Effexor (Venlafaxine) Prescription Facts & Regulations

Effexor is a prescription medication that is used to treat depression, generalized anxiety disorder and social phobias. Also known by its generic name as venlafaxine, this drug is classified as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), which works by helping to restore the balance of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. By doing this, a person diagnosed with depression may exhibit improved mood and energy levels.

It is essential that you read the medication guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using Effexor. It should always be taken by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually two to three times daily with food. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may start you out at a low dosage and gradually increase as you build a tolerance (it will range anywhere from 37.5 mg to 300 mg). It may take several weeks to feel the benefit of this medication, so be sure to take it every day around the same time for best results.

Most Commonly Abused Drugs Containing Effexor (Venlafaxine)

  • Alventa XL
  • Depefex X
  • Effexor XL
  • Politid XL
  • Rodomel XL
  • Sunveniz XL
  • Tonpular XL
  • Venaxx XL
  • Vencarm XL
  • Venlablue XL
  • Venladex XL
  • Venlalic XL
  • Venlasov XL
  • Vensir XL
  • ViePax XL

How Effexor (Venlafaxine) Affects The Brain And Body

Effexor works by enhancing the activity of the neurotransmitters serotonin and noradrenaline in the brain. These neurotransmitters are natural chemicals found in the body, and they act as chemical messengers between the nerve cells. Serotonin and noradrenaline are neurotransmitters that are involved in regulating emotions, mood and behavior — therefore, in people experiencing signs of depression and anxiety, there is generally less of these neurotransmitters released from nerve cells in the brain.

Norepinephrine is a stress hormone, controlling parts of the brain related to attention and response and “fight or flight.” It also increases heart rate, triggers the release of glucose from energy stores and boosts blood flow to muscles. Serotonin controls other processes within the brain, including mood, emotions, anxiety, aggression, sleep, appetite, perceptions and memory. In other words, they play a critical role in maintaining a person’s well-being.

Venlafaxine works by preventing or inhibiting the reabsorption of these neurotransmitters — serotonin and noradrenaline — back into the nerve cells of the brain. Over time, this process helps to relieve depression, anxiety and fear. It does not, however, change your personality or make you feel like a new person. It simply works by getting you back to your normal self: the person you were before feeling crippled by fear and anxiety.

How Long Does Effexor (Venlafaxine) Stay In Your System?

Most people wonder how long it will take for a drug to fully leave their system. To determine how long Effexor stays in your system, it is necessary to understand the metabolite of its active ingredient: venlafaxine. You must first know about a drug’s half-life, which is the time taken for the plasma concentration to reduce to half its original value. The half-life of Effexor is approximately 5 hours (+/- 2 hours), which is extremely short compared to other antidepressants. It also means that if you took a 50-mg venlafaxine tablet at 5 pm, then by 10 pm, there would be 25 mg remaining in your system, and by 3 am, there would be 12.5 mg remaining in your system, and so on, until the tablet is fully cleared from your system.

Factors That Influence How Long Effexor (Venlafaxine) Stays In Your System

The overall average is around less than two days, though it depends on a variety of factors.

Individual factors such as age, body composition, genetics and liver function play a critical role in how long it takes to flush venlafaxine out of your system. This can explain why two people who take Effexor at the same dose, starting on the exact same day and quitting at the exact same time, will still not clear the drug at the same time.

Another factor is dosage. It is common knowledge that the greater the amount of a drug you ingest, the longer it will stay in your system. The person taking the lowest possible dose of Effexor a day will likely metabolize and excrete it quicker than someone taking the maximum dose. Though Venlafaxine doesn’t accumulate throughout tissues, high doses place a greater burden on the liver (for metabolism) and kidneys (for excretion). Since the body can only metabolize a certain amount of this drug at a time and the kidneys can only secrete a set amount at a time, those on greater doses will likely keep the drug in their systems longer.

There are also some drugs that interfere with metabolizing of Effexor, and they are known as “inducers” and “inhibitors.” Inhibitors tend to interfere with the enzyme that metabolizes venlafaxine, thus prolonging metabolism and excretion of the drug. Inducers, on the other hand, enhance activation of this enzyme, allowing for quicker metabolism and excretion of Effexor.

How Long Does Effexor (Venlafaxine) Stay In Your Urine, Hair, And Blood?

In regards to the factors above, we know that it can vary. However, to get the drug out of your system as quickly as possible, it is important to remember to stay hydrated, exercise and keep an acidic diet. The alkalinity of urine results in prolonged excretion and reabsorption of the drug. Manipulating your urinary pH to become more acidic through your diet could enhance the excretion of Effexor.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.