Compare Effexor vs. Xanax

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

Effexor
(venlafaxine)

Xanax
(alprazolam)

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.Helps you relax. Xanax (Alprazolam) is okay for occasional or short-term use (up to 4 weeks) for anxiety, and longer-term for panic attacks. More likely to cause withdrawal symptoms compared to similar drugs.
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 Xanax
74%
-12% worse vs. Effexor
55%
-4% worse vs. Effexor
13%
-10% worse vs. Effexor
1287 reviews
Have you used Xanax (alprazolam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
EffexorXanax
  • Nausea 26%
  • Headache 1%
  • Drowsiness 14%
  • Dry mouth 11%
  • Dizziness 11%
  • Sleep difficulty 8%
  • Abnormal ejaculation 16%
  • Constipation 8%
  • Nervousness 17%
  • Muscle weakness 14%
More Effexor side effects »
  • Drowsiness 34%
  • Fatigue and tiredness 6%
  • Impaired coordination 23%
  • Irritability 3%
  • Memory impairment 11%
  • Increased appetite 10%
More Xanax side effects »
How it works
EffexorXanax
Effexor (Venlafaxine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulate mood.Xanax (Alprazolam) is a fast-acting benzodiazepine. It affects neurotransmitters in the brain and calms the nervous system. This reduces anxiety and can cause sleepiness.
Type of medication
EffexorXanax
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
EffexorXanax
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
Used for
EffexorXanax
Risk factors for serious side effects
EffexorXanax
  • 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 »
  • History of drug abuse
  • Taking with alcohol or drugs
  • Taking more than 4 mg/day or longer than 12 weeks
  • Stopping Xanax (Alprazolam) suddenly
  • Severely depressed
Detailed Xanax (alprazolam) 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.

Alcohol
EffexorXanax
No alcohol related info.
  • Not safe to use with alcohol.
  • Can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment, or for people who've had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
Kidneys and liver
EffexorXanax
No kidneys and liver related info.
  • Processed by the liver, so might not be the best choice if you have liver problems.
Sex
EffexorXanax
  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
No sex related info.
Sleep
EffexorXanax
No sleep related info.
  • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
Upsides and benefits
EffexorXanax
  • 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 short-term anxiety.
  • Effective longer-term for panic attacks.
  • Can be used together with antidepressants to manage anxiety disorders. Especially helpful for anxiety symptoms while you wait for an antidepressant to kick in (it can take several weeks).
Downsides and risks
EffexorXanax
  • 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.
  • Processed by the liver, so might not be the best choice if you have liver problems.
  • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
  • Can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment, or for people who've had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Compared to other benzodiazepines, more likely to cause withdrawal if you take it for a long time and then stop suddenly.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
EffexorXanax
  • 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.
  • Good for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms.
  • Starts working in 45 minutes when swallowed.
  • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Addictive. Long-term use can cause dependence or abuse.
  • Not safe to use with alcohol.
Learn more
More about EffexorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Effexor (venlafaxine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about XanaxSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Xanax (alprazolam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it