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User Reviews for Venlafaxine to treat Bipolar Disorder

Also known as: Effexor, Effexor XR

Venlafaxine has an average rating of 6.7 out of 10 from a total of 68 ratings for the treatment of Bipolar Disorder. 53% of reviewers reported a positive effect, while 26% reported a negative effect.

Venlafaxine Rating Summary

6.7/10 average rating

68 ratings from 69 user reviews.

Compare all 80 medications used in the treatment of Bipolar Disorder.

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35%
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7%
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12%
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4%
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Reviews for Venlafaxine

spaceshipaliengoddess · Taken for 10 years or more February 5, 2013

Effexor (venlafaxine): “If I was not on Effexor (in combination with Lithium & Seroquel), truthfully, I would not be here to write this. With investigation by my psychiatrist into my medical records, we identified I have been bipolar for 40 years. Many of them I was not treated, even though I spent three different times in a "mental" facility. The only identification for me was that I was a difficult and troubled person. When I finally met the psychiatrist I have today, with his help and his innate understanding of what bipolar is, it only took 3 or 4 different prescriptions to finally arrive at Effexor giving me the best overall help. As I mentioned earlier, this prescription has truly been a life saver. No bothersome side effects.”

10 / 10
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neverrvrrland · Taken for 6 months to 1 year September 14, 2020

“I had an 8 month mania where I lost large chunks of memory. Did terrible things and also had a reset to many of my abilities to handle the thought of pain in others or myself. I'm now a sensitive flower to the point where silly gory movies make me shake. I HATE this medicine. On top is made me super sick to my stomach.”

1 / 10
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Anonymous August 29, 2011

Effexor (venlafaxine): “Effexor has saved my life. I had depression and anxiety so bad, I couldn't function and was suicidal. Couldn't leave my house, I wouldn't leave my bedroom or eat for days at a time. Since taking the Effexor, I can't believe how much better I feel. I feel 100%, doing the things that I should be doing, just like everyone else.”

10 / 10
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Reka · Taken for 5 to 10 years March 4, 2021

“I have been using venlafaxine for about 10 years alongside with quetiapine, but at first my doctor didn't want to prescribe it in fear, that it will trigger a manic episode. The quetiapine was a lifesaver, but this helped me not using extra large doses of quetiapine in severe depressive episodes and it never triggered mania. The key is, to taper down gradually when you feel well, so that you can increase again in need. The same goes for quetiapine by the way.”

10 / 10
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Mum24 · Taken for 5 to 10 years March 22, 2016

“I have been on venlafaxine for almost 10 years. After being diagnosed with severe depression when I was in my twenties, I was prescribed Prozac on which I couldn't function, and then Paxil which worked okay at first. Several years later after years of both manic and depressive episodes, the worst full-blown manic episode got me re-diagnosed as bi-polar. I was prescribed venlafaxine, a very small dose which made me violently ill for over 2 weeks, but after that, it improved and I felt better. My dosage has been upped numerous times. I am now at 225 mg and have been for a couple of years. It has been a life saver. I feel like I have a new life; one without rages, anxiety, and depression. My family is much more stable now that I am stable.”

9 / 10
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66yr old December 28, 2020

“12 yes ago I started on Effexor having been assessed by a well practiced psychologist who recommended by my wonderful GP. The correct medication prescribed; dosage went from daily 175mg to 150mg to 75mg enabling me to function under difficult life challenges and moved from Australia to UK. When fast release unavailable in 2017 switched to slow release which worked well for me. I reduce my dose to 5 tablets a week with my UK GP’s support. During 2020 I have been reducing to 3 per week then 2 and now 1 with the intention of ceasing medication from start 2021. The only noticeable side effect since reducing down to one a week is muscle and joint ache. I am in good physical shape and walk daily av. 25000 steps. Non smoker and non drinker. Close friends will monitor me. Fast forward to today, exactly 12 years on from that life saving appointment. I took my last tablet I now living a personal dream life.”

10 / 10
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sampsy345 · Taken for 6 months to 1 year March 20, 2020

“I'm a 21 year old female and I've been suffering an undiagnosed bipolar spectrum disorder for several years. I finally got diagnosed about 6 months ago and I started 200 mg Lamictal which changed my life almost instantly. However, my depressive episodes were still fairly debilitating, although less intense than before. I started 150 mg Venlafaxine in addition to the Lamictal and it took about 7 weeks to fully kick in, and so began the happiest time of my life. These drugs saved my life and the Venlafaxine, especially, made me happy again. The only side effects I had were decreased appetite and lowered sex drive. I didn't mind the decreased appetite, but the low sex drive sucked. I recently doubled my dose to 300 mg b/c some life stuff happened that was bringing out my depression. It's been 1 week and it’s made my sex drive fly through the roof. I really hope this isn't a temporary side effect because it feels amazing after years of not having a sex drive from the depressive episodes”

10 / 10
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Frequently asked questions

carinab · Taken for 5 to 10 years August 10, 2019

“I've been on venlafaxine 300mg a day. I take this with alongside Quetiapine 100mg, a day. I've been on these 2 drugs, for a few years now after being sectioned twice. Without it I would not function. I was on several drugs before venlafaxine, eg trazadone etc but they didn't work hence being sectioned. Since being on this drug for a few years now am stable and have not had a hospital admission for my mental health which is a relief to my family. They are no longer out looking for me on bridges or train tracks etc. I could not function without this combination of tablets and go out shopping with my family and take my dogs out. So I think this is a great drug”

8 / 10
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Anonymous September 7, 2009

Effexor (venlafaxine): “I think Effexor has been very beneficial for me - I've taken it for about six years. A word of warning: Do NOT let your prescription run out or take yourself off Effexor abruptly! I experienced this by accident while waiting for a mail-order prescription to arrive (my doctor was just moving into a new office and didn't have samples available). Within 2 days, I was a wreck emotionally (depressive, sobbing for no reason), cognitively (all over the place, no concentration), and physically (impaired motor coordination among other things). The "brain shivers" a feeling like an electrical current running from the brain down the spine and back again, are very disconcerting! I got samples from my doctor's former office and was noticeably better within hours of 1 dose.”

7 / 10
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Ovey50 · Taken for 2 to 5 years March 25, 2020

“Been on this medication venlafaxine for 2 years now along with quetiapine for bi polar and the antidepressant works. I've only had one bad manic episode I’ve been on different antidepressants over a 20 year period but vena works for me”

10 / 10
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Sezthet April 12, 2016

“Brilliant medication. I know Venlafaxine is contraindicated in people who experience mania and I have had some issues with that but overall, with other medications that stabilise my mood, I have found Venlafaxine to be a life saver. I am 23, been hospitalised before for a long time and it was the first med I agreed to go back on after a period of desperation following a year of refusal to take meds due to extreme anti-psychiatry views. Now my anxiety is massively decreased, I feel much more on a level, less irritable, far less lethargic. This medication has done so much for me. No side effects apart from the initial week or two of starting it I got some insomnia and occasionally I get a very dry mouth. Sometimes a bad tremor.”

10 / 10
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Carr92 July 23, 2015

“I was misdiagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and it turned out that I had Bipolar 2 Disorder. I take Effexor 150 mg for my Depression and Abilify 10 mg for my mood swings and anxiety. It works pretty well, but I do have restlessness and random hyperness at times, especially around my period. I'd recommend it.”

7 / 10
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Veda · Taken for 5 to 10 years April 30, 2013

Effexor (venlafaxine): “After 4 years of trying all the other anti-depressants I was put on Effexor. From the first day it was like the lights were turned on. If I go 2 days without I can't stop crying and is difficult to function. I don't have insurance and a low income so it's really tough at times. I feel like I need to increase the dose but 225mg is the max.”

10 / 10
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Invadeher · Taken for 5 to 10 years June 15, 2021

“I’ve been taking Venlafaxine (150mg) for 6 years now and it has destroyed who I was as a person. I’m always tired which makes me have no motivation, which then leads to depression and ultimately leads to raising dosages until you’re fully dependent on it due to extreme withdrawals when trying to stop taking it. My psychiatrist and GP attempted to wean me off and I had what people call “brain zaps” to the point of feeling disassociated, which makes my bipolar symptoms get extreme. I was having nightmares when I finally was able to fall asleep because I was also suffering with 3 hours per sleep from being so uncomfortable in my own skin. This pill has a lot of warnings and stories exactly like my own, please do your research on withdrawals from it before starting it. I would never recommend this medication to anybody.”

1 / 10
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Functioning January 31, 2018

“I’ve been taking Effexor XR and now the generic brand veneflaxine for 20 years this year. I have a love hate relationship with this medication. It has helped me wonderfully with my depression but the side long term effects make me hate it. I have become dependent on it. I believe It has ruined my short term memory. If I miss one dose, immediately after the next dose I get sick. I’m nauseous for the day, I have a migraine and the worst is the muscle and bone aches. My body hurts so bad. If I miss two doses, I become psychotic. I can’t speak normally. I repeat the same thing over and over. I shake terribly. I feel trapped in my head. I hallucinate. I get brain zaps too. I’m terrified to come off of this drug in search of an alternative but I am at the highest dose and it’s not working anymore. I am incredibly stable mentally. I’m a busy mother of 4 and I take the mental health in my life very seriously. I don’t recommend this drug unless it is for short term use.”

5 / 10
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Anonymous February 13, 2010

Effexor XR (venlafaxine): “I love this medication for the positive affects as far as helping my depression and such. I have been on it for over 10 years. I thought about getting off of it a few years ago and had horrible withdrawal symptoms. It is almost like electricity running through your head and face. If I miss two doses I am flat on my back sick. I can't keep my eyes open because of the visual disturbances. Its like all of my senses are heightened and when I move my head it almost feels like everything kind of moves with a short shift. Needless to say. I didn't get off of it. It is really strange. The withdrawal symptoms lasted more than a week and didn't improve until I started taking it again.”

7 / 10
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Super Exhausted Merchandiser · Taken for 10 years or more February 29, 2020

“I have been on Venlafaxine for about 14 years now. I started at 150 mgs. I did try to ween myself off to 75 mgs because I hate having to take meds daily. But with major depression I have had to go back up to the 150 daily. I have not become any better. I have become worse. I cry daily. I think about suicide numerous times a day. All of the above comments are 100% correct. The withdrawals are horrifying!”

3 / 10
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TheNoob · Taken for 1 to 6 months June 7, 2017

“This drug was the worst experience of my life watching my partner take it! He was prescribed it by his GP for cycling moods (later diagnosed with BPL and Rapid cycling Bi Polar). After a week he begun to run away from home, sat in the road in the rain, ran away from work. (before he had held a job for 9 years despite awful mood swings). GP felt this was 'normal' and upped his dose. He then begun to plan his own suicide and was only stopped thanks to a security guard at the car park. He stopped caring about me or anyone else. He then two days later turned psychotic with a knife (we are taking about a gentle animal loving world peace advocate I might add). Stayed in a mental hospital to detox, now on quetrapine, much better. Awful drug!”

1 / 10
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Leroy Higgins October 28, 2010

Effexor XR (venlafaxine): “I take anywhere between 112.5 and 187.5 mg of Effexor XR. It is the only thing that has worked on my bipolar depression. It has been a miracle medicine for me. Nonetheless, one has to be careful. I was manic on it at 150 mg without a mood stabilizer. Now I take 20 mg Abilify with it, and it is working great.”

10 / 10
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Solosis July 10, 2015

“I have been in Effexor for twelve years and it's been very effective until just recently. (I think my body has grown too used to it.) When it was still able to effect me, it was super useful. The bad part is that you'll suffer from withdrawal symptoms if you don't take it for over 24 hours. I ran out in college for FIVE DAYS (I lived in one city and my psychiatrist was in another) and I was miserable - chills, weird dreams, everything. Never let it run out and never forget to take it. Otherwise it's a good medicine.”

8 / 10
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Peter Pan and Wendy November 11, 2016

“Chemotherapy brought on Bipolar disorder and several years of meds and regular sessions of therapy has made me feel some what normal. I take 300mg of Effexor, along with 800 mg of Seraquel. My side effects are some memory loss, thirst, and fatigue. I do have an issue with staying engaged. However, my unrealistic fears are not something I think about as often, and my anxieties are minimal. I had some income issues, and I did not take my meds, all my symptoms returned. I suspect that I will need this drug for my entire life.”

10 / 10
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Anonymous April 20, 2009

Effexor (venlafaxine): “Just came from the doctor after "weening myself" to 75 mg of Effexor. Bad move, doctor put me back to 150mg. Doctor put me on Buspar with my Effexor. FANTASTIC. Haven't felt this good in years, but I felt so good I thought I could get off the Effexor. Lesson here, if you feel better, don't stop taking your medicines, it's working. Ask your doctor about taking Buspar with the Effexor. I have never felt better. No more racing thoughts, etc. Now, just waiting for Effexor to work it's way back into my system. As for coupling it with the Buspar - RIGHT ON THE MONEY.”

10 / 10
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Anonymous March 24, 2011

Effexor (venlafaxine): “After trying a variety of medications over the years the doctor put me on Effexor. This medicine has by far been the best treatment! I am thankful to find something that finally stabilizes my mood AND doesn't interfere with concentration!”

10 / 10
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HoosierMiMI · Taken for 10 years or more April 14, 2014

“I have been on Effexor for almost 20 years now. The withdraw from this drug is horrific, so I try to make sure I always take it. It has only just barely maintained my mood and I've had 3 admissions to a Psych ward over the years. But it was a God send when I was first put on it, because at least now I was able to function and control my rages and my depression somewhat. After my last break down I was put on Abilify (which I now can't afford) along with my Effexor and I was suddenly awake for the first time in 35 years, it was an amazing combination for me. I hope to be able to afford the Abilify once again but for now my Effexor maintains me at a somewhat tolerable level!”

7 / 10
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AshleyV October 12, 2009

Effexor XR (venlafaxine): “I have tried at least a dozen different psychiatric drugs, and Effexor XR works better for my depression than anything else has, and it does not make me at all manic. I also had a positive side effect it made me lose weight! I was very pleased.”

10 / 10
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This information is not intended to endorse any particular medication. While these reviews may be helpful, they are not a substitute for the expertise, knowledge and judgement of healthcare professionals.

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