Compare Atenolol vs. Effexor

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Tenormin
(Atenolol)

Effexor
(Venlafaxine)

Lowers blood pressure and controls heart rate. Tenormin (Atenolol) is good for controlling chest pain and treating heart failure and heart attack with fewer side effects than other beta blockers. You have to take it on an empty stomach, and you can't miss doses.Improves mood and helps you relax. Effexor (Venlafaxine) is good for treating depression and anxiety. May work when other antidepressants haven't, it's but more likely to cause side effects and withdrawal symptoms than other antidepressants.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.896860986547085Atenolol
Reviews for Tenormin (Atenolol)
57%
of people say Tenormin (Atenolol) is worth it
48%
say it works well
16%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Effexor (Venlafaxine)
61%
+4% vs. Tenormin (Atenolol)
50%
+2% vs. Tenormin (Atenolol)
22%
6% vs. Tenormin (Atenolol)
Side effects
AtenololEffexor
  • Tiredness 13%
  • Dizziness 7%
  • Cold extremities 7%
  • Low mood disorder 3%
  • Vivid dreams 2%
  • Shortness of breath 2%
  • Leg pain 2%
  • Nausea 2%
  • Diarrhea 1%
  • Fatigue 1%
More Atenolol side effects »
  • Nausea 42%
  • Drowsiness 22%
  • Dizziness 20%
  • Nervousness 17%
  • Sleep difficulty 16%
  • Loss of appetite 15%
  • Sweating 14%
  • Dry mouth 13%
  • Dry mouth 11%
  • Muscle weakness 10%
More Effexor side effects »
How it works
AtenololEffexor
Tenormin (Atenolol) is a selective beta blocker that works specifically on the heart. It lowers blood pressure by slowing down the heart and making it less work to pump.Effexor (Venlafaxine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulate mood.
Type of medication
AtenololEffexor
Antihypertensive
Beta blocker
Prescription only
Antidepressant
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)
Prescription only
Available as
AtenololEffexor
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for (click to learn more)
AtenololEffexor
How well it works for depression
The free Iodine Start program helps people track how well they are improving, and find the right antidepressant faster.
The free Iodine Start program (personal reports and coaching) is currently only for antidepressants. For now, you can read our pharmacist info about this medication.Learn more about Tenormin (Atenolol)

After 4 weeks using Start and Effexor (Venlafaxine), here’s how much better people feel.

Risk factors for serious side effects
AtenololEffexor
  • Suddenly stopping Tenormin (Atenolol)
    • Taking calcium channel blockers
    • Major surgery requiring anesthesia
    • Diabetes
      • Taking clonidine
      Detailed Tenormin (Atenolol) risks & warnings »
      • Age 24 years or younger
      • Using other medications that affect serotonin
      • Stopping Effexor (Venlafaxine) suddenly
      • History of high blood pressure
      • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
        • History of bipolar disorder
        • At risk for bipolar disorder
        Detailed Effexor (Venlafaxine) risks & warnings »
        Pregnancy category
        AtenololEffexor
        DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        See the FDA package insert
        CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        See the FDA package insert
        Alcohol
        No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
        Food
        No specific food-related info.
        • You can take the extended-release form once a day with food either in the morning or in the evening at about the same time each day.
        Kidneys and liver
        No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
        Sex
        No specific sex-related info.
        • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
        • Effexor (Venlafaxine) can cause lower sex drive or difficulty having an orgasm. If the problem persists after the first 2 to 3 months, you can talk to your doctor about alternative antidepressants or performance-enhancing medications.
        Sleep
        No specific sleep-related info.
        • Causes more sleepiness than other antidepressants, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
        • Stopping Effexor (Venlafaxine) suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, agitation, flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, and dizziness. Withdrawal symptoms usually occur within 3 days of stopping the medication, and go away within 1 to 2 weeks. Work with your doctor to gradually reduce your dose.
        Weight
        No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
        Upsides and benefits
        AtenololEffexor
        • A first-choice treatment to prevent chest pain (angina).
        • A first-choice treatment for heart failure and heart attack.
        • At lower doses, Atenolol has fewer side effects than most beta blockers because it targets the heart and doesn't cross into the brain and central nervous system.
        • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
        • Lowers relapse rates of depression.
        • Causes more sleepiness than other antidepressants, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
        • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
        • Might work when other antidepressants haven't worked since it affects two chemicals in the brain that impact your mood. Many other antidepressants affect only serotonin, but not norepinephrine too.
        Downsides and risks
        AtenololEffexor
        • You have to take Atenolol on an empty stomach.
        • Taking a beta blocker might make you feel more tired or out of breath during exercise or normal daily routines. This gets better for most people, but for some might not go away.
        • Not a first-choice treatment for high blood pressure according to the latest guidelines, except if you have heart failure or heart disease. As a second choice, your doctor might add it to medicines you're already taking if your blood pressure is still too high.
        • You can't miss doses. Stopping Atenolol suddenly can cause your blood pressure to go up suddenly, which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.
        • Can hide symptoms of low blood sugar if you're diabetic.
        • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
        • Not the best option for people with high blood pressure.
        • Overdosing on this medication could be fatal.
        • It's more likely to cause nausea and vomiting or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants. Also causes more sleepiness than others.
        • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than 24.
        • The first antidepressant you try doesn't always work or it can cause side effects you really don't like. You might need to try a few different medications until you find one that works for you.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        AtenololEffexor
        • Take it on an empty stomach.
        • Can cause dizziness in the first few days.
        • Check your blood pressure 1 week after starting this medicine, and tell your doctor if it hasn't improved.
        • Can cause fatigue and insomnia.
        • Can hide symptoms of low blood sugar. Be careful if you're diabetic.
        • Don't stop taking this medicine suddenly.
        • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
        • You can take the extended-release form once a day with food either in the morning or in the evening at about the same time each day.
        • Extended-release capsules should be swallowed whole. If you can’t swallow pills, open the capsule, sprinkle it on a spoonful of applesauce and then swallow it without chewing.
        • Stop taking it slowly to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
        • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
        Learn more
        More about AtenololSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        More about EffexorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert