Compare Effexor vs. Wellbutrin

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

Effexor
(Venlafaxine)

Wellbutrin
(Bupropion)

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. Wellbutrin (Bupropion) is good for treating depression and has fewer sexual side effects than other antidepressants, but you need to be okay with avoiding alcohol.
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 Wellbutrin
60%
+2% better vs. Effexor
40%
+11% better vs. Effexor
13%
-10% worse vs. Effexor
1164 reviews
Have you used Wellbutrin (Bupropion)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
EffexorWellbutrin
  • 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 »
  • Anxiety 2%
  • Decreased libido 1%
  • Gustatory disturbance 2%
  • Dyspepsia 1%
  • Hypotension 1%
  • Impaired sleep quality 2%
  • Sensory disturbance 1%
  • Appetite increase 2%
  • Palpitations 2%
More Wellbutrin side effects »
How it works
EffexorWellbutrin
Effexor (Venlafaxine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulate mood.Wellbutrin (Bupropion) is an atypical antidepressant. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it seems to change dopamine and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulate mood.
Type of medication
EffexorWellbutrin
Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availablePrescription onlyLower-cost generic available
Available as
EffexorWellbutrin
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for
EffexorWellbutrin
Risk factors for serious side effects
EffexorWellbutrin
  • 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
  • History of depression
  • History of bipolar disorder
  • At risk for bipolar disorder
  • Withdrawing from nicotine
Detailed Wellbutrin (Bupropion) 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.

Alcohol
EffexorWellbutrin
No alcohol related info.
  • Has a higher risk of causing seizures, especially if you have a seizure disorder, eating disorder, or if you drink alcohol. So, it's not a good medication if you drink a lot.
Kidneys and liver
EffexorWellbutrin
No kidneys and liver related info.
  • Wellbutrin (Bupropion) is processed by the kidney and liver. If you have kidney or liver problems, you may need a different dose to prevent increased risk for side effects.
Sex
EffexorWellbutrin
  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
No sex related info.
Weight
EffexorWellbutrin
No weight related info.
  • It's less likely to cause weight gain than other antidepressants.
Upsides and benefits
EffexorWellbutrin
  • 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 symptoms.
  • Causes fewer sexual side effects than other antidepressants. Can actually boost sex drive for some people.
  • Can be taken with other antidepressants to counteract their sexual side effects.
  • Has some stimulant effects, so it can be energizing.
  • Can help with ADHD symptoms.
  • Also used to suppress appetite and help you quit smoking.
  • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
Downsides and risks
EffexorWellbutrin
  • 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.
  • Wellbutrin (Bupropion) can be stimulating, so it can cause anxiety or insomnia the first few days you're taking it.
  • Generally not as good as other antidepressants for people who have anxiety.
  • It's less likely to cause weight gain than other antidepressants.
  • Has a higher risk of causing seizures, especially if you have a seizure disorder, eating disorder, or if you drink alcohol. So, it's not a good medication if you drink a lot.
  • It contains the same ingredient as a medication that helps you to stop smoking, (Zyban), so these two meds can't be used together.
  • 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
EffexorWellbutrin
  • 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.
  • Wellbutrin (Bupropion) makes you energized, so take it in the morning to avoid difficulty sleeping later that night.
  • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
  • There are no sexual side effects from this medication.
  • Stop taking it slowly to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
  • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
  • The extended-release tablet shell can show up unchanged in your stool, but don't worry since the medication was still absorbed by your body.
Learn more
More about EffexorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Effexor (Venlafaxine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about WellbutrinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Wellbutrin (Bupropion)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it