National Stroke Foundation

Effexor (venlafaxin HCL)

The following drug information is obtained from various newswires, published medical journal articles, and medical conference presentations.


Approval Status:

Approved March 1999

Specific Treatments:


Therapeutic Areas

General Information

Effexor was approved for the treatment of depression in 1993. Effexor increases the levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine (two neurotransmitters though to cause the symptoms of depression) in the brain.

Effexor's latest approval is for the treatment of anxiety disorder. It is estimated that 95% of people with depression experience at least one symptom of anxiety, including excessive or uncontrollable worry, apprehension, irritability, and muscle tension. Studies suggest that co-morbid depression and anxiety may have an impact on a patient's social functioning and is associated with a 30% to 60% increase in the utilization of healthcare services.

Side Effects

Some of the side effects of Effexor include the following:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • weight loss
  • constipation
  • blurry vision
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • increased blood pressure

Mechanism of Action

Effexor affects various neuro chemicals in the body which are responsible for nervous system regulation. It inhibits specifically norepinephrine and serotonin reuptake, and also weakly inhibits dopamine reuptake. The net result is more neuro chemicals circulating in the nervous system.

Additional Information

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Issues

If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss the potential risks of this or any medication with your doctor.

It is also recommended that you talk to your doctor about Effexor if you have: high blood pressure, heart, liver, or kidney disease.