Does Effexor cause numbness? (3+ factors)

In this article, we will discuss whether Effexor causes numbness as a side effect or not. We will also explore the connection between Effexor and numbness, what research suggests on this, what possible factors can influence numbness while taking Effexor and management strategies to overcome it.

Does Effexor cause numbness?

Yes, Effexor (venlafaxine) can occasionally make you feel numb or like there are pins or needles in your hand or feet. This side effect is known as paresthesia. (1)

Effexor is an antidepressant which belongs to the class of drugs known as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). It is commonly used for the treatment of major depressive disorders, anxiety and panic attacks. (1)

It works by affecting the balance of two neurotransmitters in the brain, serotonin and norepinephrine, which are important for regulating mood and emotions. It is a prescription medicine and should be taken under the guidance of your healthcare provider.

Other antidepressants, such as citalopram, sertraline, etc can also cause numbness. So, it’s best to keep an eye on your side effects when using antidepressants and report them to your doctor promptly.

What is the connection between Effexor and numbness?

Effexor (venlafaxine) can sometimes cause a side effect where you feel numb or like you have pins or needles in your hands and feet. This is called numbness or paresthesia. This side effect occurs in some individuals who take Effexor, everyone doesn’t need to experience this side effect. (1,2)

If you experience numbness while on Effexor, it’s important to discuss it with your healthcare provider. They can evaluate whether the medication is causing the side effects and consider potential adjustments to your treatment if needed.

What does research suggest?

According to research, a case was reported where a young man with major depression began taking venlafaxine XR at a low dose of 37.5 mg per day. When the dose was increased to 75mg per day, he did not have any major problems. (2)

However, when the dose was raised to 150mg per day, he started feeling tingling, numbing and itching in his arms and hands. His doctor lowered the dose back to 75mg per day and the symptoms went away. (2)

If you experience such symptoms, consult with your healthcare provider for personalized guidance, don’t adjust the dose on your own.

What factors influence numbness while taking Effexor?

Numbness or tingling sensations while taking Effexor can be influenced by various factors, including: (3)

Dosage: The likelihood or severity of numbness may increase with higher doses of Effexor. Some people experience this sensation when the dosage is increased.

Individual sensitivity: Each person’s body reacts differently to medications. Some individuals may be more sensitive to the effects of Effexor and are more likely to experience numbness.

Duration of use: Numbness may occur when starting Effexor or after using it for a period. It can be a side effect that appears later in the course of treatment.

Underlying health conditions: Certain medical conditions or nerve-related issues may increase the risk of numbness as a side effect of Effexor.

Interactions: Effexor can interact with other medications or substances, potentially increasing the risk of numbness. It’s important to tell your healthcare provider about all the medications and supplements you are taking.

What are the tips for managing numbness induced by Effexor?

If you are experiencing numbness as a side effect of Effexor, here are some tips for managing it: (3)

  • Talk to your healthcare provider: The first step is to discuss numbness with your doctor. They can assess the severity and potential causes of the symptoms.
  • Medication adjustment: Your healthcare provider may consider adjusting the dose of Effexor and switching to a different medication if the numbness is significant or bothersome.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water, it sometimes helps numbness reduce to a significant level or alleviates it. Drinking an adequate amount of water is essential.
  • Lifestyle changes: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important. Try to include healthy nutrition in your diet, fix your sleep pattern and exercise regularly. It also helps boost mood and reduces the symptoms.

What are the alternatives to Effexor if it’s causing unbearable numbness?

If you’re feeling extreme numbness because of taking Effexor, it’s really important to talk to your doctor before doing anything. Don’t stop taking the medicine on your own. Here are some steps your doctor might consider: (4)

Switching to a different antidepressant: Your doctor can explore other classes of antidepressants which work better for you, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) eg sertraline, tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

Adjusting the dosage: If the numbness is related to the dosage of Effexor, your doctor might consider adjusting the dosage to find a balance between symptom relief and tolerable side effects.

Changing to a different SNRI: If Effexor is not well tolerated your doctor might switch to a different serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor like duloxetine (Cymbalta).

Non-pharmacological intervention: Non-pharmacological approaches are also very helpful in managing certain health conditions through methods other than drugs. These may include counselling, behavioural therapy, regular exercise, maintaining a sleep routine, proper diet intake and other lifestyle modifications.


In this article, we have discussed numbness as a side effect of taking Effexor which is an antidepressant. We have also discussed the strategies to prevent or overcome this side effect and ensure effective outcomes.

In my opinion, it’s important to remember that while this side effect can be concerning, it is manageable. Have open communication with your healthcare provider so they can make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan, explore alternative medications or suggest lifestyle changes that may reduce numbness.

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