Compare Neurontin vs. Effexor

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

Neurontin
(Gabapentin)

Effexor
(Venlafaxine)

Treats tingling and burning nerve pain. Neurontin (Gabapentin) is an old seizure disorder medicine that's now used to treat nerve-related pain caused by different conditions.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
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.542087542087542Neurontin
Reviews for Neurontin (Gabapentin)
57%
of people say Neurontin (Gabapentin) is worth it
39%
say it works well
19%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Effexor (Venlafaxine)
61%
+4% vs. Neurontin (Gabapentin)
50%
+11% vs. Neurontin (Gabapentin)
22%
3% vs. Neurontin (Gabapentin)
Side effects
NeurontinEffexor
  • Dizziness 21%
  • Drowsiness 16%
  • Lack of muscle coordination 7%
  • Leg or ankle swelling 6%
  • Fatigue 6%
  • Hostility 5%
  • Involuntary eye movement 4%
  • Double vision 4%
  • Tremor 4%
  • Dry mouth 4%
More Neurontin 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
NeurontinEffexor
Neurontin (Gabapentin) is an antiepileptic and nerve pain reliever. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it has a similar structure to GABA, a neurotransmitter that calms nerves in the brain and spinal cord.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
NeurontinEffexor
Anticonvulsant
GABA analog
Prescription only
Antidepressant
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)
Prescription only
Available as
NeurontinEffexor
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for (click to learn more)
NeurontinEffexor
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.
The free Iodine Start program (personal reports and coaching) is currently only for antidepressants. For now, you can read our pharmacist info about this medication.Learn more about Neurontin (Gabapentin)

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

Risk factors for serious side effects
NeurontinEffexor
    • Children ages 3 to 12
      • Taking with alcohol or drugs
      • Stopping Neurontin (Gabapentin) suddenly
      Detailed Neurontin (Gabapentin) 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 category
        NeurontinEffexor
        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
        • You can't skip or miss doses since suddenly stopping Neurontin (Gabapentin) can cause seizures. This is even more likely if you drink alcohol, so it might not be the best medication for heavy drinkers.
        No specific alcohol-related info.
        Food
        • Take the extended-release tablet with 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.
        Kidneys and liver
        No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
        Sex
        No specific sex-related info.
        • 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.
        Sleep
        • Neurontin (Gabapentin) is likely to cause some side effects, including memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, or confusion.
        • 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.
        Weight
        No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
        Upsides and benefits
        NeurontinEffexor
        • Originally used to treat epilepsy (partial seizures), but now it primarily treats neuropathic pain that's caused by nerve stimulation or damage.
        • Studies show it's most effective for nerve pain from diabetes, shingles, and fibromyalgia (a painful muscle condition).
        • It's available as a generic, so it's less expensive than similar medications.
        • 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.
        Downsides and risks
        NeurontinEffexor
        • Neurontin (Gabapentin) is likely to cause some side effects, including memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, or confusion.
        • You can't skip or miss doses since suddenly stopping Neurontin (Gabapentin) can cause seizures. This is even more likely if you drink alcohol, so it might not be the best medication for heavy drinkers.
        • 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.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        NeurontinEffexor
        • Side effects are common, but usually manageable.
        • Don't drive while taking Neurontin (Gabapentin) until you know how the medication affects you.
        • Neurontin and generic forms of Gabapentin have the same ingredients as Gralise and Horizant, but are dosed differently. Make sure you know which form you're taking since they are used for different purposes.
        • Take the extended-release tablet with food.
        • Stop taking Neurontin (Gabapentin) slowly over at least one week to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
        • 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.
        Learn more
        More about NeurontinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        More about EffexorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert