Does Effexor cause photosensitivity? (5 factors)

In this article, we will explore whether Effexor causes photosensitivity. Furthermore, we will discuss what research suggests, symptoms, contributing factors, precautions, what to do if photosensitivity persists, and whether this side effect persists after discontinuing Effexor. 

Does Effexor cause photosensitivity?

Effexor may cause photosensitivity, but it is not a common adverse effect. Some antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MOAs) may lead to photosensitivity (1). 

Effexor is an antidepressant belonging to the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) class of drugs. Effexor works by inhibiting serotonin (in low doses), norepinephrine (at medium doses), and dopamine (at higher doses) (2).  

What does the research say about Effexor and photosensitivity?

Research data on Effexor-induced photosensitivity is limited since this is an uncommon adverse reaction. However, there have been 25 reported cases of a rare condition known as drug-induced photo-distributed telangiectasia (PT) associated with the drugs causing photosensitivity (3). 

A study suggested that Effexor might cause photo-distributed telangiectasia (PT), a rare skin condition resulting from the interaction between UV rays and the medication. The exact mechanism by which Effexor may cause PT is not clearly understood, therefore, more research studies are needed (4). 

Photosensitivity can be caused by certain medications when you are exposed to the sun. This skin problem can be due to the reaction of the medicine you are taking, known as phototoxicity, or the reaction of your immune system to the medicine and sunlight combination, known as photoallergy (5). 

What are the symptoms of Effexor-induced photosensitivity?

The symptoms of Effexor-induced photosensitivity on the skin may include:

  • Sunburn
  • Swelling
  • Blisters
  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Skin rashes
  • Hyperpigmentation (6)

What precautions are recommended for sun exposure with Effexor?

The precautions that should be taken while taking Effexor may include: 

  • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to Effexor or other SNRIs.
  • Avoid excessive exposure to sunlight. 
  • Use strong sunscreens while going out in the sun.
  • Cover yourself with thick clothes to protect the skin from direct UV rays. 
  • If you have an underlying skin problem, your doctor may prescribe additional medications (6).  

What to do if you experience sun-related effects on Effexor?

While sun-related effects with Effexor are rare, it is important to inform your doctor if you experience any. Your doctor may evaluate your current symptoms, family or medical history, and response to the medication. Your doctor may also adjust the dose and provide proper guidelines for taking Effexor.

Follow all the precautions and monitor your response. If photosensitivity with Effexor persists and disrupts your daily life, please inform your doctor. In such cases, your doctor may prescribe you an alternative antidepressant that does not cause photosensitivity. 

Can photosensitivity persist after discontinuing Effexor?

Photosensitivity may not persist after stopping Effexor. Effexor takes a few days to leave the system completely and withdrawal symptoms may disappear gradually over a few weeks. 

However, it is important to note that Effexor should not be discontinued abruptly as it may cause serious withdrawal symptoms. Always consult your doctor before discontinuing any antidepressant.

They will gradually reduce the dose by tapering it over a few weeks. Even by tapering it gradually, your doctor may suggest you be vigilant and report any withdrawal side effects while stopping Effexor (7). 


According to my perspective, Effexor-induced photosensitivity is a rare side effect. However, according to research data, a few patients may experience skin-related problems when exposed to sunlight while taking Effexor. 

Therefore if you are experiencing photosensitivity with Effexor, but tolerate this medication well, please take precautions. If this side effect of Effexor becomes bothersome, please reach out to your healthcare provider. 

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



Kowalska J, Rok J, Rzepka Z, Wrześniok D. Drug-Induced Photosensitivity-From Light and Chemistry to Biological Reactions and Clinical Symptoms. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2021 Jul 26;14(8):723. doi: 10.3390/ph14080723. PMID: 34451820; PMCID: PMC8401619. Available from:


Singh D, Saadabadi A. Venlafaxine. 2022 Oct 10. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 30570984. Available from:


Vaccaro M, Di Bartolomeo L, Borgia F, Longo C, Vaccaro F, Gangemi S, Lentini M, Caradonna E. Photodistributed eruptive telangiectasias: an uncommon adverse drug reaction. A retrospective case series. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2022 Nov;47(11):2012-2017. doi: 10.1111/ced.15343. Epub 2022 Sep 13. PMID: 35876166. Available from:


Vaccaro M, Borgia F, Barbuzza O, Guarneri B. Photodistributed eruptive telangiectasia: an uncommon adverse drug reaction to venlafaxine. Br J Dermatol. 2007 Oct;157(4):822-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2007.08082.x. Epub 2007 Jul 26. PMID: 17655739. Available from:


Drucker AM, Rosen CF. Drug-induced photosensitivity: culprit drugs, management and prevention. Drug Saf. 2011 Oct 1;34(10):821-37. doi: 10.2165/11592780-000000000-00000. PMID: 21879777. Available from:


Millard TP, Hawk JL. Photosensitivity disorders: cause, effect and management. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2002;3(4):239-46. doi: 10.2165/00128071-200203040-00002. PMID: 12010069. Available from:


Campagne DM. Venlafaxine and serious withdrawal symptoms: warning to drivers. MedGenMed. 2005 Jul 6;7(3):22. PMID: 16369248; PMCID: PMC1681629. Available from:

Find a supportive therapist who can help with Depression.

Discover the convenience of BetterHelp, an online therapy platform connecting you with licensed and accredited therapists specialized in addressing issues such as depression, anxiety, relationships, and more. Complete the assessment and find your ideal therapist within just 48 hours.


AskYourPharm is user-supported. We may earn a commission if you sign up for BetterHelp’s services after clicking through from this site