Does Effexor affect GABA? (+3 factors)

In this article, we will discuss whether Effexor affects GABA. We will also discuss the factors influencing GABA while taking Effexor and what to do if Effexor affects GABA.

Does Effexor affect GABA?

Effexor (Venlafaxine) does not directly impact GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid), which is a neurotransmitter in the brain that has a calming and inhibitory effect.

While Effexor, an antidepressant, has primary action on serotonin and norepinephrine, it indirectly influences other neurotransmitters and brain functions, but its specific interaction with GABA is not well-documented or a primary focus of its mechanism (1).

GABA is a neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates and calms neural activity. It helps in reducing excessive brain activity and promotes relaxation and better sleep (2).

If you have concerns about GABA or its interaction with Effexor, it is recommended to discuss this with a healthcare professional.

What does research suggest?

There is no research indicating Effexor’s effect on GABA. One study stated that GABA, a specific substance in the brain, is not involved in causing depression or how antidepressant medications help with depression (3).

It is crucial to remember that individual responses to medications vary. If someone is concerned about Effexor’s effect on GABA, they should consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

Another study indicated that long-term use of Venlafaxine significantly reduced the release of brain chemicals called glutamate in the hippocampus. However, there were no observed changes in the release of another brain chemical called GABA (4).

What factors can influence GABA levels while taking Effexor?

Effexor primarily targets serotonin and norepinephrine, and its direct influence on gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA) is not well-documented.

Factors that could indirectly affect GABA levels while taking Effexor might include:

Individual response: Variances in how the body reacts to medications may impact neurotransmitter levels like GABA.

Brain chemistry: Effexor’s influence on serotonin and norepinephrine might indirectly influence other neurotransmitters, potentially affecting GABA levels in some individuals.

Medication interactions: Effexor can interact with other medications such as benzodiazepines and psychotropic medications and supplements an individual is taking. This can impact GABA levels in your brain.

Dosage and duration of treatment: Higher doses or long-term use of Effexor might indirectly impact neurotransmitter levels, potentially including GABA.

Underlying medical condition: Some mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders for which Effexor is being taken, epilepsy, panic disorders or sleep disorders can affect GABA levels in the brain.

Alcohol consumption: Alcohol or caffeine consumption along with Effexor can affect GABA levels in the brain.  

Symptoms of changes in GABA levels while taking Effexor

Changes in GABA levels can lead to various effects due to its role as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Signs and symptoms of altered GABA levels include (5):

  • Increases anxiety and stress
  • Increased risk of seizures
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Mood disorders
  • Cognitive impairment including issues with memory, focus and learning

What to do if Effexor affects GABA levels?

Although Effexor does not directly affect GABA levels if someone suspects altered GABA levels or changes in mood and anxiety levels while taking Effexor it is crucial to discuss them with your healthcare provider.

Your healthcare provider may reduce the dosage of your medication. If dose reduction does not work, they may gradually discontinue the medication or switch to another medication.

Do not discontinue Effexor on your own as it may lead to withdrawal symptoms such as hallucination, agitation, dizziness, lightheadedness etc.

Always remember consulting your doctor is essential for the safe and effective use of medications.


In my opinion, Effexor does not directly affect GABA levels and if you have concerns about its potential impact on GABA, it is advisable to discuss them with your healthcare provider for personalized guidance and information.


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