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 pharmacists’ 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.

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  • 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.
  • 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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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

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.

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.
    Age: 57
    Gender: Woman
    Taken for: Depression
    Duration taken: Two years or more
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
    Age: 21
    Gender: Woman
    Taken for: Depression
    Duration taken: A few months
  • Pristiq is a newer version of effexor. It won't increase your blood pressure. Take effexor w food.
    Age: 30
    Gender: Man
    Taken for: Depression
  • 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.
    Age: 56
    Gender: Woman
    Taken for: Depression
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.
    Age: 29
    Gender: Woman
    Taken for: Depression
    Duration taken: Two years or more
  • 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.
    Age: 25
    Gender: Woman
    Taken for: Depression
  • Orgasm and ejaculation can be very difficult. Do NOT miss a dose. I thought I was dying.
    Age: 49
    Gender: Man
    Taken for: Depression
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.
    Age: 29
    Gender: Woman
    Taken for: Depression
    Duration taken: Two years or more
  • Tried taking it in the evening, didn't sleep well. Says to take in morning. Still too soon to notice a improvement.
    Age: 50
    Gender: Woman
    Taken for: Depression
  • You may need a second medication on top of it to help you sleep, otherwise it's great
    Age: 19
    Gender: Woman
    Taken for: Panic disorder
Weight gain or loss
  • It works very well but the weight gain was huge, ultimately making me stop taking it.
    Age: 50
    Gender: Woman
    Taken for: Depression
  • Been on XR version for a bit over a month. I take it in the AM because it gives me energy. Helps me focus and I feel a lot better. Have lost a little weight too!
    Age: 22
    Gender: Man
    Taken for: Depression
  • weight gain is an issue
    Age: 65
    Gender: Woman
    Taken for: Depression
    Duration taken: Two years or more