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Does effexor cause shortness of breath?

10 Answers

WildcatVet 18 Jan 2022

A common side effect:
Common (1% to 10% of users): Bronchitis, cough increased, DYSPNEA, pharyngitis, sinusitis, yawn/yawning"

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Lobo187 18 Jan 2022

I think in certainly does in my case. I have been on Effexor XR 75mg for 14 years. I was diagnosed in 2018 with sleep apnoea, but what was called Central Apnoea - which is a shallowness of breath to the point that it gets picked up as an obstruction.

I came off Effexor for 5 months, which caused some weight loss and my sleep apnoea to all but disappear. I was then prescribed Pristiq, which saw my breathing return to shallow, both asleep and noticeably whilst awake. I went from 5 reportable apnoea events in one night while off Effexor, to nearly 200 on Pristiq.

It is certainly my experience that Effexor and Pristiq both cause shallow breathing (Respiratory Depression) in me and I'm about to address the issue through medical professionals. Basically - I stop breathing in the night, and sometimes during the day, when taking venlafaxine. I don't have the problem when not medicated - but the investigation is just starting.

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asgio2001 7 May 2019

Please read the literature carefully, and be aware of the RARE but real, possibility of Interstitial Lung Disease as a result of Effexor and other related drugs causing this disease. The main point here is to bring this to the attention of your physician , as most will not be aware of this or think of it as a consequence of Effexor (and related drugs) therapy. Again, it is RARE, but a possibility, so it should NOT be ignored.

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Skydancer1962 7 June 2017

I experienced every single complication you mentioned and Effexor 75mg ER 2xx per day is only one of two "new" meds I was prescribed in the last 3 months. Otherwise, I'm only taking a b/p med and prilosec that I've been on for years.

The other med was a blood thinner after recent surgery, ClopidigreI. I was so was so desperate, that while my doctor was sure it wasn't either, I went off both of them one week at a time. I stopped the blood thinner the first week and continued the Effexor. No change. So I resumed taking the blood thinner the second week and stopped the Effexor. I was immediately better the week I was off the Effexor. I mean, by the next morning I noticed a difference, and 2 days later I was symptom free.


After one month of no Effexor, and with a Dr appointment at the end of the week, I took it yesterday just to see. I could not make it to the coffeepot this morning without stopping and gasping for breath a few times. This horrible struggle to breathe as I move around has passed as my day has progressed. So I absolutely KNOW that Effexor was the culprit.
Thank you for letting me add my voice to this conversation.

Votes: +0
Ozzer 25 Jan 2017

I'm on effexor and I have trouble breathing constantly. I went to my doctor, thinking it was asthma, but they told me it was probably just anxiety (though I'm skeptical). It constantly feels like there's a weight on my chest, or like my lungs just aren't big enough to take in the nessesary amount of air. It gets espically bad in high humidity and its progressed to the point where I can no longer take warm showers because I'm constantly afraid I'll suffocate, or pass out and bash my skull in on the bathroom tile.
I did some reading on other forums and apparently other effexor users (and users of other antidepressants) have had strickingly similar issues.

Votes: +0
schoile 9 March 2018

Yeah i have had the sensation of not being able to get enough air into my lungs and i wondered if i was developing asthma. I have come across research papers linking venlafaxine to interstitial lung disease. I used to be on effexor xl and did not seem to have any problems with the sensation in my lungs but they have changed me to vensir xl - a cheaper generic version. Iam gradually reducing my prescription of vensir xl and I have noticed that the restricted feeling in my lungs has definitely reduced and i am not having as many episodes of restless leg. I have not gone to the doctor as i know she will more than likely tell me it is anxiety and they are not happy about moving me back to effexor as it is more expensive.

Hunta 17 May 2018

My Dr. put me on effexor to help with pain and depression. He started me out on 35mg and when it didn't work he increased it to 75mg. I told him that I was having night sweats, dry mouth trouble sleeping and "brain zaps" near the time of my next dose. I also told him that after starting effexor that I had trouble breathing, it felt like someone had put bricks on my chest or was trying to suffocate me. He made it seem like it wasn't the effexor and something was wrong with me. That's why he wanted to increase the dose for "my best interests" , so I listened to him and he increased my dose to 150mg his goal was to increase it to 300 mg. I couldn't handle the 150mg, my SOB got worse till I could barely walk anywhere. I would pass out and my husband would frantically try to wake me up. I told my Dr my symptoms and he told me that he didn't think it was the effexor and he wanted to keep increasing my dose.


I don't take any other meds and the side effects didn't start till after the effexor. I wanted to breath better again so I slowly weaned myself off the effexor with the help of my neurologist, who also agreed it was the effexor and told me to get off of it. A few weeks after weaning off it my breathing improved dramatically. Most of the side effects went away, but from time to time I still get brain zaps and weakness the effexor left me with I'm still recovering from. So, please get a second opinion before taking Effexor because the side effects and withdrawal from Effexor are real. And get another more competent Dr if they tell you otherwise. Effexor may work for some people, but not for all. The Dr's get incentives to push Effexor on their patients, so it doesn't bother them to experiment on you. But they don't have to live with nor can they undo the damage that it causes.

Pansy404 6 Sep 2013

I have been on 150mg of Effexor XR for years and have never experienced shortness of breath.

It may be that you are experiencing a rare side effect of the medication. To put your mind at rest you must see a doctor, only they can advise what is causing your problem.

Let us know how you get on.

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Whitecd39 5 Sep 2013

I've been on Effexor 15mg for almost a year. I haven't experienced shortness of breath. I hope this helps you.

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Whitecd39 5 Sep 2013

I meant to type 150 mg daily

endlessPred 5 Sep 2013

Chest X-ray may show proper information including an undiscovered lung disease or pneumonia. Anxiety, as stated, or panic attacks can do this.

According to information on the drug, it is a very rare side effect. Either way see a physician to find the reason.

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Kitty 5 Sep 2013

I've not had that experience with Effexor. Are you sure it's not anxiety? Judy

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Inactive 5 Sep 2013

Hello drbenbarnard. No, not to my knowledge. However if you believe that it might be the cause, ( it possibly might very well be a severe reaction) please see your prescribing physician. Regards pledge

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