Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Effexor

(Venlafaxine)

  • Pill
  • Extended release
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Improves mood and helps you relax.

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Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Our bottom line

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.

Upsides

  • 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.
What do people say?
460 reviews

Downsides

  • 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.

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What to expect when you take Effexor (Venlafaxine) for Depression

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • 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.
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Side effects for Effexor (Venlafaxine)

From clinical trials of Effexor / Generalized anxiety disorder  ( 1936)

  • NauseaNausea35% for Venlafaxine vs.12% for placebo
  • Dry mouthDry mouth16% for Venlafaxine vs.6% for placebo
  • DizzinessDizziness16% for Venlafaxine vs.11% for placebo
  • Sleep difficultySleep difficulty15% for Venlafaxine vs.10% for placebo
  • DrowsinessDrowsiness14% for Venlafaxine vs.8% for placebo
  • Muscle weaknessMuscle weakness12% for Venlafaxine vs.8% for placebo
  • Abnormal ejaculationAbnormal ejaculation11% for Venlafaxine vs.0% for placebo
  • ConstipationConstipation10% for Venlafaxine vs.4% for placebo
  • SweatingSweating10% for Venlafaxine vs.3% for placebo
  • Loss of appetiteLoss of appetite8% for Venlafaxine vs.2% for placebo

Risks and Warnings for Effexor (Venlafaxine)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Age 24 years or younger

    Effexor (Venlafaxine) may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior. Watch for worsening depression or any unusual changes in mood or behavior, especially during the first few months of treatment or when the dose changes. Report anything concerning to a doctor immediately. Effexor (Venlafaxine) is not approved for use in children younger than age 18.

    This is a black box warning. The FDA requires this warning when there is a significant risk of serious or life-threatening effects that anyone taking the drug should consider.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Effexor (Venlafaxine)

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The FDA category for this medication is C. It is advised that you: Weigh risks vs. benefits
Pregnancy
Alcohol
  • Used to take 75mg morning and night, now just take 75mg in morning for depression and anxiety. Worked better than prozac. Citalopram had a bad effect on me. Have stopped using alcohol and feel much less depressed and anxious now.
Food
  • Tips from our pharmacists
  • 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.
  • Take it in the night if you can, it will make you sleepy. Always take with food at first, the nausea was really bad for the first few weeks
  • Pristiq is a newer version of effexor. It won't increase your blood pressure. Take effexor w food.
  • Try never forget a dose, and take with a meal. I'm unluckily much hungrier since I take it, and eat much more carbs than before. More nervous energy, less physical energy.
Sex
  • Upsides and downsides from our pharmacists
  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
  • Risks from our pharmacists
  • 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.
  • If I ever took it late, I would get a terrible stomach ache that would last all day, no matter what I did. Only thing that helped was trying to sleep it off. Also killed my sex drive. Made me me more emotionally stable, but it felt flat.
  • It works well for me when several other meds did not. I do not suffer from sexual side effects.
  • The only thing I hate is it kills libido and if you miss a dose you get the worst headache within tbe next 24hrs, withdrawal happens very fast. First 2 weeks were hell, I felt like I was on drugs.
Sleep
  • Upsides and downsides from our pharmacists
  • Causes more sleepiness than other antidepressants, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
  • Risks from our pharmacists
  • 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.
  • If I ever took it late, I would get a terrible stomach ache that would last all day, no matter what I did. Only thing that helped was trying to sleep it off. Also killed my sex drive. Made me me more emotionally stable, but it felt flat.
  • Tolerated Effexor well when switching slowly from long term use of Citalopram after suffering a depression and anxiety relapse. Definitely feels like a more potent anti-depressant with morning drowsiness for a few weeks after an increase. Thankfully no nausea or other serious side effects. Have been increasing onto Effexor for three months now, feeling better and still under surveillance by my psychiatrist. Have not missed a dose, always follow your doctors instructions.
  • I have nightmares if I miss a dose and do not sleep well. If I take it regularly in the am I can sleep well.
Weight
  • This mediction caused huge weight gain for me and the withdrawal symptoms are awful. The body shocks as you are coming off this medication are terrible!
  • Weight gain is huge. Why isn't "weight gain" a choice when this site asks for side effects. Weight loss is a choice and many people have mentioned weight gain on this med.
  • Switched from prozac to effexor to avoid low libido. It did not make a difference in this area at all, if not it made the problem worse. Weight gain of 20 lbs in 1 year and we months of treatment. Also caused horrible constipation. Would never take again!