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US brand name: Effexor
Generic name: venlafaxine

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 neurotransmitters1, 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.


  • 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.

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

Raw, freebase2 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-water3 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.

Best Known for

The discontinuation syndrome from hell.

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1 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.

2 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.

3 Seriously. They're practically psychopharmaceutical homeopathic remedies.

Last modified on Wed, 04 May, 2016 at 17:11:29 by JerodPoorePage Author Date created Monday, 25 April, 2011 at 11:53:36
“Effexor (venlafaxine): Pros and Cons” by Jerod Poore is copyright © 2011 Jerod Poore Published online 2011/04/25

Effexor, and all other drug names on this page and used throughout the site, are the trademarks 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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