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About venlafaxine

Venlafaxine is from of a group of antidepressants called serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs. It is thought to work by increasing the levels of mood-enhancing chemicals called serotonin and noradrenaline in the brain.

It’s used to treat depression and sometimes anxiety and panic attacks.

Venlafaxine can help people recover from depression, and has fewer side effects than some older antidepressants.

It comes as tablets and capsules which are available only on prescription.

Key facts

  • It usually takes 4 to 6 weeks for venlafaxine to work fully, although you should start to feel better after 1 to 2 weeks.
  • Side effects such as feeling sick, headaches, sweating, and dry mouth are common. They are usually mild and go away after a couple of weeks.
  • If you and your doctor decide to take you off venlafaxine, your doctor will recommend reducing your dose gradually to help prevent withdrawal symptoms.
  • Venlafaxine can make your heart beat faster or cause an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), so your doctor may not think it is suitable if you are already taking medicine for your heart
  • Venlafaxine will not change your personality, it will simply help you feel like yourself again.

Page last reviewed: 10 February 2022
Next review due: 10 February 2025