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
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5.041304347826087Effexor
Reviews for Effexor (Venlafaxine)
61%
of people (All ages) say Effexor (Venlafaxine) is worth it
50%
say it works well
22%
say it's a big hassle
460 reviews
Have you used Effexor (Venlafaxine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Lexapro (Escitalopram)
59%
2% vs. Effexor (Venlafaxine)
46%
4% vs. Effexor (Venlafaxine)
15%
+7% vs. Effexor (Venlafaxine)
958 reviews
Have you used Lexapro (Escitalopram)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
EffexorLexapro
  • 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 »
  • Ejaculation disorder 12%
  • Ejaculation disorder (primarily ejaculatory delay) 11%
  • Sleep difficulty 10%
  • Nausea 10%
  • Diarrhea 9%
  • Headache 7%
  • Drowsiness 6%
  • Fatigue 6%
  • Dizziness 5%
  • Lower sex drive 5%
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
Antidepressant
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)
Prescription only
Antidepressant
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
Prescription only
Available as
EffexorLexapro
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
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
      • Causes more sleepiness than other antidepressants, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
      • 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.
      • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
      • Causes less sleepiness than some other antidepressants.
      • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
      • Lowers relapse rates of depression.
      • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
      Downsides and risks
      EffexorLexapro
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than 24.
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
      • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than 24.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      EffexorLexapro
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • 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