Q. Is Effexor safe for chronic anxiety?

Answered by
Dr. Ramchandra Lamba
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 20, 2018 and last reviewed on: Nov 17, 2018

Hello doctor,

I am a 34-year-old woman, and I have chronic anxiety that is getting worse and worse as years go by. Yesterday was the first day I went to a psychiatrist. He told me that I have a generalized anxiety disorder, and he prescribed me Effexor, and he said that it is a beta-blocker. He said that there are no side effects or addiction to this drug, and I should take it for about a year. But from what I read online afterward, I read severe side effects, such as constipation, liver damage, etc. and also severe problems when you try to stop it, like brain zaps, losing conscience, etc. Can you give me a second opinion on this drug? I am going to call the doctor that prescribed as well, but I would like to have another opinion.

I have a lot of anxiety to the point where my hands-feet-armpits are almost throughout the day sweating. When I am calm, I am not sweating and I do not have hyperthyroidism problems. Six months ago I had a panic attack where I thought I was going to die and it lasted for about three to four minutes. I have tried Minitran.



Welcome to

Effexor (Venlafaxine) is SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) class of drug that is used to treat depression, anxiety disorder, and panic attacks. This drug is helpful in managing your problem but as you mentioned it has few side effects but usually go away with time and when you try to stop it, you need to slowly taper its dose and then stop. If you stop it suddenly without tapering the doses it causes the discontinuation symptoms as mentioned by you.

A similar drug called Desvenlafaxine or drug from SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) class like Paroxetine or Escitalopram are also good alternatives for you. So discuss side effects of these and then decide which drug suits you better, as the efficacy of these drugs is almost equal but side effects are different, so based on side effects profile you need to choose your drug. Hope this clarifies your concern.

For more information consult a psychiatrist online -->

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