Compare Effexor vs. Lexapro

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

Effexor
(Venlafaxine)

Lexapro
(Escitalopram)

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.Improves mood and helps you relax. Lexapro (Escitalopram) is good for treating depression and anxiety. Might be less likely to cause side effects than some antidepressants, but not the best choice for people with heart or liver problems.
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Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.07Effexor
Reviews for Effexor (Venlafaxine)
62%
of people (All ages) say Effexor (Venlafaxine) is worth it
51%
say it works well
23%
say it's a big hassle
577 reviews
Have you used Effexor (Venlafaxine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Lexapro (Escitalopram)
61%
-1% worse vs. Effexor (Venlafaxine)
48%
-3% worse vs. Effexor (Venlafaxine)
15%
+8% better vs. Effexor (Venlafaxine)
1063 reviews
Have you used Lexapro (Escitalopram)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
EffexorLexapro
  • Nausea 24%
  • Dizziness 19%
  • Sleep difficulty 10%
  • Drowsiness 14%
  • Muscle weakness 12%
  • Loss of appetite 12%
  • Nervousness 10%
  • Sweating 7%
  • Abnormality of accommodation 8%
  • Indigestion 5%
More Effexor side effects »
  • Nausea 8%
  • Ejaculation disorder 9%
  • Sleep difficulty 5%
  • Diarrhea 3%
  • Dry mouth 1%
  • Drowsiness 4%
  • Inflammation inside the nose 1%
  • Dizziness 2%
  • Flu-like symptomsa-like symptoms 1%
  • Sweating increased 3%
More Lexapro side effects »
How it works
EffexorLexapro
Effexor (Venlafaxine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulate mood.Lexapro (Escitalopram) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin activity in the brain, which regulates mood.
Type of medication
EffexorLexapro
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
EffexorLexapro
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for
EffexorLexapro
Risk factors for serious side effects
EffexorLexapro
  • 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 »
    • Age 24 years or younger
    • Using other medications that affect serotonin
    • Stopping Lexapro (Escitalopram) suddenly
    • Higher dose
    • History of heart problems
    • History of liver problems
    • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
      • History of bipolar disorder
      • At risk for bipolar disorder
      Detailed Lexapro (Escitalopram) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy

      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.

      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.

      Food
      EffexorLexapro
      No food related info.
      • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
      Kidneys and liver
      EffexorLexapro
      No kidneys and liver related info.
      • Not a good option for you if you have heart or liver problems.
      Sex
      EffexorLexapro
      • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
      • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
      Weight
      EffexorLexapro
      No weight related info.
      • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) than other antidepressants.
      Upsides and benefits
      EffexorLexapro
      • 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.
      • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
      • Lowers relapse rates of depression.
      • Causes less sleepiness than some other antidepressants.
      • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
      Downsides and risks
      EffexorLexapro
      • 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.
      • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
      • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) than other antidepressants.
      • Can cause an irregular heartbeat if you take a high dose (20 mg a day, or more).
      • Not a good option for you if you have heart or liver problems.
      • 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, and might have side effects you really don't like. You might need to try a few different medicines until you find one that works for you and that you can tolerate.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      EffexorLexapro
      • 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.
      • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
      • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
      • 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 EffexorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      Have you used Effexor (Venlafaxine)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it
      More about LexaproSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      Have you used Lexapro (Escitalopram)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it