Can You Open Effexor XR Capsules?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not it is safe to open Effexor XR capsules.

Question

Hello. I taking Effexor XR. Can I open these and sprinkle them on something?

Asked by Angela On Sep 01, 2022

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published Sep 01, 2022
Last updated Sep 01, 2022

Key points

  • Effexor XR capsules can safely be opened, and the contents sprinkled onto applesauce (or similar food) for immediate consumption.

Answer

Yes, it is perfectly safe to open Effexor XR (venlafaxine extended-release) capsules and sprinkle the contents onto food, like applesauce or pudding, and take it that way.

The prescribing information for Effexor XR recommends applesauce if you are opening the capsules:

If you cannot swallow EFFEXOR XR capsules whole, the EFFEXOR XR capsules may be opened and the entire contents sprinkled on a spoonful of applesauce. Swallow the EFFEXOR XR and applesauce mixture right away without chewing. Follow with a glass of water to make sure you have swallowed all of the EFFEXOR XR pellets.

What Is In Effexor XR Capsules?

When you open the capsules, you'll notice they don't contain a powder, as you might expect, but rather, a number of tiny drug-containing beads. When you take a dose by mouth, the drug is released slowly over time from these beads via diffusion.

If you do open Effexor XR capsules and sprinkle the beads onto food, be sure to take the dose immediately, and don't store it for future use. Once the beads come into contact with moisture, the drug will start to be released.

Are There Alternatives?

Alternative forms of venlafaxine include venlafaxine immediate-release tablets and extended-release tablets.

I assume if you are opening capsules, you have trouble swallowing. The only real alternative here for you would be immediate-release venlafaxine tablets that you can crush. The extended-release tablets cannot be crushed.

As opening capsules and sprinkling the contents on food is generally easier than crushing tablets and taking a dose that way, I imagine the capsule form of venlafaxine is your best option.

Final Words

Thanks for your question and be sure to reach back out to us in the future!

References

  • Effexor XR Prescribing Information, Pfizer
  • Venlafaxine Monograph, PubChem

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 11 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication-related questions! Feel free to send him an email at Hello@HelloPharmacist.com! You can also connect with Dr. Brian Staiger on LinkedIn.

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