Hi Don, Welcome to Healing Well forum.
I take Effexor Xr and do very well on it. This past summer I was deeply depressed and was taking Zoloft that had pretty much quit working for me. Switching to Effexor was easy and it kicked in really quick. It has been a miracle drug for me and I just really cant say enuf about it.
I cant really speak to the side effects of going off the Effexor as I still take it. However, many do state that they are pretty brutal. But I must point out that if you ween off of them like your supposed to it wont be as bad then just stopping altogether. So if you do decide to take it please do keep this in mind if it comes time to stop them.
As for the drinking part....Well, I am not really much of a drinker so I cant help in this area. It really isnt a wise choice to mix alcohol with any prescription medication anyway. And I am sure you know this. I would say it isnt out of the question but just to use your best judgement when it comes to this.....Take care and do please let us know how your doing...
I was on Effexor XR briefly (2 months) at a dose of 75 mg (apparantly this is quite low) and did quite well with it. However it completely massacred my sex drive to the point that I'd shudder anytime my husband touched me. I quit cold turkey and the withdrawal IS horrific. I'd rather kill myself then go back on Effexor only because of the withdrawal.
As for drinking, my literature says... 'Effexor XR does not interact with alcohol' and 'the manufacturer reccomends avoiding alcohol while taking this medication' also.... alcohol may increase dizziness' (I could have told you that). Now that being said, you might want to consider the fact that alcohol is itself a depressant. Effexor is changing your brain chemistry and the effects of copious amounts of alcohol may be counter productive. http://www.crazymeds.org/effexor.html (I know, it doesn't sound reputable... I try to read 'em all though) Has the most information I've seen on alcohol.
Other side effects, Weight gain in some, Weight loss in others. Drowsiness and sleeplessness, diarrhea and constipation... and the list of counter acting side effects goes on.
Now, Effexor is supposed to be an excellant SSRI will get you out of the blackest deepest depression, however if you intend to come off it at some point... I think you owe it to your body to research the withdrawal side effects thoroughly.
I have been on effexor for a couple of years now and have still felt moments of depression but I am sure it is because I have drunk quite heavily since I have been on the drug. It does not make me sick or anything. I do not experience anxiety as much being on effexor. If you choose to drink I am sure it will be ok but we must remember that alcohol is a drepressant. It is just a shame that it tastes so good. I am still trying to work it all out.