Compare Lexapro vs. Effexor

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

Lexapro
(Escitalopram)

Effexor
(Venlafaxine)

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.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.
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Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.832985386221294Lexapro
Reviews for Lexapro (Escitalopram)
59%
of people (All ages) say Lexapro (Escitalopram) is worth it
46%
say it works well
15%
say it's a big hassle
958 reviews
Have you used Lexapro (Escitalopram)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Effexor (Venlafaxine)
61%
+2% vs. Lexapro (Escitalopram)
50%
+4% vs. Lexapro (Escitalopram)
22%
7% vs. Lexapro (Escitalopram)
460 reviews
Have you used Effexor (Venlafaxine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
LexaproEffexor
  • 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 »
  • 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 »
How it works
LexaproEffexor
Lexapro (Escitalopram) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin activity in the brain, which regulates mood.Effexor (Venlafaxine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulate mood.
Type of medication
LexaproEffexor
Antidepressant
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
Prescription only
Antidepressant
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)
Prescription only
Available as
LexaproEffexor
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for (click to learn more)
LexaproEffexor
Risk factors for serious side effects
LexaproEffexor
  • 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 »
    • 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 »
      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
      LexaproEffexor
      • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
      No food related info.
      Kidneys and liver
      LexaproEffexor
      • Not a good option for you if you have heart or liver problems.
      No kidneys and liver related info.
      Sex
      LexaproEffexor
      • 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
      LexaproEffexor
      • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) than other antidepressants.
      No weight related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      LexaproEffexor
      • 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.
      • 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.
      Downsides and risks
      LexaproEffexor
      • 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.
      • 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.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      LexaproEffexor
      • 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.
      • 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.
      Learn more
      More about LexaproSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      Have you used Lexapro (Escitalopram)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it
      More about EffexorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      Have you used Effexor (Venlafaxine)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it