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. May work when other antidepressants haven't, it's but 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.
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Reviews & ratings
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5.041304347826087Effexor
Reviews for Effexor (Venlafaxine)
61%
of people say Effexor (Venlafaxine) is worth it
50%
say it works well
22%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Wellbutrin (Bupropion)
58%
3% vs. Effexor (Venlafaxine)
38%
12% vs. Effexor (Venlafaxine)
13%
+9% vs. Effexor (Venlafaxine)
Side effects
EffexorWellbutrin
  • 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 »
  • Tremor 13%
  • Dry mouth 10%
  • Agitation 10%
  • Constipation 9%
  • Excessive sweating 7%
  • Dizziness 6%
  • Blurred vision 5%
  • Nausea/vomiting 4%
  • Headache/migraine 4%
  • Menstrual complaints 4%
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
Antidepressant
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)
Prescription only
Antidepressant
Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor
Prescription only
Available as
EffexorWellbutrin
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for (click to learn more)
EffexorWellbutrin
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.

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

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

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
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
    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
    • History of seizures
    • Alcoholism
    • Eating disorder
    • Higher dose
    • Drug interactions
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
    • Current kidney problems
    • Current liver problems
      Detailed Wellbutrin (Bupropion) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      EffexorWellbutrin
      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
      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.
      • 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.
      Food
      • 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.
      No specific food-related info.
      Kidneys and liver
      No specific 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
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • There are no sexual side effects from this medication.
      Sleep
      • 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.
      • Wellbutrin (Bupropion) makes you energized, so take it in the morning to avoid difficulty sleeping later that night.
      Weight
      No specific weight-related info.
      • It's less likely to cause weight gain than other antidepressants.
      • Wellbutrin (Bupropion) may cause weight loss. Talk to your doctor if weight loss is not desirable.
      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.
      • 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.
      • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
      • 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
      • 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.
      • Wellbutrin (Bupropion) makes you energized, so take it in the morning to avoid difficulty sleeping later that night.
      • There are no sexual side effects from this medication.
      • 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.
      • 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
      More about WellbutrinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert