Are you taking, or considering taking, Venlafaxine (Effexor) for depression, anxiety, or another mental health reason? This page provides information on the medication’s benefits, side effects, and other properties.
Type of Medication: SNRI
Venlafaxine is a structurally novel Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor which is chemically unrelated to other antidepressants. (See “Drug Action Mechanisms”.)
Variants include Effexor, Effexor XR, Efexor, Efexor XL.
Benefits of Venlafaxine (Effexor, Efexor) for Depression and Anxiety
Venlafaxine is widely prescribed to treat depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder (social phobia). The United States FDA has not approved Venlafaxine for paediatric use (see FDA non-approval information – PDF).
Side Effects of Venlafaxine (Effexor, Efexor)
Please note that the following side effects include only some of the most common and somewhat less common but do not include rarer side effects; the list is not exhaustive. Many people taking Venlafaxine (Effexor, Efexor) experience none of these side effects. Please consult a physician about any unusual symptoms.
Some of the more common side effects of Venlafaxine (Effexor, Efexor) include:
Some of the less common side effects of Venlafaxine (Effexor, Efexor) include:
- hypotension (low blood pressure)
- weight gain
- sexual dysfunction
Venlafaxine (Effexor, Efexor) and Alcohol
The product insert for Effexor (linked below) suggests that “Although Venlafaxine has not been shown to increase the impairment of mental and motor skills caused by alcohol, patients should be advised to avoid alcohol while taking Venlafaxine” (p. 16).
Stopping Venlafaxine (Effexor, Efexor): Discontinuation Effects or Withdrawal Symptoms
It is best to consult a physician before discontinuing Venlafaxine (Effexor, Efexor). Stopping taking Venlafaxine (Effexor, Efexor) may cause discontinuation effects, including (from the Effexor product insert, p. 40):
- coordination impairment
- dry mouth
- dysphoric mood
- fasciculation (muscular twitching)
- sensory disturbances (including shock-like electrical sensations)
- somnolence (drowsiness)
In addition, one very rare side effect, which Effexor’s manufacturer calls “withdrawal syndrome”, is that the patient, once acclimatized to Effexor, is unable to discontinue taking the drug. With this discontinuation effect apparently permanent, the patient is “hooked for life”.
Should You Buy Venlafaxine (Effexor, Efexor) Online?
Particularly in the United States, many individuals choose to purchase medications online, either for reasons of cost savings, privacy, or both. Both brand-name Effexor and so-called ‘generic Effexor’ (i.e., Venlafaxine without the Effexor brand name) can sometimes be purchased at deep discounts (and sometimes without a prescription) in this way. Before undertaking any purchase of medications online, however — and certainly if you are contemplating doing so without a prior prescription — please consider the integrity of the supplier and the national and/or local laws which may apply where you live.
Information Sources and Disclaimer
The information provided here has been summarized in good faith purely for educational purposes. It is not intended in any way to replace the advice of a qualified medical professional. Please do not take any action on the basis of information contained here without consulting a physician. Unless otherwise specified, information is intended to apply only to adult use of the medication. Drug interaction precautions have not been included; please consult another source for this information.
All registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
- United States FDA-approved Product Insert for Effexor (PDF)
- Your Medicines — Any Questions?
- British National Formulary
- Medication Reference Materials
- Drug Information by Generic Name
- Alprazolam (Xanax) for Anxiety, Panic Disorder or Agoraphobia
- Atomoxetine (Strattera) for ADHD
- Bupropion, or Amfebutamone (Wellbutrin, Zyban) for Depression, Bipolar, and Smoking Cessation
- Citalopram (Celexa, Cipramil, Seropram) for Depression
- Clonazepam (Klonopin, Rivotril) for Anxiety
- Escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex) for Depression or Anxiety
- Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem) for Depression, Anxiety, Bulimia
- Fluvoxamine (Luvox, Faverin) for OCD
- Gabapentin (Neurontin) for Mood and Anxiety Disorders and Neuropathic Pain
- Guanfacine (Tenex, Estulic, Dipresan) for ADHD and Social Anxiety
- Medication List With Brand Names
- Nefazodone (Serzone, Dutonin) for Depression
- Olanzapine (Zyprexa) for Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia
- Olanzapine + Fluoxetine (Symbyax) for Bipolar Disorder
- Paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat, Deroxat) for Depression, PTSD and More
- Quetiapine (Seroquel) for Schizophrenia and Bipolar
- Risperidone (Risperdal) for Schizophrenia and Hypomania
- Sertraline (Zoloft, Lustral) for Depression, OCD and More
- Venlafaxine (Effexor or Efexor): Benefits and Side Effects
- Zolpidem Tartrate (Ambien, Stilnoct): Benefits and Side Effects
- Medication Action Mechanisms and Warnings
- NIMH Medications Booklet
- Research Literature and Clinical Trials of Mental Health Drugs
- Resources on Psychotropic Medications
- Drug Information by Generic Name
All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. This specific article was originally published by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on .on and was last reviewed or updated by