Venlafaxine ER for anxiety & depression.

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Is venlafaxine ER right for you?

There are many different types of depression and anxiety medications, and it’s important to find the one that’s right for you. At Brightside, we’re here to help. Our providers are knowledgeable about each type of medication for anxiety and depression and specialize in finding the best fit for your individual needs. As part of your treatment, your provider may recommend a medication called venlafaxine ER to help you feel better.

Venlafaxine ER is a commonly used medication for symptoms of anxiety and depression. Below, we offer some helpful information about venlafaxine ER so you can work with your provider to determine if it’s right for you and make an informed decision about your care.

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Mimi Winsberg, MD

Chief Medical Officer
Stanford-trained Psychiatrist with 25 years of practice

Get a venlafaxine ER prescription and ongoing anxiety & depression care for only $95 / month.

What’s included in a Brightside Medication Membership:

  • Ongoing support from an expert psychiatric provider
  • Unlimited daily messaging & video follow-ups
  • Free monthly medication delivery
  • Regular progress tracking

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Getting started is simple.

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Step 1

Fill out our free mental health assessment.

Start with a clinically-proven set of questions to shed light on how you’re feeling. We’ll help you understand your symptoms, then recommend the best treatment plan for you–including medication, therapy, or both.

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Step 2

Connect with your provider for a personalized treatment plan.

Get matched with an expert provider for an online video consultation. Share how you’re feeling and then decide on next steps–together.

If prescribed, your medication will be delivered to your door monthly.

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Step 3

Make progress and start feeling better.

Stay in touch with with unlimited messaging, plus monthly video sessions with your Therapist and unlimited video consults with your Psychiatric Provider.

Then measure your progress with regular check-ins to monitor your symptoms and make adjustments until your treatment is right for you.

Everything you need to know about venlafaxine ER

What is venlafaxine ER, and how does it work?

Venlafaxine ER is a type of antidepressant called a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). This prescription medication can boost levels of serotonin and norepinephrine—neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers, in your brain that affect your mood.

Serotonin creates feelings of well-being, and norepinephrine promotes alertness and energy.

Venlafaxine ER works by maintaining healthy levels of these neurotransmitters in your brain, making you feel better and improving symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Venlafaxine ER is an extended-release capsule. This means the medication dissolves slowly, releasing medication over a longer period of time.

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What conditions does venlafaxine ER treat?

At Brightside, our psychiatric providers specialize in personalizing treatment for each person. We give you personal attention and expert advice you can count on—and explain all your options and use our expertise to find the medication that’s right for you. It’s important that you understand how medications work and what to expect so that your treatment is worry-free.

If your Brightside provider prescribes venlafaxine ER, they will explain how it’s used as a treatment for a number of conditions, including:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Phobia
  • Social anxiety

Venlafaxine ER has also been used to treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. The medication has also been used to treat hot flashes, diabetic neuropathy, and migraine.

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What symptoms can venlafaxine ER help treat?

If you have anxiety or depression, venlafaxine ER can help. We use venlafaxine to:

  • Improve your ability to handle social situations
  • Improve your mood
  • Reduce worry
  • You may notice improved sleep, as venlafaxine ER can reduce anxiousness.

Making sense of different medications, their uses, benefits, and side effects can be challenging. That’s where we can help. Brightside providers have an in-depth knowledge of the strengths and drawbacks of each medication. You’ll get all the information you need to make an informed choice about your treatment.

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Will venlafaxine ER work for me?

At Brightside, we can help you find the right treatment to help you feel better. Many different factors influence how you respond to medication. We understand that you may have questions about taking a new medication and whether it will help you. You’re not alone—many patients have similar questions.

Venlafaxine ER takes time to build up in your system to become effective. It may be weeks before you feel the maximum benefit of this medication. Your provider may combine venlafaxine ER with other medications to treat your condition.

Before starting a new medication like venlafaxine ER, it’s important to get a comprehensive health assessment from a provider who understands your health history. You should only take venlafaxine ER if a qualified psychiatric provider prescribed it for you.

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How long do people generally take venlafaxine ER?

Before you start taking venlafaxine ER, you may have some questions about how long you’ll need to take this medication. The length of time you need to take venlafaxine ER will depend on your diagnosis and specific symptoms. Your provider may prescribe this medication for up to a year after your depression or anxiety symptoms have gone away.

Your Brightside provider will work with you to determine what course of treatment is best for your specific needs. Most importantly, we recommend that you keep taking your medication until your provider says it’s time to stop—even after you start to feel better.

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How effective is venlafaxine ER?

Studies have shown that antidepressants relieve symptoms of depression about 40-60% of the time, and additional treatments (such as therapy and lifestyle improvements) on top of medication often lead to the best outcomes.

To get the best results with medication, it’s important to consistently measure progress during treatment. This is known as Measurement Based Care, and it’s the approach we use at Brightside. It’s common to adjust the dose and/or medication when starting antidepressants until you find just the right fit.

Venlafaxine ER has been successfully used to treat depression and anxiety in adults for decades. How well venlafaxine ER works for you may depend on the severity of your depression or anxiety. 

Research has shown that venlafaxine ER is effective at treating anxiety symptoms in people with major depressive disorder.

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Does venlafaxine ER change my personality?

Many people worry that antidepressants will alter their personality or change who they are. As long as you’re taking the right dosage, venlafaxine ER will not change your personality or blunt your emotions. Actually, it will help you feel like yourself again by improving your mood, reducing your anxiety, and helping you let go of worries.

Just remember that your symptoms won’t improve overnight. Keep taking your medication as prescribed—even when you start to feel better—and talk to your Brightside provider if you have any questions or concerns.

Are there side effects associated with venlafaxine ER?

When prescribing any medication, our providers work to make sure you experience as few side effects as possible.

It is not uncommon to experience side effects from venlafaxine ER. Most side effects from venlafaxine ER are temporary. Talk to your provider if any of these symptoms become severe or don’t go away:

  • Changes in sex drive or ability
  • Changes to the way things taste
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty urinating or frequent urination
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness, weakness, or tiredness
  • Dry mouth
  • Gas, burping, or heartburn
  • Headaches
  • Hot flashes, flushing, or sweating
  • Increased pupil size
  • Muscle tightness
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Nightmares 
  • Pain, burning, numbness, or tingling
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Sore throat, chills, or other signs of infection
  • Stomach pain
  • Twitching
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Weight loss or decreased appetite
  • Yawning

In rare cases, venlafaxine ER can also cause severe side effects. Contact your provider if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Coordination problems 
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Eye pain or redness
  • Fever, sweating, or confusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Rash, hives, or itching
  • Seizures
  • Severe muscle stiffness
  • Small purple spots on the skin
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising

Before taking venlafaxine ER, tell your provider if you are taking or recently stopped taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as phenelzine, selegiline, tranylcypromine, or isocarboxazid. MAOIs are often prescribed to treat depression, Parkinson’s disease, or bipolar disorder. Combining venlafaxine ER with an MAOI or other medication classes, including antipsychotics and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), can lead to a severe reaction, including high body temperature, muscle rigidity, and rapid changes in heart rate and blood pressure.


At Brightside, your health and safety are our highest priorities. We make sure you get individual attention and guidance to make sure you feel your best.

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Does venlafaxine ER have withdrawal symptoms?

Antidepressants are not physiologically or psychologically addictive, but they can cause a discontinuation syndrome if stopped abruptly.

The discontinuation syndrome is a consequence of abruptly stopping certain types of antidepressants––particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

Discontinuation syndrome can include a range of symptoms that may occur in patients who suddenly stop their SSRIs or SNRIs. These are the most common symptoms of discontinuation syndrome:

  • Feeling anxious
  • Feelings of vertigo
  • Odd sensory symptoms, such as tingling feelings in the skin or what some people describe as a “zapping” sensation in the brain
  • Trouble sleeping

Make sure to talk to your provider before stopping or changing how you take your medication so they can create a plan that gives your body enough time to adjust. This will keep you feeling well and prevent symptoms from returning.

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Can I take venlafaxine ER during pregnancy or while nursing?

If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are nursing, please talk to your provider before starting or making any changes to a medication. For some, the benefits of staying on an antidepressant during pregnancy can outweigh the potential risks.

Some studies suggest that venlafaxine use during early pregnancy contributes to birth defects at a higher rate compared to other antidepressant use.

 Venlafaxine ER does pass into breast milk. Talk to your health care provider about your breastfeeding questions.

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Is venlafaxine ER addictive?

Venlafaxine ER is generally considered non-addictive and is not habit-forming. However, it’s important to remember that you may still experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it suddenly.

What does the FDA say about venlafaxine ER?

You can view the FDA black box warning for venlafaxine ER here. If you have questions about whether the black box warning for venlafaxine ER applies to you, please talk to your provider.

Conditions we treat with venlafaxine ER

Brightside Psychiatric Providers prescribe venlafaxine ER alongside other medicines to treat conditions including:
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