Compare Effexor vs. Paxil

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

Effexor
(Venlafaxine)

Paxil
(Paroxetine)

Improves mood and helps you relax. Effexor (Venlafaxine) is good for treating depression and anxiety. It may work when other antidepressants haven't, but it's more likely to cause side effects and withdrawal symptoms than other antidepressants.Improves mood and helps you relax. Paxil (Paroxetine) is good for treating depression and anxiety but it causes more weight gain, sleepiness, and withdrawal symptoms than other antidepressants.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.07Effexor
Reviews for Effexor
62%
of people (All ages) say Effexor 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 Paxil
52%
+10% better vs. Effexor
39%
+12% better vs. Effexor
24%
+1% better vs. Effexor
694 reviews
Have you used Paxil (Paroxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
EffexorPaxil
  • Chest pain 1%
  • Trauma 1%
  • Pressure/hypertension 2%
  • Tachycardia 2%
  • Libido decreased 2%
  • Agitation 2%
  • Confusion 1%
  • Thinking abnormal 1%
  • Taste perversion 2%
  • Tinnitus 2%
More Effexor side effects »
  • Rash 1%
  • Oropharynx Disorder† 2%
  • Dyspepsia 1%
  • Myopathy 1%
  • Myalgia 1%
  • Drugged Feeling 1%
  • Taste Perversion 2%
  • Female Genital Disorders‡Þ 2%
  • Palpitation 2%
  • Vasodilation 2%
More Paxil side effects »
How it works
EffexorPaxil
Effexor (Venlafaxine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulate mood.Paxil (Paroxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin activity in the brain, which regulates mood.
Type of medication
EffexorPaxil
Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availablePrescription onlyLower-cost generic available
Available as
EffexorPaxil
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
  • Extended release tablet
  • Liquid
Used for
EffexorPaxil
Risk factors for serious side effects
EffexorPaxil
  • 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
Detailed Effexor (Venlafaxine) risks & warnings »
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Stopping Paxil (Paroxetine) suddenly
  • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
  • History of bipolar disorder
Detailed Paxil (Paroxetine) 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 real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Food
EffexorPaxil
No food related info.
  • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
Sex
EffexorPaxil
  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
No sex related info.
Sleep
EffexorPaxil
No sleep related info.
  • It causes drowsiness, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
Weight
EffexorPaxil
No weight related info.
  • Can cause weight gain, which can be helpful if you've recently lost weight or have a low appetite.
  • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants.
Upsides and benefits
EffexorPaxil
  • 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 and anxiety disorders, including OCD, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
  • It causes drowsiness, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
  • Can cause weight gain, which can be helpful if you've recently lost weight or have a low appetite.
  • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
Downsides and risks
EffexorPaxil
  • 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 more sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate than most antidepressants.
  • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants.
  • Can harm an unborn child, so you can't take it if you're pregnant.
  • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than age 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
EffexorPaxil
  • 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.
  • The controlled-release (CR) tablet can cause less nausea than other forms.
  • Don’t crush, break, or chew the Paxil (Paroxetine) controlled-release tablet or the Pexeva film-coated tablets.
  • It’s best to take Paxil (Paroxetine) in the morning, except Brisdelle, which can be taken at bedtime.
Learn more
More about EffexorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Effexor (Venlafaxine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about PaxilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Paxil (Paroxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it