Effexor XR's Dosage: What to Know

Medically Reviewed By Alex Brewer, PharmD, MBA

This drug has a boxed warning, the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

The risk of suicidal thoughts and suicidal behaviors is increased in some children and young adults who take antidepressants, including Effexor XR. However, Effexor XR is only approved for use in adults.

Due to this risk, doctors typically will closely monitor people in this age range for signs of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Effexor XR: Introduction

Effexor XR is a brand-name prescription medication that contains the active drug venlafaxine.

Effexor XR belongs to a drug class called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Effexor XR is available in a generic form called venlafaxine ER. To learn more about venlafaxine, read this article.

This medication has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the following conditions in adults:

In this article, you’ll find additional information about Effexor XR’s dosage and details on how to take the drug. For a comprehensive overview of Effexor XR, view this article.

Finding a healthcare professional

If you’re interested in taking Effexor XR, search here to find a doctor who might prescribe it.

This article describes typical recommended dosages for Effexor XR. These dosages are provided by the drug’s manufacturer.

Your doctor will prescribe the dosage of Effexor XR that’s best for you.

Effexor XR: Dosage

Commonly recommended dosages for Effexor XR are shown below.

You should take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll recommend the dosage that’s best for your condition.

Effexor XR’s form and strengths

Effexor XR is an extended-release medication. This means it’s slowly released over time. It is available as an oral capsule in the following strengths:

  • 37.5 milligrams (mg)
  • 75 mg
  • 150 mg

Typical recommended dosages

Usually, doctors will prescribe a low dosage of Effexor XR at the start of treatment. Then, they’ll adjust the dosage over time if necessary. Ultimately, your doctor will prescribe the smallest dosage of Effexor XR that gives the desired effect.

Below is a table that summarizes the recommended dosages for Effexor XR in adults. Your doctor will prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.

Condition Starting dosage Maintenance dosage Maximum dosage
generalized anxiety disorder 37.5 mg to 75 mg per day 75 mg per day 225 mg per day
social anxiety disorder 75 mg per day 75 mg per day 75 mg per day
panic disorder 37.5 mg per day 75 mg per day 225 mg per day
major depressive disorder 37.5 mg to 75 mg per day 75 mg per day 225 mg per day

Typical increases in dosage

Your doctor may increase your Effexor XR dosage over time. The timing of any increase in dosage depends on the condition and your symptoms.

Any increase in the dosage for anxiety depends on the type of anxiety. For social anxiety disorder, the dosage will typically stay the same.

Your doctor will likely prescribe 4 to 7 days of the starting dose before increasing it. This gives your body time to adjust to the medication.

Below is a table that summarizes the recommended dosage increases by condition.

Condition Daily dosage increase
generalized anxiety disorder 75 mg, taken for at least 4 days before another increase
social anxiety disorder no recommended dosage increase
panic disorder 75 mg, taken for at least 7 days before another increase
major depressive disorder 75 mg, taken for at least 4 days before another increase

Length of treatment

Doctors typically prescribe Effexor XR as a long-term treatment. You’ll likely take it long term if you and your doctor feel it’s safe and effective for your condition.

Do not stop taking Effexor XR or lower your dose without first talking with your doctor. For information about stopping the drug, see the “Effexor XR: Withdrawal” section below.

Effexor XR: Common questions about dosage

Below are some common questions related to Effexor XR’s dosage.

Is there a recommended dosage range for Effexor XR?

Yes, there is a recommended dosage range. The lowest dose and highest dose per day depend on the condition you are taking Effexor XR to treat.

For most indications, the lowest dosage is 37.5 milligrams (mg) per day and the highest dosage is 225 mg per day. For social anxiety disorder, the typical dosage is 75 mg per day.

See the chart in the “Effexor XR: Dosage” section above for specific dosages and the conditions they’re approved to treat. These dosages are recommended by the drug’s manufacturer.

If you have additional questions about Effexor XR’s dosage range, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

What is the max dose of Effexor XR?

The drug’s manufacturer defines the maximum dosage of Effexor XR as 225 mg per day for:

The maximum dosage of Effexor XR for social anxiety disorder is 75 mg per day, which is the same as its starting dosage.

Talk with your doctor if you have questions about your Effexor XR dosage.

Does Effexor XR have a dosage chart?

Yes, Effexor XR has a dosage chart that lists the starting, maintenance, and maximum dosages by condition. See the “Effexor XR: Dosage” section above.

Your doctor or pharmacist may also suggest a calendar or daily pill container to help you remember your doses. This can be important if your doctor increases your dosage during the first few weeks of treatment with Effexor XR.

Ask your doctor about the recommended dosage for your condition.

Can I take a dosage of Effexor XR 300-mg daily?

The maximum daily dose of Effexor XR is 75 mg or 225 mg, depending on the condition. However, to reduce the risk of overdose, do not take more Effexor XR than prescribed. Your doctor will prescribe the dosage that best fits your needs.

See the “Effexor XR: Overdose” section below for more information about the risks and symptoms of taking too much Effexor XR.

Tell your doctor if you feel your dosage is not adequately managing your symptoms.

Is there an Effexor XR dosage for hot flashes?

Effexor XR isn’t approved to treat hot flashes. However, doctors may prescribe the medication off-label for hot flashes. With off-label use, doctors prescribe a drug for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.

Research has found some benefit in using venlafaxine, the active drug in Effexor XR, for hot flashes. However, Effexor XR isn’t approved for this purpose.

Talk with your doctor if you want to learn more about taking Effexor XR for hot flashes.

Effexor XR: Dosage considerations

Your doctor will consider several factors when prescribing or changing your dosage of Effexor XR. These factors include:

  • your age
  • the condition you’re taking Effexor XR to treat
  • the severity of your condition
  • your liver and kidney function
  • how long you have been taking Effexor XR

Your prescribed dosage may also vary based on other medical conditions you may have.

Recommended adjustments in dosage

Your body breaks down and eliminates Effexor XR through your liver and kidneys. Your doctor may reduce your dosage if you have kidney problems or liver problems.

Your dosage may be reduced even more for:

  • severe kidney problems, such as those requiring dialysis
  • severe liver problems, such as cirrhosis

Discuss your medical history with your doctor. They’ll recommend an Effexor XR dosage that’s right for you.

Effexor XR: How to take

Effexor XR comes as an oral capsule. You’ll take it by mouth with food once daily, in the morning or evening. Do not crush or chew the capsule before taking it.

Another way to take Effexor XR is to sprinkle the contents of the capsule on applesauce. If you prefer this method, swallow the entire mixture right away without chewing. Drink a full glass of water afterward.

Your doctor may recommend taking Effexor XR around the same time each day. Doing so will help maintain a consistent amount of the drug in your body. And this can help Effexor XR work effectively.

If you have difficulty swallowing capsules, view this article. It provides suggestions on how to take this form of medication. Also, talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have concerns about taking your medication.


If you find it challenging to read the label on your prescription, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Certain pharmacies provide medication labels with large print or braille. They may also offer labels containing a scannable code that your smartphone can convert from text to speech. If your pharmacy doesn’t provide these choices, your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a pharmacy that does.

If it’s difficult for you to open medication bottles, ask your pharmacist if they can dispense Effexor XR in an easy-open container. They also may recommend ways to help make it easier to open the bottles.

Effexor XR: Missing a dose

If you miss a dose of Effexor XR, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s almost time for your next dose, wait and take the next dose at the time you usually take it. Do not take more than one dose per day.

If you miss a dose, it’s possible to experience mild to serious missed dose symptoms. You should not stop taking Effexor XR without first talking with your doctor. To learn more about stopping Effexor XR treatment and possible missed dose symptoms, see the “Effexor XR: Withdrawal” section below.

View these medication reminder options to help you avoid missing doses. You could also set an alarm or download a reminder app on your phone.

Call your doctor if you miss a dose and experience new or worsening symptoms.

Effexor XR: Overdose

If you take more than the recommended dosage of Effexor XR, serious effects can occur. Do not take more Effexor XR than your doctor prescribes. See the “Effexor XR: Dosage” section for details.

Symptoms of overdose

In clinical studies, overdose was reported from both Effexor XR alone and in combination with alcohol or other drugs. Taking certain drugs with Effexor XR can increase the risk of overdose. This includes drugs that affect the nervous system, have similar side effects as Effexor XR, or interfere with your body’s breakdown of Effexor XR.

Symptoms that an Effexor XR overdose could cause include:

Other reports of overdose came after the drug’s clinical studies were completed and the drug was available for use. Many of these overdoses occurred when Effexor XR was taken with alcohol or other drugs. Symptoms included:

Fatal overdoses of Effexor XR are possible but rare.

What to do in case of overdose

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much of this drug. Also, you can call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or a local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Effexor XR: Withdrawal

Stopping Effexor XR abruptly or too quickly is linked to a condition known as discontinuation syndrome. This may feel like withdrawal. (Withdrawal happens when you stop taking a drug that your body needs to function like usual.)

If you need to stop taking Effexor XR, your doctor will explain how to slowly discontinue the drug. This is called a taper schedule. A taper may help avoid discontinuation syndrome. It may take a few months to stop the drug completely.

Do not stop taking Effexor XR or taper your dose without first talking with your doctor.

Symptoms of discontinuation syndrome with Effexor XR may include:

More severe symptoms, including violent behavior and suicide, have also been reported.

Talk with your doctor about how to safely decrease your Effexor XR dosage.

Effexor XR: What to discuss with your doctor

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist for additional information about Effexor XR’s dosage. Keep in mind that the dosages presented in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug’s manufacturer. Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Effexor XR that’s right for you and your condition. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes for you.

Do not change your Effexor XR dosage without a recommendation from your doctor.

In addition to discussing Effexor XR dosage with your doctor, you may find the following articles helpful in learning more.

Disclaimer: Healthgrades has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

Medical Reviewer: Alex Brewer, PharmD, MBA
Last Review Date: 2022 Nov 16
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