April 3rd, 2014

pharm: handful a day keep docs at bay

Depressing Antidepressants: Pfizer Recalls Effexor

In this morning's medical news, Pfizer has issued a nationwide recall of Effexor/venlafaxine (a SSRI or SNRI), because a drug used for heart arrhythmias has shown up in somebody's bottle. The two drugs are packaged on the same line, suggesting to me that the pills are of a similar size and shape, and perhaps a pill or two could get stuck inside the machines and rattle out into the next batch being bottled.

But the hazards of taking drugs for depression are much broader than that. The pills themselves could have ingredients that aren't desirable. The drugs could have side effects that we don't understand yet. The drug companies could know about possible side effects but keep that information hidden to protect sales. They're recalling these three batches because accidental ingestion of the heart drug could kill someone. If it just make you a little sick, or did something that wasn't traceable to them, do you think they'd recall product? Or that doctors would stop prescribing them?

One glance at the list of adverse effects given on the wikipedia page for Venlafaxine will boggle your brain. There are a lot. These occur in over 10% of people taking the drug: headache esp when you start taking the drug, or increase the dose, nauseam insomnia, weakness, dizziness, trouble climaxing, sleepiness, drymouth and sweating. And these are a little less common: constipation, nervousness, abnormal vision, anorgasmia, hypertension, impotence, paresthesia, tremor, vasodilation, vomiting, suicide attempts, bruxism, so many more. The list is too long to reproduce here.


Lot #V130142 and V130140, both expire 10/2015
Greenstone lot #V130014, exp 8/2015.

you feel faint, get dizzy, pass out, or have a very fast heartbeat