Venlafaxine Interactions: Effexor and Alcohol & Other Drugs (2022)

Drinking on antidepressants has traditionally been eschewed by healthcare providers. When used alone, alcohol has psychotropic effects, which include psychosis, memory defects, and depression. Effexor and alcohol can interact, causing several side effects and increasing lethality in case of overdose. However, alcohol is not the only substance among Venlafaxine interactions. It’s vital to consult a health professional before taking any drugs together. Learn more about the interaction between Venlafaxine and alcohol and other substances that should be avoided on this medication.

Side Effects Of Combining Effexor And Alcohol

Alcoholism is commonly associated with depression, which venlafaxine hydrochloride is used to treat. In research, most patients consuming Effexor XR and alcohol see effects similar to those seen with alcohol alone. However, decreased alcohol tolerance is a rare side effect of Venlafaxine. This is due to increased toxicity on the liver and kidneys. Other side effects commonly observed with this combination are divided into two categories: physical effects and psychological effects.

Physical Side Effects

In some patients, Venlafaxine potentiates the side effects seen with alcohol alone.

These Include:

  • Increased dizziness
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Shortened attention span
  • Nervousness
  • Reduced inhibition
  • Short-term memory loss or blackouts
  • Decreased coordination
  • Confusion
  • Delayed reaction times
  • Blood pressure irregularities, etc.

Psychological Side Effects

As previously mentioned, drinking makes one depressed. Combining Venlafaxine and alcohol causes a worsening of depression symptoms, increased anxiety, mood swings, increased feeling of hopelessness. There is significant anecdotal evidence in human beings stating that Venlafaxine caused increased cravings for a drink. Evidence regarding Effexor and alcohol cravings has been conclusively provided in rodent models. According to research information, long-term use of the drug (five weeks) in the rodent models of alcoholism leads to increased alcohol consumption.

Venlafaxine Interactions: Effexor and Alcohol & Other Drugs (1)

This effect is thought to arise due to modifying the brain’s reward circuitry by the combination. Retrospective studies in human patients from various countries have confirmed that venlafaxine can cause increased alcohol dependence.

Increased Lethality Of Combining Venlafaxine and Alcohol

Effexor is prescribed predominantly as an antidepressant. However, its uses include social anxiety disorder, attention deficit disorder, etc. One of the reasons it is a popularly prescribed medication is the low toxicity and high lethal dose of the drug. However, when combining Effexor XR and alcohol, its lethality is significantly increased.

The presence of alcohol in the body also potentiates other symptoms of venlafaxine overdose like cardiac arrhythmias and depression of nervous functions. The most common symptoms observed for such overdoses include tachycardia, somnolence to coma, seizures, pupil dilation, vomiting. In rare cases, ventricular tachycardia, bradycardia, hypotension, liver necrosis, serotonin syndrome may also be observed.

The symptoms above could increase the lethality of the combination and the morbidity of survivors of overdose. These symptoms also introduce complications in revival techniques used by emergency medical personnel on said overdose victims.

Suicidality is a significant side effect of Effexor, especially in young adults. This increased suicidality can be significantly potentiated by alcoholic depression. Therefore, a patient drinking on the medication may be far more likely to commit suicide than one on the drug alone.

Venlafaxine Interactions With Antidepressants

Many patients with depression may respond poorly to monotherapy. A doctor can combine Venlafaxine with another antidepressant for treating refractory depression. Despite the risks of increased adverse reactions or Venlafaxine interactions with antidepressants, these combinations are common in medical practice. Headache, nausea, constipation, and drowsiness are common side effects of drug interactions between antidepressants. It is recommended to consult a medical provider before mixing any antidepressant medications to avoid the risk of dangerous interactions.

Effexor And Wellbutrin

Bupropion and Effexor may be used together for treating chronic recurrent major depression. However, mixing Wellbutrin and Effexor may cause a severe interaction with dangerous adverse reactions. The interaction between Effexor and Wellbutrin may increase the risk of developing seizures, especially in the elderly. It’s recommended to avoid such combination treatment as the health risks outweigh the benefits unless recommended by a doctor.

(Video) Venlafaxine Review 37.5 mg, 75 mg, 150 mg Dosage, Side Effects and Withdrawal


When it is mixed with Trazodone, a rare serious condition called serotonin syndrome might appear.

The Symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome May Include:

  • Seizure
  • Tremors
  • Hallucination
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Shaking
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle spasm
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Coma
  • Death

Call the emergency on 911 if these symptoms appear. It is not recommended to mix these drugs without a doctor’s advice to avoid the likelihood of fatal interaction effects.


The two medications are effective in treating depression. However, there is a difference between Zoloft and Effexor in their mechanism of action. A doctor may prescribe both medicines at the same time for refractory cases. The danger of severe interaction could occur when mixing them. Dangerous serotonin toxicity is a common adverse reaction of this combination.


Mixing Effexor with Remeron is helpful in the treatment of persistent depression. However, severe Venlafaxine interactions may occur. This combination may cause sedation and weight gain.

Venlafaxine Interactions: Effexor and Alcohol & Other Drugs (2)

It’s recommended to consult a healthcare provider before mixing Venlafaxine with Remeron to avoid the dangerous effects of taking these drugs.


Despite using Prozac for withdrawal from Effexor due to its longer half-life, a dangerous interaction could occur if you mix them. Low Effexor dose with Prozac can cause constipation, urinary retention, blurred vision, and dry mouth. A severe risk of serotonin toxicity may occur if a higher dose is used. The use of Prozac and Venlafaxine together should be done under the supervision of a healthcare provider.


A combination of Effexor and Lexapro is beneficial for treating recurrent cases of depression. However, severe interaction can occur when they are co-administered. Toxic serotonin syndrome symptoms such as confusion, hallucination, and seizure may appear. It is advised not to mix these medications without doctor consultation.


Cymbalta and Effexor should not be used together as it is among severe Venlafaxine interactions. The dangers can induce serotonin syndrome, resulting in nausea, altered consciousness, seizures, and death. It is not recommended to mix selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors with Cymbalta without doctor consultation.

Interactions With Stimulants

A medical provider could prescribe Effexor with stimulant drugs for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, dangerous adverse reactions are possible after using them together. Nervousness, anxiety, and restlessness are common adverse reactions of Venlafaxine interactions with any stimulant medication. Consulting a doctor before mixing these medications will help in avoiding the possibility of dangerous reactions.


Mixing Effexor with Adderall may cause severe interactions besides decreasing the antidepressant effect of Venlafaxine. Serious adverse reactions are possible after using them together, such as increased anxiety and racing thoughts.

Concurrent use of Adderall and Effexor is clinically contraindicated, as it could lead to increased serotonin levels due to potential inhibition of the CYP2D6 enzyme. It’s highly recommended to avoid mixing these drugs without consultation with a doctor.

(Video) Venlafaxine Review (Effexor) - Uses, Dosage, Side Effects and Safety - Doctor Explains


Co-administration of Effexor and lisdexamfetamine could also cause a severe interaction. Effexor capsules may increase the stimulant effects of Vyvanse if they are taken together. As a result, there is a risk of side effects such as jitteriness, restlessness, anxiety, and nervousness. This combination may also increase the chance of toxic serotonin syndrome.

Combinations With Benzodiazepines

Since Effexor is effective for treating panic disorders, a doctor would prescribe Venlafaxine with benzodiazepines to get higher effectiveness. Mixing Venlafaxine with benzodiazepines could cause moderate interaction. Symptomatic hypotension is a common adverse reaction that appears if one takes Venlafaxine and benzodiazepines together. A doctor may prescribe them both, but a person should avoid using these combinations without professional consultation.


A moderate interaction is possible if one mixes Effexor and Xanax. Taking them together could increase the risk of adverse reactions such as dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, and drowsiness. Co-administration of Effexor with Xanax in the elderly causes impairment in judgment, thinking, and motor coordination. Avoid taking this combination while driving or operating hazardous machinery.


Klonopin and Effexor combination may cause moderate interaction effects. Central nervous system depression and respiratory depression are common adverse reactions that could appear after taking these medications. It’s recommended to consult a healthcare provider before mixing them to know all the information about dangers.

Mixing With Painkillers

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, It’s possible to use Venlafaxine for neuropathic pain. As a result, a healthcare provider could prescribe it for pain management with painkillers.

What Painkillers Can One Take with Venlafaxine?

  • A doctor can prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, and celecoxib with Venlafaxine for pain relief. However, combining these medications increases the risk of bleeding, especially for the elderly or for patients who have hepatic or renal problems.
  • If someone tries to mix Venlafaxine with opioids, the high possibility of lethal serotonin syndrome may appear. For instance, tramadol may provide prophylactic antidepressant effects. A doctor can prescribe tramadol with the antidepressant for treating depression associated with chronic pain. However, with these drugs a severe interaction may occur. Taking Venlafaxine with tramadol may increase the risk of lethal serotonin syndrome and seizures.

It’s essential to consult a doctor before mixing Venlafaxine with any painkiller to avoid dangerous interactions.

Effexor And Antipsychotic Medicines Together

Co-administration of Effexor and antipsychotics may help depressed patients who haven’t got better after antidepressant monotherapy. Moderate Venlafaxine interactions may occur when it is mixed with antipsychotic medications. Such a combination may increase the risk of cardiac arrest and death.


A moderate interaction could occur after mixing the two. Taking both medications may increase adverse reactions such as drowsiness, confusion, and concentration problems. The use of Effexor and Abilify among the elderly could increase the chance of poor judgment and impaired thinking, so it is highly advised not to mix these medications without a doctor’s advice.


Co-administration with Seroquel can cause an irregular heartbeat and may even lead to death. Patients with congenital long QT syndrome or conduction abnormalities, or electrolyte abnormalities are at high risk of this dangerous interaction. It is important not to mix these medications without doctor consultation to avoid the risk of fatal effects.

Effexor And Weed

Some persons may use Venlafaxine to reduce depression associated with cannabis. However, using Venlafaxine could lead to an increase in cannabis use. Some recreational users may combine Effexor and marijuana to get high feelings.

(Video) Effexor - Venlafaxine Drug information video

Venlafaxine Interactions: Effexor and Alcohol & Other Drugs (3)

Recreational use of weed and Effexor and these drugs alone is dangerous to health, may cause severe adverse reactions, and may lead to addiction development.

Weed may increase the medication’s levels in the blood and also potentiate its sedation effects. Mixing them may lead to dangerous Venlafaxine interactions, which may be fatal. Respiratory depression, dizziness, vomiting, and central nervous system sedation could appear after combining Effexor and weed. It’s recommended to avoid mixing Effexor and weed to prevent the possibility of hazardous interaction effects. Moreover, marijuana is illegal in several states of the U.S., so using may also lead to legal liability.

Avoid Dangerous Interactions

So can one drink on Effexor? The short answer is no. While some patients may experience no additional side effects of Venlafaxine interactions with alcohol, others may see crippling symptoms like alcohol blackouts. Many other severe drug interactions with Venlafaxine should be prevented and avoided. The most effective way to avoid severe consequences of venlafaxine interactions is to consult a medical professional. Venlafaxine stays in the system for some time, so mixing any substances should only be made under a doctor’s supervision, especially if women take Effexor while pregnant. Misusing it or co-administering it with other drugs may also increase the chance of abuse and addiction development. If any signs of addiction are noticed, finding a rehab center for addicts to accelerate the recovery process is essential. Many addiction treatment options are available for different types of abuses caused by mixing Venlafaxine with other medications.

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Page Sources

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Published on: November 29th, 2019

Updated on: April 15th, 2021

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About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.

Medically Reviewed by

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Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care. He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.


What happens if I drink alcohol while taking venlafaxine? ›

venlafaxine food

Alcohol can increase the nervous system side effects of venlafaxine such as dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating. Some people may also experience impairment in thinking and judgment. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with venlafaxine.

Does Effexor react with alcohol? ›

Mixing alcohol with Effexor can cause harmful effects and can be dangerous. To be safe, don't mix these two substances. Alcohol can interact with many drugs, including antidepressants, and sometimes this mixing can be dangerous.

What drugs should not be taken with venlafaxine? ›

This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to take it. Do not take venlafaxine with a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor (eg, isocarboxazid (Marplan®), phenelzine (Nardil®)], selegiline (Eldepryl®), tranylcypromine (Parnate®)).

Is venlafaxine a high risk medication? ›

To date, there are no known problems associated with long term use of venlafaxine. It is a safe and effective medication when used as directed.

Why you should not take Effexor? ›

an increased risk of bleeding. manic-depression. suicidal thoughts. serotonin syndrome, a type of disorder with high serotonin levels.

Is it better to take venlafaxine at night or in the morning? ›

You will usually take standard tablets twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. You will usually take slow release tablets or capsules once a day. You can take them at any time as long as you stick to the same time every day. If you have trouble sleeping, it's best to take it in the morning.

Can I have an occasional drink while on Effexor? ›

Alcohol can increase symptoms of anxiety and depression and may increase your risk of a dangerous Effexor overdose. Doctors recommend not drinking while taking Effexor or other antidepressants.

Does alcohol reduce effectiveness of venlafaxine? ›

Mixing alcohol and venlafaxine can create severe and even life-threatening side effects. Venlafaxine is used to help treat mental health conditions. Alcohol decreases venlafaxine's effectiveness in treating your symptoms, potentially worsening your mental health or preventing improvement.


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