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Avatar universal

is generic venlafaxine the same as effexor?

I have been taking effexor for several years with very good results. When I got my last prescription I was given viepax and today was given venlafaxine hydrochloride. I have had low mood since changing even though my GP says that venladaxine is the active ingredient in all of them. Can anyone help?
16 Responses
Avatar universal

Read here :


for info on venlafaxine hydrochloride. It is Effexor, slow release.

I'd not heard of viepax but online it is referred to as venlafaxine hydrochloride, slow release.

Generic drugs are supposedly exactly the same as the name brands, only they can't be manufactured until a certain time after the initial rights belonging to the creators have expired.

I have my doubts too but officially the answer is they are exactly the same. Pharmacists will tell you this too and I do trust them.

The main thought I have is whether you are getting the same dose or not.  
Avatar universal
Yes and No. Venlafaxine is the active chemical in Effexor XR, But notice the "XR"
Short for Extended Release.

Generic Venlafaxine has no time release properties, but there is now a Generic Extended Release formula of Venlafaxine now on the market.

I used to take Effexor XR in the past. I know many people still on it and they report that they had a much better response to the name brand Effexor XR than with the Geneic Effexor XR.

If it were me and I could afford it, I would go with the name brand.
Avatar universal
Generic is meant to have an average +/- equivalent blood levels of the main active ingredients within a +/- amount of time.  

However you as an individual might be outside of the +/- guidelines for dose and peak time of effect. For example, the "filler" in the pill gets digested differently at different acid levels so if your stomach acid worked one way with brand name, it might digest in another way with generic (this is why some pills need to be taken with food, others without). This will change how fast it gets into your system and how fast you break it down. You could end up with lower levels over time, or higher levels over time. This is rare, but it happens.

Also, if you are taking more than one medication, the combination may change the way you metabolize the generic as opposed to how you metabolized the brand name. Again, this is rare, but it happens.

Further, there are other effects of drugs aside from the main active ingredient that contribute to someone's response to the drug. Generics may have very different effects -- they aren't required (from my understanding) to meet any criteria other than main active ingredient. This is more common, but usually less important.

It's worth discussing with your doctor. I was on wellbutrin xl and was switched to generic. Over a period of 2 years my depression gradually worsened - almost unnoticeably until I was unable to work more than 2/3 of the week and was very irritable, sensitive, and anxious, as well as the typical despondency. I blamed it on stress, job changes, my boss, my colleagues, myself, my family, the weather, my cat, the conservatives, the grocery store clerks, etc. But after a physician friend found me sobbing in a coffee shop near work he got me to a psychiatrist within 2 weeks and she immediately switched me back to brand name. Placebo or actual effect I don't know, but I got better.

Please don't hesitate to discuss this with your doctor. Maybe ask for a trial back on brand name to see what happens.

I'm curious to hear back from you as I just went from effexor to generic today! Fingers crossed I can stay well and save the system some money, but if I have to take time off work the system loses money. Get the right drug regardless of the price.
1110049 tn?1409405744
Hello, I posted the exact same question a while ago.  

I was on Effexor XR which was changed to Viepex and I felt the generic was not as effective as the original.

I went to see a doctor and he said they were exactly the same, and also that there was little difference in the cost.  The usual reason to put people on the generic is to save money.  Anyway he was very reluctant to put me back on Effexor.  I insisted, and he changed me back.

With the generic I had breakthrough depression.  Now I am on Effexor, I feel better.  Some people may say it iust placebo, or all in my head, but our bodies tell us what is wrong.  We should listen to them.  The doctors are not taking the drug, we are.  

To my mind Viepax is not as effective as Effexor.

Avatar universal
I don't care what my Doctor said or any other Doctor.  Generic Effexor is not the same. I was switched to Generic and now I am having the same side effects as when I tried to go off Effexor. The Brain Shocks and Nausea are terrible.  
Avatar universal
I am having the same problem.  The generic absolutely effects me differently. Now my insurance won't cover the brand name so I'll have to pay 5x the price for it.
Avatar universal
I have been taking the generic Venlafaxine for about 10 yrs now.  I don't remember there being a difference when I was changed over.  I am weaning off the med now.  Which is what brought me to this site.  My Dr. is cutting me back at 2 wk intervals. Due to my mail order drug company and usps messing up I went 1 wk w/o any at all.  It was horrible and I don't want to go thru that again.  So I am currently taking half a pill 2x day. next wk I cut back to just one half a day. I am really hoping the metal slinky sound does not come back.  Wish me luck.
Avatar universal
After a month on the generic brand I became psychotic and suicidal. My GP was furious and told me there have been a number of similar cases. The few dollars difference is not worth the risk.
Avatar universal
Saturday, August 17, 2013

I started taking Name Brand Effexor XR 150mg 10 years ago with very much success and not one side effect. Fast forward to after I got pregnant, my doctor weaned me down to 75mg, then 37.5, then zero within two weeks. Luckily TennCare kicked in and started me on 37.5mg for fear of miscarriage and I stayed on that dose because I believe the benefits outweighed the risks. I felt wonderful and had a great pregnancy with no depression, just a slight increase in my anxiety. My symptoms started on July 22, 2012 the day my son was born. It wasn't necessarily the delivery (C-Section) that scared me, but afterwards. I remember that first night in the hospital instead of enjoying my newborn baby, I was more worried that my heart was beating too fast, my blood might be too high, and my swelling was going to cause a blood clot and kill me. I didn't sleep for 48 hours. I spent those 48 hours so anxious that the swelling would never go away and I just wanted up to walk around to make it leave faster. Keep in mind I gained 60 pounds and my pre-pregnancy weight was 110lbs. I bet I asked every nurse that came in my room the entire length of my hospital stay if I was going to die? How embarrassing! I did finally sleep a little the last two nights but I slept with the bed propped all the way up for fear a blot clot would get to my heart. When we left the hospital I was extremely tired, drugged out of control, and in a lot of pain. Trying to breast feed at this point made my anxiety hit the roof. By day two of being home, my mother in law came over to stay for a couple of hours so I could sleep, I made her called 911 because I was so sure that the swelling was not normal, causing me to have a panic attack. The ambulance arrived, as did the firemen and of course I had calmed down. They checked my vitals, said everything looked normal because I just had a baby and still had a lot of fluid. The left, I felt humiliated, embarrassed, stupid, and still anxious. A few weeks later, I must didn't feel right. I had these terrible headaches in my neck and my head felt like it was on fire. After three days of this I had Mikey take me to Vanderbilt ER. My blood pressure was through the roof, and they moved me to the Cardiac Unit because it was so high that I could have a stroke. I stayed there for three nights and four days, cried my eyes out, because I was mostly alone, didn't know what was wrong. They swapped my medications, from Venlafaxine HCL to Citalopram HBR thinking the side effect was causing my blood pressure to go up, then sent me home. I not only had withdrawals but the new medicine caused my Fibromyalgia to flair up significantly. Within one month I went to my heart doctor begging for  Nortriptyline (something I used previously for Fibromyalgia) they prescribed it and it helped 50% but still my anxiety was bad, and other symptoms were present. My psychologist allowed me to go back on Effexor (Venlafaxine HCL) and I was excited. Then slowly I started getting severe anxiety and tension headaches.

These last few months I have done countless things thinking this or that would fix it and do the trick. I've increased medicines, decreased medicines, yoyoed medicines, swapped medicines, seen several doctors, and made multiple trips to the hospital. By now I believe all my family thinks I'm crazy, and here in the last week I even considered checking myself into a Mental Health Facility to get some help, because suicide was not far from my mind. I keep thinking "if this is how I'm going to feel the rest of my life, I might as well not even be living". I've been the most bitchy, dramatic, impatient, irritable, tired, anxious, person to my fiancé who just doesn't understand how I feel and doesn't know how to help me.
The only way I know how to describe how Ive been feeling is like I'm constantly having an outer body experience. The tension headaches are constant and never stop, like someone has a tight band around me head pulling it tighter. I get both tingling and pressure in my temples, brain shakes, brain zaps, my head feels cloudy, foggy, and my ears feel stopped up to the point that I try to pop them as if I were in an airplane.  My neck gets stiff, my body aches, I have a complete body tremor from head to toe (that's been ongoing for months), I can't sleep even though I'm prescribed Trazodone 50mg (I only take half of 25mg) yet here lately having to take the whole 25mg and still nothing feels like its working. I wake up with a fast beating heart during naps with my son, and sometimes at night. I'm constipated, bruise easily, feel tingly in my hands and feet, get lightheaded and dizzy several times each day. Also in the past year I have had the worst time concentrating, focusing, remembering, and getting my words out. My latest worries are could I have Dementia, a brain tumor, brain clot, nerve damage, etc... To the point of driving me nuts!

And then I googled "differences in generic and name brand Effexor" and VOILA.... The posts and forums I've read are just what I needed to see and hear. Actual people who are experiencing the exact same symptoms with the exact same medicine, and all of us are on the GENERIC!

I emailed my doctor to swap me over to the Brand Name Effexor no matter what it costs and I'm hoping he is okay doing so. I will let everyone know how this all turns out!

The sad fact now is that after all these turn of events, my fiancé is content with just one baby. I know its because of all that I've put him through and I really want another one in a few years. I only 30 years old and I can't help but think how different things would have been if I had been on the Right medicine this whole time!

1110049 tn?1409405744
Oh my dear, what a sad story.  I do hope your lovely baby is fine.

Strangely enough, I have had to go back to Venlafaxine generic.  Here in UK Effexor XR capsules only go down to 75mg.  I am withdrawing, and to get through the final months, I have had to go onto 37.5mg generic and slowly withdraw.  It is a pill, which I can cut, unlike the capsules.  

I am now, after 8 months, on one 37.5 tablet a day.  I cut it in half, and take one in the morning with a meal, and one in the evening.  I am so surprised I have not felt bad at all.  I was so sure I would react badly to the generic, I hope to be completely withdrawn within the next month or so.

Your fiance has stuck by you through all your trauma, so it is obvious how much he loves you.  He may come round about having another baby when you are feeling better.  

Doctors prescribe, but unless they have experienced what we have, they cannot begin the guess how medications make us feel.  I know I had to really convince a doctor that the Effexor and generic were not the same.

I spoke to the pharmacist when I was put back on the generic, and she was very dismissive, saying they are exactly the same.  WRONG - they are not!!  Just because they are told they are the same, does not mean our bodies cannot tell the difference.

I do hope you are beginning to feel better now you are back on Effexor.

Take care.

Avatar universal
Hi all -- I just wanted to share my experience, as I too felt very bad when I started taking generic venlafaxine (after many years of using brand name Effexor).
As I live in a country where the brand-name product is simply unavailable, I decided to take larger doses (my original dose was 150mg/day, and I upped it to over 300mg/day -- just going on gut feeling, really). I can only say that this has worked for me so far, and I think it's possible that after my body gets accustomed to the new medication, I will be able to reduce the dose again (although I don't really mind either way). I've also seen this given as advice on a medical website: ie, that sometimes patients need a higher dose of generic medicines.
For what it's worth, I also read that the capsule coatings can be different between generic and brand-name medicines, so I actually open the capsule (carefully!) and just swallow the contents.
To anyone struggling with this issue, I hope this helps, and I wish you all the best.
Avatar universal
I was on Efexor a few years ago and found it great - even lost a lot of weight. This time the doctor has put me on generic venlafaxine and although mentally I feel very good, I have gained about 4kg. Anyone else found this?
I'm on venlafaxine  atm due to another break down 8mths ago same as you mentally I feel good but at the same time bad due to weight gain
Avatar universal
I have been having the same problem with my mail order company. Now I face an unknown amount of time without my meds. If you don't mind sharing, was it The Rx Helper?  I'm considering changing to another company to assist with mail order.
Avatar universal
I totally have this issue.  I was on Sertraline (aka Zoloft) for about 4yrs and it realized it wasn't working as well, so my Dr switched me to Effexor, but prescribed me Venlafaxine.  Since then, I had a weight gain of about 30lbs!!! I've been told by my family that I need to stop eating... I haven't changed my diet, but I've tried exercising, weightloss programs, and nothing works!

It totally *****!  I am wondering if I should make the switch to brand name.  I wonder if it would even help...
Avatar universal
My mail order drug company has sent me Velnafaxine generic a number of times when a prescription renewal was sent to them. Even though my doctor prescribes Effexor, they always try switching to generic. Within a few days, I always feel A LOT of anxiety. It has been a week now that I can't sleep well. Every time I have to call and my doctor has to call, and they send me the brand name after. I absolutely agree that there is something about the brand name that is not in the generics. This has happened to me a number of times now.
Avatar universal
Don't settle for Venlafaxine!  It's NOT the same as Effexor, and not helpful.  My experience is exactly the same as yours.  I just have to tell my doctor to include "No Substitution" on the prescription to get the name brand.  If , your insurance is the issue, ask him or her to write an exception letter -- you could write it for them -- they just have to verify that the Venlafaxine isn't working, exactly why, and they will usually authorize the exception for a year or more.  Don't settle for Venlafaxine!! Good luck.
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