Effexor is the brand name for the prescription medication venlafaxine hydrochloride, while Lexapro is a brand name for escitalopram oxalate. Both drugs are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors used to treat depression and anxiety disorder.
Effexor is filtered from your blood through the kidneys, while Lexapro is processed mainly through the liver. Because of effexor's use of the kidneys, patients with kidney problems may benefit more from Lexapro. Likewise, those with liver problems may fair better with Effexor.
Effexor is sometimes used to treat panic disorders or sudden severe physical symptoms of fear with no discernible cause, according to the Mayo Clinic, as well as fibromyalgia. Lexapro is not typically used for this purpose, but is sometimes given for the treatment of neuropathy, or nerve pain, and migraine headaches.
Effexor is available both in its regular form, but also in an extended-release form, which slowly administers small doses of the medication over a period of several hours. Lexapro is only available in one form, which reaches its maximum effectiveness within five hours, according to RxList.
Use in Adolescents
Lexapro is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of depression in children ages twelve to seventeen. Effexor is typically not prescribed for children, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In clinical trials conducted by the FDA and published on RxList, approximately 6 percent of patients who used Effexor lost 5 percent of their body weight or more during treatment with the drug, while weight loss was not observed in trials for Lexapro. Although weight loss could be beneficial for some people, Effexor may be dangerous for those who are already underweight, suffering from an eating disorder, or taking pills for weight loss like sibutramine.