Does Effexor withdrawal cause diarrhea? (+5 management tips)

In this article, we will discuss whether Effexor withdrawal causes diarrhea. We will also explore some scientific studies on the link between Effexor and diarrhea and the management of diarrhea associated with Effexor withdrawal. Additionally, we will discuss the other withdrawal effects of Effexor.

Does Effexor withdrawal cause diarrhea?

Yes. Effexor withdrawal does cause diarrhea. Effexor withdrawal symptoms can differ from person to person and may include gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, as well as symptoms like dizziness, headache, fatigue, nausea, irritability, and flu-like symptoms. It is crucial to gradually taper off Effexor under the supervision of a healthcare professional to minimize the risk and severity of withdrawal symptoms.

 Effexor (venlafaxine) is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant medication. It is frequently prescribed to address mental disorders such as major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder (1).

It is important to know that like any other medication, Effexor can cause various side effects including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and insomnia, and abrupt discontinuation of this medication can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, it is essential to take Effexor only under the supervision of a healthcare professional. Any modifications to the dosage or discontinuation should be carried out only with their guidance.

How does Effexor withdrawal cause diarrhea? 

The mechanism by which Effexor withdrawal may cause diarrhea is linked to its effects on the levels of serotonin in the brain. Increased levels of serotonin also help to regulate bowel movements and peristalsis. Abrupt Effexor withdrawal can cause a sudden decrease in serotonin levels and can disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive system which may lead to increased bowel motility and fluid secretion, contributing to diarrhea (6). 

It is crucial to note that individual responses to Effexor withdrawal can vary, and not everyone experiences diarrhea during its withdrawal. However, gradual tapering under the supervision of a healthcare professional is often recommended to reduce withdrawal symptoms associated with Effexor.

What does research suggest?

Research shows that Effexor can cause several withdrawal symptoms, such as diarrhea, dizziness, agitation, sweating, insomnia, and nausea. These symptoms can occur in individuals if they abruptly stop taking Effexor or reduce their dosage. However, these symptoms can be avoided by gradually tapering off the dose of Effexor for a period of one week to 10 days before discontinuing use (2).

A research study demonstrated that 75% of individuals reported somatic symptoms after Effexor withdrawal, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, and fatigue. Sleep disturbances were mentioned by 44%, and cognitive impairments were reported by 32% of individuals (5). 

According to a research study, withdrawal symptoms including diarrhea, after abrupt discontinuation of Effexor occurred in 57% (six cases) of patients. Additionally, a separate research study reported a case where severe diarrhea occurred in a woman following the discontinuation of venlafaxine. This patient also experienced other withdrawal effects such as nausea, vomiting, headache, and insomnia (3).

Another study suggested that discontinuing the use of Effexor can cause not only physical and gastrointestinal withdrawal effects such as diarrhea but also psychiatric symptoms. A case study demonstrated that an elderly woman who had been taking venlafaxine 225mg for a year experienced withdrawal effects of Effexor including diarrhea (4).

What to do if diarrhea occurs after Effexor withdrawal?

If diarrhea occurs after discontinuation of Effexor, consult with your healthcare provider for guidance and a personalized treatment plan to minimize these effects. The effective management of Effexor withdrawal-induced diarrhea may involve the following tips:

  • Discontinuation of Effexor should be done by slowly tapering off the Effexor dose under the supervision of a healthcare professional. This helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms of Effexor, including diarrhea.


  • Adequate hydration and drinking plenty of fluids are essential to prevent dehydration and replace lost electrolytes. Drinking water, clear broths, and oral rehydration solutions can be beneficial.


  • To help control diarrhea symptoms, your healthcare provider may recommend over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications such as loperamide (Imodium). However, it’s crucial to consult with them before using any medications.


  • It’s important to be mindful of your symptoms and discuss them regularly with your healthcare provider. If the diarrhea persists or becomes severe, seek prompt medical attention.


  • To avoid worsening diarrhea, it’s recommended to avoid certain foods and beverages such as caffeine, dairy, spicy foods, and high-fat foods. Opt for a bland and easily digestible diet instead.

It is crucial to avoid making any changes to your medication regimen or trying to manage withdrawal symptoms on your own without first consulting with your healthcare provider.  It is important to always adhere to your healthcare provider’s instructions for a safe and efficient withdrawal process.

What are the other withdrawal effects of Effexor? 

Apart from diarrhea, Effexor withdrawal may also lead to other potentially serious adverse effects such as (2):

  • tremors
  • stroke
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • vertigo
  • xerostomia
  • manic symptoms
  • aggression
  • nervousness
  • tiredness
  • headaches
  • sleep disturbances
  • excessive sweating
  • anxiety
  • appetite disturbances

It’s important to note that not all individuals who discontinue Effexor may experience withdrawal symptoms, as these can vary based on individual factors and underlying health conditions.


To my knowledge, Effexor withdrawal can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, and GIT discomfort. It is essential to consult your healthcare provider to effectively manage these symptoms.

Your healthcare provider may guide you to gradually taper the medication under his supervision. Additionally, lifestyle and dietary modifications including adequate hydration and reducing spicy food intake and, in some cases, OTC medications can help alleviate diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. 


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



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


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


Bet PM, Köktaş IO, Bergh M. Stoppen met venlafaxine door omzetting naar fluoxetine [Discontinuing venlafaxine by switching to fluoxetine]. Tijdschr Psychiatr. 2018;60(11):782-785. Dutch. PMID: 30484571.


Sabljić V, Ružić K, Rakun R. Venlafaxine withdrawal syndrome. Psychiatr Danub. 2011 Mar;23(1):117-9. PMID: 21448114.


Hengartner, Michael & Schulthess, Lukas & Sorensen, Anders & Framer, Adele. (2020). Protracted withdrawal syndrome after stopping antidepressants: a descriptive quantitative analysis of consumer narratives from a large internet forum. Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology. 10. 204512532098057. 10.1177/2045125320980573.

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