount of responsibility physicians have is unreal but they knew that when they chose their career didn't?

    I -- for the most part -- have been rather lucky when it comes to my physicians.

    Some of the stories here have made me so outraged that I have been for a loss for words and in shock at how some physicians treat patients.

    It just really burns my butt that physicians are being sent this information by the FDA and yet so many of seem to do absolutely nothing with it.

    I mean really -- are they just tossing these FDA Warnings in the trash or what?

    I feel when these warnings come out and they do not inform patients -- who THEY prescribed these medications -- they [physicians] should answer for their negligence.

    This is life and death and physicians should take action when the FDA sends these warnings to them.

    I would be very interested to know if anyone here has had their physician to contact them concern the Effexor warnings?

    I have a friend who takes Effexor and she knew nothing of the FDA Warning until I told her -- she has head nothing from her physician...

    You know Nancy it is funny before I went back to school for Medical Information several years ago I had a lot of respect of the medical community -- yep I had blinders on -- having worked in the medical community for several years now I have lost a lot of that respect.

    I do feel rather sad about at times but I am glad that my eyes were opened...LOL

    Take care,

    Karen :)
  8. NancyMystic

    NancyMystic New Member

    I work with many doctors and health professionals, and even in our field there seems to be those still out there who strain to hold on to the "dr knows best" belief.

    Some doctors do take steps to keep themselves responsible and educated. Far too many still don't bother.

    Most of the folks I work with hope against hope that our health care system will eventually rise to the occasion.


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