What is Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine)?

Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) is also referred to as O-desmethylvenlafaxine and is known as the first non-hormonal treatment for menopause and major depressive disorder. It is an antidepressant coming from the class of serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). Desvenlafaxine is also the synthetic form of the major metabolite of venlafaxine.

Both desvenlafaxine and venlafaxine have similar effects. They block reuptake transporters which affect mood only leaving behind active neurotransmitters. They are 10 times more effective at inhibiting serotonin uptake than norepinephrine uptake. During its clinical stage, desvenlafaxine showed far superior effects than the placebo.

Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) is manufactured by Wyeth in Puerto Rico, who received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in 2007. In order to sell the drug, Wyeth’s approval is based on postmarketing surveillance studies for low-dose usage, recurrence of use, and administration on children. Approval is also based on the company’s development of a successful education plan. A generic form of the prescription was made available in 2017.

Like most medications, Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) is known to have some very common side effects, up to and including:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Hyperhidrosis
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue

Taking desvenlafaxine also has the distinct chance of causing:

  • Tremors
  • Blurriness
  • Mydriasis
  • Decreased appetite
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Higher cholesterol
  • Proteinuria
  • Vertigo
  • Asthenia
  • Nervousness
  • Hot flush
  • Irritability
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Urinary hesitation
  • Yawning
  • Rashes

How is Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) Used?

Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) is commonly used to treat depression and should only be taken with a doctor’s recommendation. The dosage is based on individual condition and treatment response. It is administered orally either with or without food, usually once a day. It may take a few weeks for the medication to have an effect.

Crushing or chewing desvenlafaxine can release the entire dose all at once and increase the risk of adverse side effects. Even splitting a tablet without a score line should be avoided unless expressly ordered by a physician.

In order to judge the effect on a patient, the doctor will likely start with a low dosage and gradually increase it over time. In addition, removing Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) from the daily routine is not recommended until the end of the treatment cycle, even if the patient feels better.

Carefully following a doctor’s instructions is essential as increased amounts will not improve the condition any quicker. It is recommended to take Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) at the same time each day to remain consistent.

Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) Addiction

Misusing antidepressants increases chances of a psychological disease developing in the patient. A mental devotion to Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) is likely to occur alongside a physical dependence on the medication.

When your body becomes addicted to Pristiq (desvenlafaxine), the receptors in the brain burn up when the substance of a medication is administered too quickly. Some receptors are irreversibly damaged making the brain require more to receive relief.

When we stop taking SNRIs, like Pristiq (desvenlafaxine), the brain does not know when to start or stop the neurotransmitter’s rhythm before the medication was administered. There is too much activity and the brain starts and stops working like normal. This is physical dependence.

Abusing Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) is likely to cause:

  • Hyponatremia (low blood sodium)
  • Seizures
  • Extrapyramidal side effects
  • Hallucinations
  • Angioedema
  • Photosensitivity reaction
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Narrow-angle glaucoma
  • Mania
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Eosinophilic pneumonia
  • Hypertension
  • Suicidal behavior & thoughts
  • Serotonin syndrome

The Importance of Aftercare

Doctors typically do not have a textbook method to help patients get off antidepressants, including SNRIs. Everyone’s body chemistry is a little different and weaning a patient off of a drug depends on the patient’s condition and dosage. It is imperative to speak with a healthcare professional who has experience with Pristiq (desvenlafaxine).

It is also very rare for one person to handle aftercare on their own. It takes time and commitment as well as support from professionals, family, and friends. Some people are able to phase a medication out within a few weeks. Others may be able to gradually decrease their dosage over a few months.

A detailed aftercare program is required to provide support and in order to prevent recurrence of use. Individual and group therapy and support groups are available at The Recovery Village and are tailored to each individual need, the seriousness of the condition, and level of comfort.

Our trained professionals will design a specified program to help with Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) addiction. This program will put you on the right path to recovery and will give the right amount of time the body needs in order to decrease chances of permanent damage. Call today to learn more about treatment offerings.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.