Venlafaxine (Effexor) vs Bupropion (Wellbutrin) – Comparasion


It is the brand name of a medication called venlafaxine that belongs to the class of drugs known as serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

The medication is used to treat depression since it works on the central nervous system (inhibits the reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin, as well as the reuptake of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine) to elevate mood.

It was first introduced in 1993 as a pharmaceutical antidepressant by Wyeth but it is now marketed by Pfizer.


This medication is used to treat generalized anxiety disorder and depression. There is also current evidence that the drug may be useful in treating:


The usual recommended dose for generalized anxiety disorder is 75 mg a day. For some sufferers, the initial recommended dosage is 37.5 mg a day. The usual recommended dose for panic disorder is 37.5 mg to 225 mg once per day.

The usual recommended dose for major depressive disorder is 75 mg a day. For some sufferers, the initial recommended dosage is 37.5 mg a day.

Side Effects and Precautions of Venlafaxine

Common side effects include:

  • sexual problems;
  • unusual dreams;
  • yawning;
  • dry mouth;
  • blurred vision;
  • vomiting;
  • tremors;
  • nausea;
  • problems sleeping (insomnia);
  • sweating;
  • diarrhea or constipation;
  • feeling nervous, anxious, or jittery;
  • loss of appetite;
  • increased heart rate;
  • feeling fatigued, tired, or overly sleepy;
  • headaches;
  • dizziness.

Rare side effects may include:

  • trouble breathing;
  • tunnel vision;
  • chest tightness;
  • eye pain or swelling;
  • a cough;
  • seeing halos around lights;
  • a seizure (convulsions);
  • coughing up blood;
  • very stiff (rigid) muscles;
  • easy bleeding or bruising (nosebleeds, bleeding gums);
  • a feeling like you might pass out;
  • blood in the urine or stools;
  • fast or uneven heartbeats;
  • confusion;
  • excessive sweating;
  • feeling unsteady;
  • severe weakness;
  • high fever;
  • slow breathing;
  • hallucinations;
  • slurred speech.

To make sure that this medication is safe for you, tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had:

  • cirrhosis or another liver disease;
  • bipolar disorder (manic depression);
  • high LDL and total cholesterol;
  • kidney disease;
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus;
  • high blood pressure;
  • narrow-angle glaucoma;
  • heart disease;
  • a history of seizures;
  • a thyroid disorder;
  • low levels of sodium in your blood;
  • a blood clotting disorder;
  • a bleeding disorder.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Abrupt discontinuation and even gradual tapering of the medication is linked with a high incidence of withdrawal symptoms. They include:

  • anorexia;
  • agitation;
  • impaired coordination;
  • anxiety;
  • diarrhea;
  • confusion;
  • dysphoric mood;
  • dizziness;
  • fatigue;
  • dry mouth;
  • hypomania;
  • fasciculation;
  • nausea;
  • headaches;
  • shock-like sensations;
  • insomnia;
  • sweating;
  • nervousness;
  • vertigo;
  • nightmares;
  • vomiting;
  • tremor;
  • somnolence.


It is the brand name of a drug called bupropion, an antidepressant that is used to treat numerous conditions, including depression, anxiety disorder, other mental/mood disorders, and smoking cessation.

This medication works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, an action that results in more serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine to transmit messages to other nerves.


It is used to treat depression as well as to prevent seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression that happens each year at the same time, especially during winter (most likely due to less sun which leads to lower levels of vitamin D).

The medication is used as an alternative non-stimulant treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In addition, it is one of the US Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs for smoking cessation. Actually, it is the only antidepressant used for this problem.


It is available in 75 mg and 100 mg tablets, and in 100 mg, 150 mg and 200 mg sustained-release tablets. It should be taken with a full glass of water.

At doses of 400-450 mg per day your risk of seizures triples as well as other side effects. The effectiveness and safety of this medication in children have not been established, but, according to studies, teens and young adults who take antidepressants are at higher risk for developing suicidal thoughts.

Side Effects And Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • sweating;
  • weight loss;
  • unusual dreams;
  • skin rash;
  • yawning;
  • ringing in the ears (tinnitus);
  • blurred vision;
  • sexual problems;
  • tremor or shaking;
  • dry mouth;
  • dizziness;
  • feeling nervous, anxious, or jittery;
  • headaches;
  • loss of appetite;
  • increase in heart rate;
  • constipation;
  • stomach pain;
  • diarrhea;
  • shakiness;
  • nausea;
  • a sore throat;
  • vomiting;
  • feeling tired, fatigued, or overly sleepy;
  • fast heartbeat;
  • change in sleep habits;
  • agitation;
  • muscle pain;
  • frequent urination.

Rare side effects include:

  • flushing;
  • chest pain;
  • twitching;
  • fever (high temperature);
  • myalgia;
  • hot flashes;
  • sinusitis;
  • high blood pressure (hypertension);
  • migraines;
  • hives;
  • problems swallowing;
  • urinary tract infections;
  • nervousness;
  • arthritis;
  • unusual thoughts or behaviors.

Do not take this antidepressant if you:

  • are currently taking thioridazine (a piperidine typical antipsychotic drug) or have taken it in the past 14 days;
  • are allergic to any of the ingredients of the medication;
  • have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (like phenelzine or tranylcypromine) within the past 14 days;
  • have or have had an eating disorder (like bulimia or anorexia nervosa);
  • have a seizure disorder;
  • are taking another medication that contains bupropion;
  • are having abrupt withdrawal issues from benzodiazepines (like clonazepam, diazepam,  lorazepam), alcohol, or other sedatives (phenobarbital).

Withdrawal Symptoms

This medication should not be stopped immediately as this may cause withdrawal symptoms to the user.


This medication may cause drowsiness and dizziness. However, these side effects increase if you are drinking alcohol.


An overdose of this medication could be fatal, therefore, seek immediate medical help or call the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 if you overdose. Overdose symptoms can include:

  • arrhythmia;
  • sinus tachycardia;
  • loss of consciousness;
  • stupor;
  • hypotension;
  • hallucinations;
  • respiratory failure;
  • muscle rigidity;
  • high temperature;
  • seizures.

Bottom Line – Venlafaxine (Effexor) vs Bupropion (Wellbutrin)

According to studies, patients taking these medications had a considerable improvement in their symptoms than those taking a placebo pill, regardless of how severe those symptoms were, to begin with.

Because Effexor works with your natural serotonin, it can actually cause weight loss in some people. On the other hand, Wellbutrin is also used for smoking cessation.

Image credit – Shutterstock

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