FDA Approves First Generic Effexor Extended Release Capsules to Treat Major Depressive Disorder
On June 28, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first generic version of Effexor XR capsules (venlafaxine hydrochloride) to treat major depressive disorder.
Venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules in 37.5 milligram, 75 milligram and 150 milligram strengths have been approved to be manufactured by TEVA Pharmaceuticals, North Wales, Pa.
"The approval of this widely used antidepressant is another example of the FDA's efforts to increase access to safe and effective generic drugs," said Keith Webber, Ph.D., deputy director of the Office of Pharmaceutical Science in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Access to treatments for depression is important because depression can interfere with a person's daily life and routine, which can significantly affect relationships with family and friends."
Symptoms of depression can include feelings of sadness, anxiety, emptiness, hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness or helplessness. Irritability and restlessness are also common symptoms of depression. Many people with depression lose interest in activities or hobbies and feel tired all the time.
The prescribing information (label) for the generic drug may differ from that of Effexor XR capsules because some uses of the drug and parts of the label are protected by patents and/or exclusivity held by the Effexor manufacturer, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Generic venlafaxine hydrochloride will have the same safety warnings as Effexor XR.
The drug has a boxed warning indicating that antidepressant medicines may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some children, teenagers, and young adults within the first few months of treatment. The warning also notes that depression and other serious mental illnesses are the most important causes of suicidal thoughts and actions. Some people may have a particularly high risk of having suicidal thoughts or actions. These include people who have or have a family history of bipolar illness (also called manic-depressive illness) or suicidal thoughts or actions.