Highlighting uses, dosage, how to take & discontinue, side effects, pros & cons, and more


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Brand & Generic Names; Drug Classes

US brand name: Effexor
Generic name: venlafaxine

Drug Class(es)

Primary drug class: Antidepressants
Additional drug class(es): Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor (SNRI)

Approved & Off-Label Uses (Indications)

Effexor’s US FDA Approved Treatment(s)

  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) - extended release (XR) approved October 1997, immediate-release (IR) approved December 1993
  • General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - XR approved 11 March 1999
  • Social Anxiety Disorder (SAnD) - XR approved 11 February 2003
  • Panic Disorder - XR approved 18 November 2005

Uses Approved Overseas but not in the US

  • In France Effexor is also approved for long-term (maintenance) therapy for MDD .
  • In the Netherlands Efexor is also approved for PTSD

Off-Label Uses of Effexor

When & If Effexor Will Work

Effexor’s Usual Onset of Action (when it starts working)

Three weeks to a month. Return to Table of Contents

Likelihood of Working

Generally SNRIs are more likely to work than SSRIs for depression and some forms of anxiety. Their biggest advantage being they are far less likely to suddenly stop working (see the SSRI poop-out (tachyphylaxis) page for details). The problem with Effexor is that the reviews from the field don’t form a bell curve or long tail like most stats, but a U, with most people loving it or hating it, as a lot of its efficacy was overshadowed by how bad it was to stop taking it. Fortunately that isn’t as much of a problem today as it was the first 10 years Effexor was on the market. Wyeth finally owned up to the fact that discontinuation syndrome exists and it can be really fucking awful. Doctors realized the same thing. Score another one for Internet-based support groups and sites like Crazymeds, as it sure as hell wasn’t getting published in The Literature all that much before we started making a lot of noise about it.

So, like all SNRIs, Effexor does work. Due to its side effects and the chance of the discontinuation syndrome from hell I can’t suggest it as the first med to try, unless you’re reading this for someone who is too depressed to work up the energy to kill themself - in which case that person should be hospitalized so they don’t do just that when the Effexor or whatever kicks in - or too anxious to look at a computer. If you aren’t quite that bad and your doctor brings it up, ask about something else for the first go. Not Pristiq, which is just predigested Effexor, albeit with a slightly different way of working, but either an SSRI or even Cymbalta. If you want something to work right the fuck now, Lexapro is your best bet.

Let’s see what Science has to say about it…

Effexor for Depression

  • Effexor XR for Depressed Slovenes When Laibach isn’t enough. This smallish (161 participants to start, 148 completed. 75% female.) study is notable not only for being the first to evaluate Effexor XR for MDD in Slovenia, but for using more than just the HAM-D to evaluate the results. Not only did Dr. Plesničar use four different rating scales, she also evaluated patients for physical pain, a symptom of depression frequently ignored. The results: Effexor kicked depression’s ass and didn’t suck all that much. As the study lasted only 8 weeks it didn’t have much of a chance to deal with weight gain or discontinuation syndrome. The 3:1 ratio of women to men also downplayed any sexual side effects. Still, I wish she had more money for a larger and longer study.
  • Effexor XR for Depressed Women Aged 45-55. The idea of this study was to see if there’s a difference in effect for women before and after menopause. While they tracked the women for a decent amount of time, they used only the HAM-D and there were only 36 participants, so the data are interesting but not all that conclusive. The results: Effexor works better and sucks less for post-menopausal women.

Effexor vs. Other Antidepressants for Depression

  • Effexor vs. Prozac vs. Placebo. Which is the most likely to fail after two years? After just one year 73% of the people taking the placebo were severely depressed again. So much for the placebo effect making ADs overpriced, side effects-inducing placebos. Effexor pooped out for 61% of the people taking it, but as this was a double-blind study, the dosages were completely randomized. A participant could have been taking 75 mg a day for a year. Or 300 mg. Or somewhere in between. Prozac randomization was 20–60 mg and the tachyphylaxis rate was 66%. Phase B was even more messed up. This study is pretty bogus. The only thing about it worthwhile is that it shows the placebo effect is equally bogus. Medicine works.

Return to Table of Contents

Taking and Discontinuing

How to Take Effexor

Effexor comes in immediate-release (IR) and extended release (XR) flavors, although hardly anyone takes the IR form anymore. Just be sure to check your prescription for that XR to make sure you are getting the extended release form. For the XR flavor, you start at 37.5 to 75 mg a day, taken with food, at either breakfast or dinner, depending on if you’re apt to get wired or tired. Once you get the wired/tired issue straightened out, you take the med all at once at the same time every day. If you start at 37.5mg you can move up to 75mg after a week. As with any serotonergic antidepressant, it may take up to a month to feel any positive effect, so give it a month. Seriously, don’t move up above 75mg a day unless you feel it doing something positive or it’s been about a month. You’ll know if it’s going to do anything then. If you feel nothing, give up and take a med with a much easier discontinuation (i.e. anything that’s not an SNRI). After that you can move up in 37.5–75 mg increments, allowing at least a week between each increase until you reach the maximum of 375 mg once a day for adults with severe MDD. Or 450mg a day if you and your doctor have the balls for it. If the two of you are sure you are a rapid metabolizer of some medications, there are people who take 600mg a day, but roughly 1% of people on the planet, if that many, would metabolize it at a rate fast enough to need 600mg a day, and need to take the XR form twice a day. If you’re reading this site because you take your XR capsule in the morning and feel dizzy, confused, have headaches and feel like you’re wearing an electric eel for a hat after dinner every night, you may need to take a once-a-day pill twice a day.

The older immediate release version is pretty much the same, except that the dose is divided into two or three doses a day.

In some ways Effexor is almost like an AED in that you need to fine-tune its dosage for maximum effect. Return to Table of Contents

How to Stop Taking Effexor (discontinuation / withdrawal)

Unless you need to discontinue the XR flavor at a more rapid rate due to an extremely nasty side effect, your doctor should be recommending that you reduce your dosage by 37.5mg a day every week if you need to stop taking it, if not more slowly than that. You shouldn’t be doing it any faster than that unless it’s an emergency. Yes, that means if you’ve maxed out at 375mg a day it could take up to 10 weeks to get off of it. You can try it faster and hope it works out, and since the odds are actually with you it’s worth doing at the higher dosages and reduce the rate once you’re down to half of what you used to take, but it’s hardly a sure thing. Once you get down to that last 37.5mg a day you have several options:

  • If the discontinuation symptoms you’re experiencing are mild, if you’re experiencing any at all, then you may as well stop taking it. You’re in the plurality of people who have taken either version of Effexor who could stop taking it without too much of a hassle.
  • If the brain zaps or shivers and other discontinuation symptoms are still bad you can try taking one 37.5mg capsule every other day, or getting a prescription for generic venlafaxine IR and working your way down. As IR comes in a variety of dosages you have all sorts of ways you and your doctor can work out a discontinuation schedule from there.
  • If you still can’t stop taking it at a low dosage, you and your doctor may want to try Prozac (fluoxetine) prescription or samples. Generic fluoxetine will even do. 10mg a day is all you should need. Even with the proper discontinuation stopping the last 37.5mg can be hellish. Taking two weeks worth of Prozac (fluoxetine) will make the discontinuation a lot easier. So when you’re off of it and you cannot function, get on the Prozac for a week or two, then stop taking the Prozac. By that time you should find you’ll have either no discontinuation syndrome, or it won’t be nearly as bad.
  • If worse comes to worst, there’s always the liquid Prozac. Then you can work your way down from the equivalent of 10mg, or higher if 10mg was too low, to ever-so-slowly try to wean yourself off of the serotonergic part of Effexor that had its claws in you. Unlike most liquid medications of any type, Prozac’s oral solution tastes pretty good3, somewhere between really good mint-flavored mouthwash and so-so peppermint schnapps.

Return to Table of Contents

Effexor’s Pros and Cons


  • For deep, despairing, clinical depression that will only respond to the standard tweaking of at least two out of the three most popular neurotransmitters4, Effexor often pulls people out of the abyss when SSIs, other SNRIs, Wellbutrin, and TCAs have failed.
  • Because Effexor works on more than one neurotransmitter, it is far less likely to poop-out than an SSRI.

Return to Table of Contents


  • For many people Effexor has the absolute worst discontinuation syndrome of any antidepressant.
  • It is a medication people utterly loathe to have taken.
  • It is not uncommon for someone to fire their doctor during or immediately after they quit taking Effexor because the discontinuation syndrome can be that bad.

Return to Table of Contents

Interesting Stuff your Doctor Probably didn’t Tell You about Effexor

Raw, freebase5 venlafaxine is actually one of, if not the least potent of all the antidepressants on the market. If venlafaxine hydrochloride weren’t so well absorbed and distributed Let’s see if I can write it down correctly this time. If the active ingredient were as well-absorbed and distributed when compared with the other ADs I could understand why it is so effective. As it is, I can’t understand why the hell it isn’t be practically a placebo.

I was right the first time. ULD is just kicking my ass some days. Venlafaxine HCl’s truly awesome pharmacokinetics are why such a weak-ass drug is so effective. They may also have something to do with why the discontinuation syndrome sucks so much donkey dong, but that’s still just a guess of mine and there’s no research to back it up. Just like Paxil, the short half-lives of venlafaxine HCl and its active metabolite are a known reason why Effexor withdrawal sucks so much shit. And why some people experience SSRI/SNRI discontinuation syndrome if they miss a single dose, or are a few hours late in taking a dose!

It could be that it’s like bupropion, another weak-as-water6 drug that is surprisingly effective. According to Dr. Stahl, bupropion might be transformed into one or more of its three (so far known) active metabolites by the CYP450 genes in your brain instead of in your liver. So what it doesn’t have in the way of raw, pharmacological power, it makes up for by being undiluted by plasma. As venlafaxine is also converted does the same thing.

Return to Table of Contents

Best Known for

The discontinuation syndrome from hell. Return to Table of Contents

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Effexor’s Potential Side Effects

Potential Side Effects All Crazy Meds Have

No matter which neurological and/or psychiatric drug you take, you’ll probably get one or more of these side effects. These will usually be gone, or at least will diminish to the point where you barely notice it most of the time, within a week or two.

  • Headache
  • Drowsiness / fatigue - even when taking stimulants in some circumstances.
  • Insomnia, instead of or alternating with the drowsiness.
  • Nausea
  • Assorted other minor GI complaints (constipation, diarrhea, etc.)
  • Generally feeling spacey / out of it
    • Which can all add up to the ever-helpful “flu-like symptoms” listed as an adverse event on the PI sheet of practically every medication on the planet used to treat almost any condition humans and other animals could have.7
  • All crazy meds can, and probably will affect your dreams as well. There is no way of telling if that will be good or bad, let alone if this side effect is permanent or temporary.
  • Any of the above side effects you see listed again below means they’re even more likely to happen and/or stick around longer and/or are worse than most other meds.

Typical Potential Side Effects

Although an SNRI, because its effect on norepinephrine usually isn’t noticeable until you reach a dosage somewhere north of 150mg a day, its initial, and mostly short-term, side effects are more like an SSRI. Not that there’s all that much difference between the two classes. So expect a few of:

headache, nausea, dry mouth, sweating, sleepiness or insomnia (with insomnia a little more likely), constipation or diarrhea (constipation is somewhat more likely), weight gain (although less likely and severe than most SSRIs), and assorted sexual dysfunctions. While sexual dysfunction is also a little less likely than SSRIs, some women will get a sexual boost at the higher dosages instead of a sexual dampening. It’s neither as frequent nor as pronounced (usually) as with the other SNRIs or the NSRIs (Strattera and reboxetine), but it does happen.

Sorry guys, but a higher dosage usually means whatever problems you had in that area will probably just get worse. Return to Table of Contents

Uncommon Potential Side Effects

  • increased or lowered blood pressure
  • sweating
  • farting
  • anorexia
  • twitching
  • shock-like sensations (while you’re still taking it)
  • alcohol intolerance and/or alcohol abuse
    • making it just the thing to talk about at AA meetings

Return to Table of Contents

Freaky Rare Side Effects

  • Guys, if you thought everyone freaking out about the Lamictal Rash was bad, I have one word for you: balanitis.
  • Your hair may change color without Revlon.
  • Erotomania.
    • You know, I think that new hair color looks good on you…
  • Spontaneous orgasm.
    • OK, fine, take care of yourself then.

Return to Table of Contents

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What You Really Need to be Careful About

By all that is holy, never just abruptly/suddenly stop taking it (going cold turkey), without an extremely good reason. Like a life-threatening allergic reaction, or you’re in a coma.

Return to Table of Contents

Pregnancy Category

C-Use with caution Return to Table of Contents


Effexor’s Half-Life & How Long Until It Clears Your System

The half-life of venlafaxine is 3–7 hours, and o-desmethylvenlafaxine’s is 9–13 hours. That means it takes two days for one and five days for the other to clear out of your system.

Steady State

three days

Half-life is the average time it takes for you to process half of the drug’s active ingredient. If a drug has a half-life of around 24 hours and you take a dose of 100mg, you’ll have roughly the equivalent a 50mg dose after one day, a 25mg dose after two days, and so on. The rule of thumb is: multiply the half-life by five and you get how long it is for the dose you took to be cleared from your bloodstream8, so there’s nothing swimming around to attach itself to your brain and start doing stuff. That’s called “plasma clearance.” Complete clearance is a complex equation based on a lot of factors which may or may not: be published in the PI sheet, include personal data like your weight, or even completely figured out by corporate and independent researchers. It usually winds up being 2–5 days after plasma clearance no matter what9, but can take weeks. Sometimes a drug will clear from your brain and other organs before it clears from your blood.

Steady state is the flipside of half-life. This is when you can expect to get over side effects caused by fluctuating amounts of a medication in your bloodstream. Often, but not always the same amount of time as the plasma clearance above.

Return to Table of Contents

How venlafaxine Works

the current best guess at any rate

Venlafaxine Pharmacodynamics

Based upon the monoamine hypothesis of depression (i.e. you’re messed up due to an imbalance of one or more of three of the best understood neurotransmitters: serotonin, norepinephrine, and/or dopamine), Effexor attempts to balance your brain juices by inhibiting the reuptake (in English: delaying the breaking down and recycling) of serotonin and norepinephrine at their receptors in various (i.e. depending on which studies and books you’ve read and fancy brain scans you’ve looked at) locations in your brain. It may do a lot of other things that address depression, anxiety, other brain cooties and some off-label uses by encouraging the growth of new neurons, affecting hormones and CYP450 genes in your brain, and who knows what else. You also have serotonin and norepinephrine receptors throughout your body, especially in your GI and renal systems, which is why SSRIs & SNRIs are used to treat various conditions like IBS and incontinence. As it doesn’t really affect norepinephrine until you reach a dosage of at least 225mg a day (or 175–200 for IR), it is practically an SSRI, and thus not as effective for pain and pain-related conditions like fibromyalgia as other SNRIs like Cymbalta and Pristiq.

The active metabolite o-desmethylvenlafaxine (ODV) does most of the work, and is now available in a refined form as Pristiq ( desvenlafaxine ).

Venlafaxine Pharmacokinetics

When you compare venlafaxine with other SSRIs and SNRIs you’ll find, in terms of raw potency, it’s the weakest reuptake inhibitor of any med defined as a serotonin- or norepinephrine-reuptake inhibitor. So why is it so effective? And, presumably, why are its discontinuation symptoms so awful? The answer has to be found in its pharmacokinetics (PK).

The half-life of venlafaxine HCl is 3–7 hours , and ODV’s half-life is 9–13 hours . That means it takes two days for one and five days for the other to clear out of your system. Having two parts with short half-lives is a huge part of why the discontinuation syndrome is so freaking harsh.

The other PK stats for venlafaxine XR and ODV are:

  • PK is linear
  • Cmax 150 ng/mL for venlafaxine and 260 ng/mL for ODV
  • Tmax is 5.5 hours for venlafaxine and 9 hours for ODV
  • Apparent volume of distribution is 7.5±3.7 L/kg for venlafaxine and 5.7±1.8 L/kg for ODV
  • Steady-state plasma clearance is 1.3±0.6 L/h/kg for venlafaxine and 0.4±0.2 L/h/kg for ODV
  • Absolute bioavailability for venlafaxine is 45%
  • Plasma protein binding is 27% for venlafaxine and 30% for ODV
  • 92% of a single oral dose of venlafaxine is absorbed.

That last parameter is something I rarely see anywhere. When I do see it, it’s never close to 50%. While venlafaxine’s absolute bioavailability is low, the low plasma protein binding, spectacular, as far as I can tell, absorption, and truly spectacular Cmax (Twice as high as the similarly weak bupropion and 4–5 times greater than all the other antidepressants where I have that number) explains why a drug with such a piss-poor effect on the neurotransmitter transporters is so freaking effective. Basically what it lacks in strength it makes up for by getting more of the active ingredient where it needs to be.

So if this site ever starts making money again I’ll have to get the numbers for a lot of other meds and do the math to update the equivalencies.

Return to Table of Contents

Active Ingredient

venlafaxine hydrochloride and the active metabolite o-desmethylvenlafaxine

The active ingredient is usually the same as the generic name, but more often than not it’s a chemical salt of the substance identified as the generic. E.g. Fluoxetine is the generic for Prozac, but the active ingredient is fluoxetine hydrochloride (or HCl). It usually doesn’t make much of a difference outside of the more esoteric aspects of a drug’s pharmacology, but not always.

Return to Table of Contents

Shelf Life

3 years Return to Table of Contents

Effexor’s Noted Drug-Drug, Drug-Food & Drug-Supplement Interactions

Effexor makes morphine less effective. This is a pharmacodynamic interaction (it happens in your brain) and not a pharmacokinetic one (one drug causes another to be metabolized faster or slower) like 95% of drug-drug interactions. Don’t read the study if you have problems with painful and, frankly, unnecessary animal testing.

Return to Table of Contents

Check for Other Drug-Drug, Drug-Food & Drug-Supplement Interactions Effexor may have at

Drugs.com’s drug-drug and drug-food interaction checker

It’s always a good idea to check for drug-drug interactions yourself. Just because most people in the crazy meds business know about really important interactions (e.g. MAOIs and a lot of stuff, warfarin and everything on the planet) doesn’t mean the person who prescribed your meds told you about them, or the pharmacist has all the meds you take at their fingertips like they’re supposed to. Or they have the time to do their jobs properly when not dealing with complete idiots or playing Angry Farmers on teh Faecesbooks.
Learn more about drug-everything interactions on our page of tips about taking crazy meds.

Name, Address, Serial Number (Generic and Overseas Availability)

Available in the US as a generic? Yes

Other Trade Names and Overseas Availability

Not including controlled/extended/sustained release suffixes (Efexor ER, Trevilor retard e.g.) or branded generics that are a hyphenate of the generic name and the drug company name (Apo-Citalopram e.g.).

Available as Effexor in

  • Algeria (إفإكسور in Arabic)
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • France
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia

Overseas Trade and Branded Generic Names

In addition to being available as a generic under the local INN (see below), Effexor is available in these countries under the following trade and branded generic names:

  • Algeria / الجزائر - Flaxyne / فلاكسين , Venexor / فينيكسور
  • Argentina - Alfaxin , Efexor , Elafax , Ganafax , Mezine , Pramina , Quilarex , Sesaren , Sunvex , Venlifax
  • Armenia / Հայաստան - Efevelon / Էֆեվելոն
  • Australia - Altven , Efexor, Elaxine , Enlafax
  • Austria / Österreich - Efectin , Faxiprol , Venaxabene , Venlafab
  • Bahrain - Efexor
  • Belarus / Беларусь - Alventa / Алвента , Deprexor / Депрексор , Efevelon, Velaxin / Велаксин
  • Belgium / België / Belgique - Efexor, Venlax
  • Bolivia - Elafax, Nervix , Oprax , Sesaren, Venlax
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina / Bosna i Hercegovina - Alventa, Depressa , Efexiva 10, Velafax , Venlax, Zanfexa
  • Brazil - Alenthus ,Efexor, Venlaxin , Venlaxina , Venlift
  • Bulgaria / България - Alventa / Алвента, Argofan / Аргофан , Deprexor / Депрексор, Efectin / Ефектин , Efevelon / Эфевелон , Efexiva / Ефексива , Elify / Елифай , Estaq / Естак , Lanvexin / Ланвексин , Laroxin / Лароксин , Nopekar / Нопекар , Prefaxin / Префаксин , Tifaxin / Тифаксин , Velaxin / Велаксин, Venlagamma / Венлагамма , Venlift / Венлифт ,
  • Chile - Axone , Depurol , Ectien , Efexor, Elafax, Lafaxin , Nervix, Nezel , Norpilen , Senexon , Sentidol , Sesaren, Subelan , Vencontrol , Venlax
  • China / 中国 - Efexor / 怡諾思
  • Colombia - Desmaril , Eduxon , Efexor, Exer , Hanxinex , Leire , Mezine, Niztec , Norpilen, Procaps , Sesaren, Vencontrol, Vendep , Veniz , Venlax, Venoxor , Vilfax
  • Costa Rica - Efexor, Neurosenexon , Sesaren
  • Croatia / Hrvatska - Alventa, Efexiva, Velafax, Velfax , Vexin , Zanfexa
  • Cyprus - Efexor
  • Czech Republic / Česká republika - Argofan, Efectin, Elify, Faxiprol, Mollome , Olwexya , Tifaxin, Velaxin
  • Denmark - Dobupal , Efexor, Vandral
  • Dominican Republic / República Dominicana - Efexor, Elafax, Lafaxin, Valax , Venfane
  • Ecuador - Ansifix , Efexor, Valax, Sesaren, Venlax
  • Egypt / مصر - Delvena , Efexor / إفإكسور , Effegad , Effoxbelle , Idixor , Venlatrin , Venlaxine , Vexamod
  • El Salvador - Efexor
  • Estonia / Eesti - Alventa, Argofan, Efexor, Faxiv , Lanvexin, Sulinex , Venegis , Venib , Venladep , Venlagamma, Vessril
  • Finland / Suomi - Akaven , Alventa, Efexor, Faxoven , Ofaven , Velassine , Venlafarm , Venlar , Venlasan , Vexipress
  • France - Trevilor
  • Georgia / საქართველო - Velaxin, Venlagamma, Venlaxor
  • Germany / Deutschland - Lindalex , Trevilor, Venla ,Venlagamma, Venla-q Venlasan
  • Greece / Ελλάδα - Argofan, Arvifax , Deprevix , Efaxin , Efetrin , Efexor, Elify, Melocin , Memomax , Norafexine , Norezor , Serosmine , Tudor , Velept , Velpine , Venaxol , Ven-Fax , Venfaxil , Venlasan, Venlaxin, Voxafen , Zacalen , Zaredrop
  • Guatemala - Bonilux , Efexor, Limbic , Mezine, Neurosenexon, Sesaren, Sinasfix , Venlacross , Veslodat
  • Honduras - Efexor
  • Hong Kong / 香港 - Efexor / 怡諾思
  • Hungary / Magyarország - Efectin, Falven , Faxiprol, Jarvis , Olwexya, Venlagamma, Venlaxin
  • Iceland - Efexor
  • India / भारत - Dalium , Envelaf , Flavix , Sentosa , Velaf , Velfex , Velax , Ven OD , Venaxin , Venish , Venlamax , Venlor , Venset , Ventab , Vendep, Veniz, Venjoy , Venla, Venlift, Venx , Vexor , VNF
  • Indonesia - Efexor
  • Iran / ایران - Alventa, Depraxin , Deprilax , Venlabiox , Venlaxin
  • Ireland / Éire - Efaxil , Efexor, Tonpular , Vedixal , Velexor , Venex , Venlablue , Venlift, Venlofex
  • Israel / ישראל - Efexor / אפקסור, ViePax
  • Italy - Efexor, Faxine , Tifaxin, Zaredrop, Zarelis
  • Jordan / الأردن - Vaxor , Venexor / فينيكسور
  • Kazakhstan / Казахстан - Alventa / Алвента, Efevelon / Эфевелон, Prefaxin / Префаксин, Velaxin / Велаксин
  • Kenya - Veniz
  • Latvia - Alventa, Argofan, Efexor, Elify, Prefaxine , Velaxin, Venlaxor
  • Lebanon / لبنان - Defaxine / ديفاكسين , Efexor / إفإكسور , Venlax / فينلاكس
  • Lithuania / Lietuva - Alventa, Efexor, Elify, Lanvexin, Velaxin
  • Macedonia (FYROM) /македонија - Alventa / Алвента, Efexiva / Ефектин, Velafax, Velahibin , Venlax, Zanfexa
  • Malaysia - Efexor
  • Malta - Efexor
  • Mexico - Adefaxin , Benolaxe , Efexor, Lafaxven , Mazda 11, Odven , Vextor
  • Myanmar (Burma) - Venlift
  • Netherlands - Efexor, Venfalex , Venladoz , Venlatif , Venlexor
  • New Zealand - Efexor
  • Nicaragua - Efexor
  • Norway / Norge - Efexor
  • Oman / عمان - Efexor / إفإكسور ,
  • Pakistan / پاکستان - Amfax , Efexor, Enpress , Intefred , Peofax , Vanaxin , Vela , Venalax 12, Venice , Venxor , Vinoxa
  • Panama - Efexor
  • Paraguay - Elafax, Neoxacina , Sesaren,
  • Peru - Anapresin , Asegur , Depurol , Efexor, Elafax, Noviser , Senexon, Vafexin , Veniz, Vfax
  • Philippines - Efexor
  • Poland / Polska - Alventa, Axyven , Efectin, Efevelon, Efexiva, Faxigen , Faxolet , Jarvis, Lafactin , Lanvexin, Nopekar, Oriven , Prefaxine, Symfaxin , Tavex , Tifaxin, Tonpular, Velfax, Velaxin, Velaxiran 13, VenaLEK , Venlabax , Venlagamma, Venlax, Venlectine , Zaredrop
  • Portugal - Bitural , Desinax , Efexor, Efique , Genexin , Leritex , Pracet , Venxin , Xapnev , Zaredrop, Zarelix
  • Romania - Adoxa , Alventa, Argofan, Efectin, Elify, Fobiless , Ivryx , Jarvis, Nopekar, Posipres , Velaxin, Venlagamma
  • Russia / Россия - Alventa / Алвента, Efevelon / Эфевелон, Prefaxin / Префаксин, Velaxin / Велаксин
  • Saudi Arabia / العربية السعودية - Efexor / إفإكسور , Venaxine , Venex , Vexal
  • Serbia / Србија - Velafax
  • Singapore / 新加坡 - Efexor, ViePax
  • Slovakia / Slovensko - Alventa,
  • Slovenia - Alventa, Efectin, Efexiva, Faxiprol, Nefexyl , Venlagamma
  • South Korea / 남쪽 한국 - Cofexor / 코팩사 , Depron / 데프론 , Efexor / 이팩사 , Ivencine 14 / 이벤신 , Lavensa 15 / 라벤사 , Prexa / 프렉사 , Venexor / 베넥사 , Venfaxin / 벤팍신오알 , Venlafact / 벤라팩트 , Vivafaxine / 비바팍신 , 베라칸­
  • Spain / España - Arafaxina , Conervin , Dislaven , Dobupal, Flaxen 16, Levest , Vandral, Venlabrain , Venlamylan , Venlapine , Zaredrop, Zarelis
  • Sweden / Sverige - Durnit , Efexor, Trevilor, Venette , Venlanidda , Venlix
  • Switzerland / Suisse / Schweiz / Svizzera - Efexor, Venlax
  • Taiwan / 台灣 - Calmdown 17, Easyfor , Efexor / 怡諾思, Faxine, Rafax , Seroxine , Valosine , Venfaxime , Venforspine
  • Tanzania - Venexor, Venlift
  • Thailand / ประเทศไทย - Efexor
  • Turkey / Türkiye - Efexor, Sulinex, Venegis, Venfecto , Vessril
  • UAE / الإمارات العربية المتحدة - Efexor /إفإكسور , Venlax / فينلاكس
  • UK - Depefex , Efexor, Foraven , Politid , Sunveniz , Tonpular, Venaxx , Venladex , Venlalic , ViePax, Winfex
  • Uganda - Venexor, Venlift
  • Ukraine / Україна - Alventa / Алвента, Deprexor / Депрексор, Efevelon / Эфевелон, Faxine, Prefaxin / Префаксин, Velaxin / Велаксин,
  • Uruguay - Elafax, Limbic, Nulev , Venxine
  • Venezuela - Efexor, Idoxen , Lafaxim , Sesaren, Velmed
  • Việt Nam - Venlift

Alternate INNs

because you can’t eat just one
  • venlafaksin - Bosnian, Croatian, Norwegian, Serbian, Slovenian, Turkish
  • venlafaksiin - Estonian
  • venlafaksiini - Finnish
  • venlafaxin - German, Swedish, Vietnamese
  • venlafaxina - Italian, Portuguese, Spanish
  • venlafaxinum 18 - Latin
  • venlafaksino - Lithuanian
  • venlafaxină - Romanian
  • الفينلافاكسين Arabic transliteration of venlafaxine
  • 文拉法辛 Chinese transliteration of venlafaxine
  • венлафаксин Cyrillic transliteration of venlafaxine
  • Βενλαφαξίνη Greek transliteration of Venlafaxine
  • ונלפאקסין Hebrew transliteration of venlafaxine
  • 벤라팍신 Korean transliteration of venlafaxine

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Shapes & Sizes (How Supplied)

Extended-release capsules ; Immediate-release, shield-shaped tablets

Effexor XR capsule and Effexor tablets
From left: Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Effexor 75 mg, Effexor 25 mg

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Comments, PI Sheet, Ratings, Reviews and More


There are two last resorts among the modern, first-line meds to cure the deepest, blackest depression when your doctor is just switching you from one horsie to another on the med-go-round: Effexor and Remeron (mirtazapine)19. Either in combination with an antipsychotic, especially Geodon would really get you out of that hole of despair, but first you should throw away every mirror and scale in your house and buy expandable clothing. Weight gain usually isn’t too bad with Effexor alone, but when coupled with Remeron and/or most antipsychotics…well…prepare yourself for being a jolly fatty.

Effexor has to be the. most. loathed. drug by those for whom it didn’t work. While it can be an absolute lifesaver for many people with the most severe form of whaleshit-on-the-bottom-of-the-ocean depression, with or without anxiety, as well as for those with various forms of anxiety without depression, when it doesn’t work well enough, and the side effects suck to much, the discontinuation syndrome can be such a nightmare that people will fire their doctors who didn’t work out a discontinuation schedule or otherwise prepare them for what it would be like.

A couple things I’ve picked up from the plethora of overseas SPCs and PILs I’ve collected (see below)

  • In Australia they’ve noticed “an increased risk of bone fractures in patients receiving serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) including venlafaxine.”
    • There’s nothing explicit about that in the US PI sheet, just a mention of osteoporosis as a rare side effect.
  • Effexor is effective in treating depression in Parkinson’s Disorder, and that’s a very popular off-label use in east Asia.
    • I can’t think of anyone more susceptible to bone fractures than old Asian women with Parkinson’s. Except for someone with osteogenesis imperfecta.
  • I have no idea if the bone fracturing susceptibility from SSRIs and SNRIs is something that happens only to Australians, but it definitely happens with older adults no matter where they live, so if Grandma is taking Effexor or any other serotonergic drug, she needs to be even more careful about falling down and not being able to get up.

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Rate Effexor

Give your overall impression of Effexor on a scale of 0 to 5.

Get all critical about Effexor

3.5 stars Rating 3.5 out of 5 from 484 criticisms.
Vote Distribution: 54 – 24 – 51 – 37 – 136 – 182

Rate this article

If you’re still feeling judgmental as well as just mental20, please boost or destroy my self-confidence by honestly (and anonymously) rating this article on a scale of 0 to 5. The more value-judgments the better, even if you can criticize my work only once.

Get all judgmental about the Effexor (venlafaxine) Synopsis

4.5 stars Rates 4.0 out of 5 from 323 value judgments.
Vote Distribution: 25 – 5 – 3 – 18 – 125 – 147

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Pages and Forum Topics Google Thinks are Relevant to Your Mental Health

Full US PI sheet, Global SPCs & PILs, Other Consumer Review & Rating Sites, and Other Sites that may be of Interest

Effexor’s Full US Prescribing Information / PI Sheet

Prescribing Information and Patient Information from Around the World

PI = Prescribing Information PIL = Patient Information Leaflet PM = Product Monograph SPC = Summary of Product Characteristics CMI = Consumer Medicine/Medical Information MDS = Medicine Data Sheet EPAR = European Public Assessment Reports
See the page on how to read our drug guides for detailed translations and explanations of these and other prescribing information-related initialisms & acronyms.

Other Review Sites

Other Sites of Interest

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Discussion board

If you have any questions not answered here, please see the Crazymeds Effexor discussion board. Return to Table of Contents

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  1. Mood switch in bipolar depression: comparison of adjunctive venlafaxine, bupropion and sertraline. The British Journal of Psychiatry (2006) 189:124-131 R. M. Post, MD; L. L. Altshuler, MD; G. S. Leverich, MSW; M. A. Frye, MD; W. A. Nolen, MD; R. W. Kupka, MD, PhD; T. Suppes, MD; S. McElroy, MD and P. E. Keck, MD; K. D. Denicoff, MD; H. Grunze, MD; J. Walden, MD; C. M. R. Kitchen, PhD; J. Mintz, PhD
  2. Antidepressants in Bipolar Disorder: No Benefit, Possible Harm medscape.com May 30, 2013 Caroline Cassels
  3. Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Trials of Venlafaxine for Hot Flashes After Breast Cancer The Oncologist January 2007 vol. 12 no. 1 124-135 Janet S. Carpenter, Anna Maria Storniolo, Shelley Johns, Patrick O. Monahan, Faouzi Azzouz, Julie L. Elam, Cynthia S. Johnson and Richard C. Shelton
  4. Prophylaxis of migraine: open study with venlafaxine in 42 patients Arq. Neuro-Psiquiatr. vol.56 n.4 São Paulo Dec. 1998 Dr. Estevão Demétrio Nascimento
  5. Venlafaxine versus amitriptyline in the prophylactic treatment of migraine: randomized, double-blind, crossover study Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery 107 (2004) 44–48 Serpil Bulut, M. Said Berilgen, Aslihan Baran, Aslan Tekatas, Murad Atmaca, Bulent Mungen
  6. Modification of morphine analgesia by venlafaxine in diabetic neuropathic pain model. Pharmacological Reports 2012, 64, 1267–-1275 Cegielska-Perun K, Bujalska-Zadrożny M, Makulska-Nowak HE.
  7. Efficacy and tolerability of venlafaxine extended release in patients with major depressive disorder. Psychiatria Danubina, 2010; Vol. 22, No. 3, pp 413–417 Plesničar BK
  8. Assessing Rates and Predictors of Tachyphylaxis During the Prevention of Recurrent Episodes of Depression With Venlafaxine ER for Two Years (PREVENT) Study. Psychopharmacol Bull. 2009; 42(3): 5–20. Dr. Anthony J. Rothschild, MD, Dr. Boadie W. Dunlop, MD, Dr. David L. Dunner, MD, Dr. Edward S. Friedman, MD, Dr. Alan Gelenberg, MD, Dr. Peter Holland, MD, Dr. James H. Kocsis, MD, Dr. Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Dr. Richard Shelton, MD, Dr. Madhukar H. Trivedi, MD, Dr. John M. Zajecka, MD, Dr. Corey Goldstein, MD, Dr. Michael E. Thase, MD, Dr. Ron Pedersen, MD, and Dr. Martin B. Keller, MD
  9. Psychopharmacology Research Tutorial for Practitioners - Antidepressant Drugs: Is a Dual Mechanism Better? Primary Psychiatry 2004;11(8):17-18 Donald S. Robinson, MD
  10. Stahl, Stephen M. Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology: Neuroscientific Basis and Practical Applications (Essential Psychopharmacology Series) Third edition Cambridge University Press 2008. ISBN:978–0521673761
  11. Julien, Robert M. Ph.D, Claire D. Advokat, and Joseph Comaty Primer of Drug Action: A comprehensive guide to the actions, uses, and side effects of psychoactive drugs 12th edition Worth Publishers 2011. ISBN:978–1429233439
  12. Diamond, Ronald J., MD Instant Psychopharmacology 2nd Edition W.W. Norton 2002. ISBN:978–0393703917
  13. Drummond, Edward, MD The Complete Guide to Psychiatric Drugs John Wiley & Sons 2000. ISBN:0471353701
  14. Effexor Prescribing Information
  15. Mosby’s Drug Consult 2007 (Generic Prescription Physician’s Reference Book Series) © 2007 An imprint of Elsevier.
  16. PDR: Physicians’ Desk Reference 2010 64th edition
  17. Healing Anxiety & Depression Daniel G. Amen, M.D., and Lisa C. Routh, M.D. © 2003. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
  18. Dutch Patient Information Leaflet. Last retrieved 07 November 2014

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1 No, really. Hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms are common side effects of treatments for prostate and testicular cancers. And men like my father's step-father get breast cancer, too. This message of oncological gender equality is brought to you by the "Gosh, Men Have It Rough, Don't They?" Foundation.

2 Although this may have something to do with the hypothesis that SSRIs & SNRIs work better for women while TCAs work better for men. While I buy into it, it is a fringe hypothesis, the data are still a bit sketchy, and it may be more truthiness than fact.

3 Although it doesn't taste anywhere near as good as lithium citrate syrup, but it is on par with chewable Lamictal.

4 While classified as a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, the data are mixed when it comes to dopamine. Effexor may or may not have a therapeutic effect, albeit a minor one, on dopamine at a dosage above 300mg a day.

5 That's the term for a substance that isn't a chemical salt, such as venlafaxine hydrochloride or citalopram hydrobromide. Most antidepressants are salts, while most antiepileptic drugs and antipsychotics are not.

6 Seriously. They're practically psychopharmaceutical homeopathic remedies.

7 As well as being an indication of half of said conditions.

8 Based on Julien's calculations from A Primer of Drug Action, the half-life multiplied by five is the generally accepted estimate of how long it takes a single dose of any given drug to be eliminated from the blood stream/plasma of someone with a normal metabolism. That's also the rough estimate for steady state if they can't get, or won't provide a number for that.

9 For crazy meds. I have no idea what the average complete clearance is for other types of medications. For all I know there are drugs that utterly vanish from your system in under five passes, and others that won't let go of your squishy bits for years after you stop taking them.

10 I love how this translates to "Possibly effective."

11 As with Celica in Australia, I don't know how a drug company can, or why they would name one of their products after a car.

12 Doesn't Venalax, or anything ending with "alax" sound like a laxative? Given how SNRIs are much more likely to cause constipation than diarrhea that's another example of ironic branding.

13 Ironically, not a trade name in Iran.

14 Google translates this name to "Renal events." I guess anyone with kidney problems should avoid this one.

15 Translates to "raven", so they must be going after whatever the Korean equivalent to Goth is.

16 This one must be specifically for people with blonde hair.

17 Well, it is approved to treat anxiety.

18 I've also seen venlafaxini hydrochloridum as the active ingredient of some central- and eastern-European generics. I don't know enough (i.e. anything) about Latin to know if that is even correct usage or not. Let alone if venlafaxinum is correct. Latin generic names are all bullshit as far as I'm concerned.

19 Stahl will combine it with Remeron - a cocktail he calls "California Rocket Fuel" - for his patients who are truly, and dangerously alt.depressed.as.fuck, and who have not responded to anything else.

20 Thank you! I'll be here all weak. Be sure to tip your content provider. And don't try the veal, it's cruelicious!

If you have any questions not answered here, please see the Crazymeds Effexor discussion board. We welcome criticisms of the articles, notifications of bad links, site problems, consumer experiences with medications, etc. I’m not always able to write back. Hence I never answer questions about meds via e-mail that are answered by this or other articles. Especially if they have been repeatedly asked on the forum. That’s why we write these damn things. Questions about which meds are best for your condition should also be asked on the forum; because this is a free site, so the price of admission is making things easier for somebody else searching for the same answer. We don’t deal with children on the forum or in private because after doing this for ten years I don’t have the emotional stamina to deal with kids who have brain cooties. How to contact Crazymeds. — Jerod Poore, CME, Publisher Crazymeds (crazymeds.us)

Last modified on Wednesday, 04 May, 2016 at 17:11:29 by JerodPoorePage Author Date created Monday, 25 April, 2011 at 11:53:36
“Effexor (venlafaxine): a Review for the Educated Consumer.” by Jerod Poore is copyright © 2011 Jerod Poore Published online 2011/04/25
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Effexor, and all other drug names on this page and used throughout the site, are a trademark of someone else. Effexor’s PI Sheet will probably have the name of the manufacturer and trademark owner (they’re not always the same company) at or near the very bottom. Or ask Google who the owner is. The way pharmaceutical companies buy each other and swap products like Monopoly™ real estate, the ownership of the trademark may have changed without my noticing. It may of changed hands by the time you finished reading this article.

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Almost all of the material on this site is by Jerod Poore and is copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Jerod Poore. Except, of course, the PI sheets - those are the property of the drug companies who developed the drugs the sheets are about - and any documents that are written by other people which may be posted to this site will remain the property of the original authors. You cannot reproduce this page or any other material on this site outside of the boundaries of fair use copying without the express permission of the copyright holder. That’s usually me, so just ask first. That means if want to print out a few pages to take to your doctor, therapist, counselor, support group, non-understanding family members or something like that - then that’s OK to just do. Go for it! Please. As long as you include this copyright notice and something along the lines of following disclaimer, I’m usually cool with it.

All rights reserved. No warranty is expressed or implied in this information. Consult one or more doctors and/or pharmacists before taking, or changing how you take any neurological and/or psychiatric medication. Your mileage may vary. What happened to us won’t necessarily happen to you. If you still have questions about a medication or condition that were not answered on any of the pages you read, please ask them on Crazy Talk: the Crazymeds Forum.
The information on Crazymeds pertains to and is intended for adults. While some information about children and adolescents is occasionally presented (e.g. US FDA approvals), pediatric-specific data such as dosages, side effects, off-label applications, etc. are rarely included in the articles on drugs or discussed on the forum. If you are looking for information regarding meds for children you’ll have to go somewhere else. Plus we are big pottymouths and talk about S-E-X a lot.
Know your sources!
Nobody on this site is a doctor, a therapist, or a pharmacist. We don’t portray them either here or on TV. Only doctors can diagnose and treat an illness. While it’s not as bad as it used to be, some doctors still get pissed off by patients who know too much about medications, so tread lightly when and where appropriate. Diagnosing yourself from a website is like defending yourself in court, you suddenly have a fool for a doctor. Don’t be a cyberchondriac, thinking you have every disease you see a website about, or that you’ll get every side effect from every medication1. Self-prescribing is as dangerous as buying meds from fraudulent online pharmacies that promise you medications without prescriptions.
All information on this site has been obtained from the medications’ product information / summary of product characteristic (PI/SPC) sheets and/or medication guides - which is all you get from sites like WebMD, RxList, NAMBLA NAMI, etc., the sources that are referenced throughout the site, our personal experience and the experiences family, friends, and what people have reported on various reputable sites all over teh intergoogles. As such the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for real medical advice from your real doctor, just a compliment to it. You should never, ever, replace what a real doctor tells you with something from a website on the Internet. The farthest you should ever take it is getting a second opinion from another real doctor. Educate yourself - always read the PI/SPC sheet or medication guide/patient information leaflet (PIL) that comes with your medications and never ever throw them away. OK, you can throw away duplicate copies, but keep at least one, as that’s your proof of purchase of having taken a med in case a doctor doubts your medical history. Plus they take up less space than a bottle, although keeping one inside of a pill bottle is even better.
Crazymeds is not responsible for the content of sites we provide links to. We like them, or they’re paid advertisements, or they’re something else we think you should read to help you make an informed decision about a particular med. Sometimes they’re more than one of those things. But what’s on those sites is their business, not ours.
Very little information about visitors to this site is collected or saved. From time to time I look at search terms used and which pages they bring up in an effort to make the information I present more relevant. And the country of origin, just because I’m geeky like that. That’s about it. Depending on how you feel about Schrodinger, our privacy policy should either assuage or exacerbate your paranoia.
Crazymeds is optimized for ridiculously large screens and browsers that don’t block ads. I use Firefox and Chrome, running under Windows 72. On a computer that sits on top of my desk. With a 23 inch monitor. Hey, at least you can make the text larger or smaller by clicking on the + or - buttons in the upper right hand corner. If you have Java enabled. Like 99% of the websites on the planet, Crazymeds is hosted on domain running an open source operating system with a variety of open source applications, including the software used to display what you’ve been reading. As such Crazymeds is not responsible for whatever weird shit your browser does or does not do when you read this site3.
Crazymeds now uses a secure server, but it is not so secure that you can discuss anything having to do with nuclear power facilities, air traffic control systems, aircraft navigation systems, weapons control systems, or any other system requiring failsafe operation whose failure could lead to injury, death or environmental damage. Just so you know. So if you’re mentally interesting and have a job that deals with that sort of thing, talk about said job elsewhere. Otherwise feel free to discuss your meds and brain cooties.
No neurologists, psychiatrists, therapists or pharmacists were harmed in the production of this website. Use only as directed. Void where prohibited. Contains nuts. Certain restrictions may apply. All data are subject to availability. Not available on all mobile devices, in the 12 Galaxies Guiltied to a Zegnatronic Rocket Society, or in all dimensions of reality. Hail Xenu!

‘Everything is true, nothing is permitted.’ - Jerod Poore

1 While there are plenty of books to help you with hypochondria, for some reason there’s not much in the way of websites. Then again, staying off of the Internet is a large part of curing/managing the disorder.

2 Remember kids, Microsloth operating systems are like TOS Star Trek movies with in that every other one sucks way, way more. With TOS Star Trek movies you don’t want to bother watching the odd-numbered ones. With Microsloth OS you don’t want to buy and install the even-numbered ones. Anyone who remembers ME and Vista knows what I mean.

3 Have I mentioned how open source operating systems for commercial applications is one of the dumbest ideas in the history of dumb ideas?* I don’t even need my big-ass rant any more. Heartbleed has made my case for me. And that’s just the one that got all the media attention. The very nature of an open source operating system makes security as much of an illusion as anonymity on teh Intergoogles. Before you flip out too much: the domain Crazymeds is hosted on uses a version of SSL that is not affected by the Heartbleed bug. That’s one of the many reasons why I pay a lot of money and keep this site on Lunarpages.

* Yes, I know I’m using open source browsers. I also test the site using the now-defunct IE and Safari browsers. Their popularity - and superiority - killed IE and Safari, so that’s why I rely on the open source browsers. It’s like brand vs. generic meds. Sometimes the generic is better than the brand.

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