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Friday, September 12, 2008 Nicki, Community Member, asks

Q: How long does it take for effexor to leave the system

I am currently taking 150mg of effexor and my doctor wants me to switch to paxil but only take 20 mg to start.I am wanting to start a family and the doctor said paxil is the only anti-depressant that is safe during pregnancy. I am doing great on my effexor and I am sensitive when it comes to switching from one to another.What is safe and I do not want to feel crappy emotionally in the meantime cause my anxiety attacks are pretty intense. Is paxil a stronger medication than effexor? is that why my dose is extremely lower in paxil? Sorry for the questions but I need some answers pleeeeaaaase!!!

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Answers (1)
Teri Robert, Health Guide
9/21/08 3:10pm



Regarding how long it takes Effexor to leave the system -- The half-live of Effexor is 11 hours. After five half-lives a medication is 97% gone from the system. So, it's nearly gone after 55 hours.


I'm very confused by what your doctor told you about antidepressants during pregnancy. Effexor is FDA Pregnancy Category C, which means "There are either no adequate studies, either animal or human, or there are adverse fetal effects in animal studies but no available human data. Many medications pregnant women use fall into this category."


Paxil is Category D, which means "There is evidence of fetal risk, but benefits are thought to outweigh the risks."


Paxil isn't "stronger" than Effexor. It's different. Comparing the dosage of one medication to another one is the old "apples and oranges" situation. The dosages simply don't translate the same from one drug to another.


If you want to get pregnant, I strongly suggest that the doctor who treats you for depression and your OB/GYN consult with each other regarding safe treatment.


Good luck,


Struggling Mama, Community Member
12/ 7/13 6:55pm

I have tried tapering off of effexor. I've been on 150mg for 4 yrs. I got it down to 1/4 of a pill (approx 18 mg) then quit off of that. I'm on day 3 of no meds & feel, by far, way worse than when I started taking the meds. I hope you have much better results. At this point, I just wanna walk away from everything I have cuz I can't deal with it. :'( I will stick it through, for my children & new baby, but it's the hardest struggle of my life. It doesn't help, either, that my fiance (7 Father to my children) left me during my struggle. I wud appreciate if anyone has any tips for me, as well.

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By Nicki, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/07/13, First Published: 09/12/08