What Is Venlafaxine Used For?

Many people may wonder, "What is venlafaxine used for?" Venlafaxine is prescribed to treat depression in adults. Antidepressant medications, such as venlafaxine, are often used along with counseling or therapy to treat depression. Occasionally, venlafaxine can also be used "off-label" for the treatment of other conditions, such as fibromyalgia, hot flashes during menopause, diabetic neuropathy, or obesity.

What Is Venlafaxine Used For? -- An Overview

Venlafaxine hydrochloride is a prescription medication used to treat depression. It is sold under the brand name Effexor®. It is also available as a generic, sold as Venlafaxine tablets. Finally, there is an extended release form of venlafaxine available as Effexor XR®. There is no generic Effexor XR available.
This article will discuss venlafaxine.
(Click Effexor Uses or Effexor XR Uses for specific information on the other medicines mentioned above.)

Venlafaxine as Treatment for Depression

Venlafaxine has been licensed to treat depression. Depression is more than just "feeling sad." Some common symptoms of depression include:
  • Changes in sleep (sleeping too much or not enough)
  • Eating too much or too little (and weight gain or weight loss)
  • Having little interest in things that you used to enjoy
  • Physical pain
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Suicidal thoughts.


In large clinical trials, venlafaxine has been proven to help adults with depression. However, it is important keep in mind that many antidepressants (including venlafaxine) take several weeks to begin working. Sometimes, other people will notice an improvement in your depression symptoms before you do. Often, the physical symptoms of depression (such as pain or changes in sleep) will improve first, sometimes within the first few weeks of treatment. It usually takes at least four to six weeks before significant changes in mood occur. It is important to give venlafaxine a chance to work before becoming discouraged.
Counseling and therapy (see Psychotherapy for Depression) are often used along with antidepressant medication to treat depression. Ask your healthcare provider if counseling or therapy would be good options for you (see Depression Treatment).
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Venlafaxine HCl

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