Does Effexor cause stomach pain? (+2 effects)

In this article, we will discuss if Effexor causes stomach pain. Effexor (venlafaxine) is an antidepressant that is frequently used in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and social anxiety disorder.

Does Effexor cause stomach pain?

Yes, Effexor may cause stomach pain. However, the occurrence of experiencing stomach pain with Effexor is common in the early weeks. Effexor, a selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), is known to have the least side effects as compared to other antidepressants. 

It is important to note here that stomach pains, headache, nausea, and lower back pain are the symptoms that are common in a patient with depression. Researchers report that the treatment of depression with antidepressants tends to improve these somatic complaints within one month of treatment (1). 

What are the symptoms of Effexor-induced stomach pain?

Effexor-induced stomach pain can occur in the first few weeks of taking the drug. The stomach pain might be associated with the following symptoms, including:

  • Uncomfortable fullness,
  • bloating,
  • nausea,
  • flatulence,
  • heartburn,
  • belching,
  • ulceration,
  • gastric bleeding.

How may Effexor control the occurrence of stomach pains?

Serotonergic and noradrenergic neurons both send signals to the spinal cord. These descending pathways function to block input from the intestine, skeletal muscles, and other sensory organs. A malfunction of serotonergic and noradrenergic neurons can thus influence the descending pathway. 

This results in depression and somatic pains such as stomach pains, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), non-cardiac chest pain, and fibromyalgia. Effexor tends to reduce the occurrence of such somatic pains by balancing serotonin and noradrenaline levels in the body.

What does the research suggest?

In an animal study, ulceration and hyperemia occurred in rats treated with venlafaxine and indomethacin. However, the ulcer number was lesser in the case of Effexor (3.17) as compared to other antidepressants like mirtazapine (3.50), escitalopram (5.00), and the control group (13.00) (2).

In another in vivo study, Effexor had substantial anti-inflammatory action in the rats. On chronic therapy, this effect was related to an elevation in blood pressure but had no adverse gastrointestinal tolerability when given as monotherapy (3).

In the toxicological evaluation of Effexor on gastric tissues of rats, there were limited alterations in the gastric mucosa during acute Effexor toxicity analysis. The only changes were in the form of oedema of the gastric mucosa that extensively separated the gastric gland.

Subchronic administration of Effexor for thirty days resulted in multiple superficial mucosal ulcers, degraded and vacuolated stomach gland cells, and submucosal inflammatory cell infiltration. Moreover, the renal and liver cells were also affected (4).

These results signify that the gastric pain associated with Effexor is usually dose-dependent. Effexor has an off-label use in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and has been reported to reduce stomach pain associated with IBS in 82% of the users (5).

What are other gastrointestinal complications of Effexor?

The use of Effexor can cause digestive side effects including:

  • nausea,
  • loss of appetite,
  • diarrhoea,
  • constipation, and
  • weight loss.

What other factors cause stomach pain with Effexor?

The other factors that can cause stomach pain with the use of Effexor include:

  • Inflammation: it can be caused by an irritant or an infection.
  • Menstruation: sometimes women feel stomach pain and cramps during or before the start of the menstrual cycle.
  • Digestion issue: it can be caused by food poisoning or food allergies.
  • Chronic acid reflux: or gastroesophageal reflux syndrome (GERD) can cause stomach pain. 
  • Crohn’s disease: it is the chronic inflammation of the digestive tract that can cause stomach pain, nausea, and other complications.
  • Lactose intolerance: can cause abdominal cramps, and bloating.
  • IBS: it can cause stomach pains, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, and gas.

Which other drugs cause stomach pain with Effexor?

The incidence of stomach pain, gastrointestinal bleeding, and ulceration increases when Effexor is coadministered with other drugs, including (6):

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),
  • anticoagulants, and
  • antiplatelet agents.

How to manage Effexor-induced stomach pain?

  • Do not take the drug on an empty stomach.
  • Drink lots of water to keep hydrated.
  • Use a hot water bottle to relieve the cramps.

Drugs which can be given for stomach relief include:

  • Antispasmodic drugs: such as dicyclomine can help reduce stomach cramps.
  • Anti-nausea drugs: such as bismuth subsalisylate can help relieve the symptoms of nausea.
  • Anti-flatulence drugs: such as simethicone can help relieve bloating, colic and flatulence associated with stomach pain. 
  • Antibiotics: such as penicillin, nitroimidazole, and cephalosporin can be used to treat gastrointestinal infections causing stomach pain.
  • Antidiarrheal: such as loperamide can relieve diarrhoea along with bloating, stomach pain and cramps. 
  • Antacids: such as simgel (magladrate+simethicone) neutralize the acid and relieve indigestion.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



Aikens JE, Kroenke K, Nease Jr DE, Klinkman MS, Sen A. Trajectories of improvement for six depression-related outcomes. General hospital psychiatry. 2008 Jan 1;30(1):26-31.


El-Awdan SA, Zaki HF. Gastroprotective activity of mirtazapine, escitalopram and venlafaxine in depressed rats. Afr J Pharm Pharmacol. 2013;7(40):2701-9.


Chugh PK, Kalra BS, Kaushik N, Tekur U. Evaluation of anti-inflammatory activity, effect on blood pressure & gastric tolerability of antidepressants. The Indian journal of medical research. 2013 Jul;138(1):99.


Paulis MG, Hafez EM, El-Tahawy NF, Aly MK. Toxicological assessment of venlafaxine: acute and subchronic toxicity study in rats. International Journal of Toxicology. 2018 Jul;37(4):327-34.


Sharbafchi MR, Afshar H, Adhamian P, Feizi A, Daghaghzadeh H, Adibi P. Effects of venlafaxine on gastrointestinal symptoms, depression, anxiety, stress, and quality of life in patients with the moderate-to-severe irritable bowel syndrome. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences: The Official Journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. 2020;25.


Sawynok J, Esser MJ, Reid AR. Antidepressants as analgesics: an overview of central and peripheral mechanisms of action. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience. 2001 Jan;26(1):21.

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