How to convert from Effexor to Pristiq? 

How to convert from Effexor to Pristiq? 

The best way to convert from Effexor to Pristiq is to consult your healthcare provider. Every individual is different and the best switching strategy is usually based on some patient-related factors that can not be applied to everyone. 

Effexor and Pristiq belong to the same class of antidepressants and they’re closely related to one another, in terms of chemical structure, safety, efficacy, and how well they are tolerated (1,2). 

In clinical practice, the safest way to switch from Effexor to Pristiq is to gradually taper off Effexor and start Pristiq from the lowest effective dose at the same time. 

During this entire time period, you will have to take two antidepressants, with one dose getting lower and the other getting higher. This way Effexor is safely eliminated and Pristiq replaces it with minimal withdrawal symptoms. 

However, this may not be as simple as that for some people, especially those who are stopping Effexor because of the side effects. In such a case, your body may need some time to recover from the side effects before you start taking another antidepressant. 

This is why it’s best to talk with your doctor if you want to switch your antidepressant. Your doctor has your entire medical history and knows your symptoms – he/she will determine the best way to switch antidepressants for you. 

Is it safe to directly switch from Effexor to Pristiq? 

Direct switch is also a common method which can be used if you’re switching between the same class of antidepressants, which is the case with Effexor and Pristiq. 

Your doctor may recommend a direct switch if you’re at a low dose of Effexor, your depression symptoms are mild, and your duration of treatment with Effexor was short. 

Long-term Effexor users can’t just stop using it one day, even if you’re replacing it with a similar antidepressant. Your body can become dependent not only on the effects caused by Effexor but also on the drug itself. 

No matter what you replace it with, your body will feel the absence of that particular antidepressant and you will be at risk of getting withdrawal symptoms. This is why it’s best to slowly take away Effexor, and not all at once. 

What are the withdrawal symptoms of Effexor? 

Effexor is associated with withdrawal symptoms, which depend on different factors – like your dosage strength, frequency, the overall duration of treatment, and how you discontinue using it. 

If you taper off properly, you will most likely get away with mild and bearable symptoms. However, abrupt withdrawal can be dangerous. Some of the common symptoms include (3):

  • Severe dizziness 
  • Disorientation 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability 
  • Headaches
  • Pins-and-needles sensation (Paresthesia) 
  • Instability 
  • Nervousness 
  • Brain zaps

These symptoms vary from person to person but are common after abruptly stopping Effexor, even if you were on a low dose. This is why you should seek medical attention if you think you should stop using Effexor. 

Discuss the reason why you want to discontinue Effexor with your doctor. Don’t try anything on your own. 

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PubChem [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US), National Center for Biotechnology Information; 2004-. PubChem Compound Summary for CID 5656, Venlafaxine; [cited 2023 Feb. 22]. Available from:


PubChem [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US), National Center for Biotechnology Information; 2004-. PubChem Compound Summary for CID 125017, Desvenlafaxine; [cited 2023 Feb. 22]. 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:

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