Make sure you seek emergency medical attention if you experience any of the following severe symptoms or allergic reactions.

Potentially severe symptoms/allergic reactions to Savella (milnacipran) can include:

  • skin rash
  • hives
  • difficulty breathing
  • swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat

Common symptoms/side effects of taking Savella can include:

  • nausea
  • abdominal pain
  • headache
  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • insomnia
  • hot flush
  • hyperhidrosis
  • vomiting
  • palpitations
  • increased heart rate
  • increased blood pressure
  • dry mouth
  • hypertension

Other symptoms/side effects of taking Savella can include:

  • blurred vision
  • body aches or pain
  • chills
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • ear congestion
  • fear or nervousness
  • fever
  • increased sweating
  • loss of voice
  • nasal congestion
  • pounding in the ears
  • runny nose
  • slow or fast heartbeat
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • low sodium levels

Because Savella is in the same class of medications as an antidepressant, the side effects can be like other medications used to treat depression. There is an increased risk of suicidal ideation, thinking, and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults taking antidepressants for major depressive and other psychiatric disorders.

Be sure to call a doctor immediately if any thoughts or actions of suicide occur, and report any new or worsening symptoms or mood or behavior changes as listed below to your doctor.

Symptoms may include the following:

  • low mood (depression)
  • mood or behavior changes (change in balance/new or worse changes in mood or actions)
  • feeling anxious, confused, impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, nervous, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself
  • panic attacks
  • trouble sleeping
  • hallucinations
  • fast or abnormal heartbeat
  • flushing
  • muscle twitching or stiffness
  • seizures
  • shivering or shaking
  • sweating a lot
  • diarrhea
  • upset stomach
  • throwing up
  • very bad headache

If you or a loved one is taking Savella, stay alert to changes in mood or symptoms and watch for unusual changes in thought patterns or behavior.  Talk with your doctor about the symptoms and side effects of Savella, particularly in relation to use with other medications, drugs or your diet.

What is Savella (Milnacipran)?

Savella is a brand name of the FDA-approved generic drug named milnacipran. Savella is a selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI).  It affects certain chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. It works by increasing the amount of naturally occurring substances — serotonin and norepinephrine — to help stop the movement of pain signals in the brain.

Milnacipran is used to treat fibromyalgia, a long-lasting condition that causes chronic pain in the muscles and joints. Somewhere between 6 to 12 million people in the U.S. (two percent of the population) are estimated to be affected by this condition, according to the American Chronic Pain Association, and the vast majority with fibromyalgia are female.

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, and there is no known cure. It is thought that it may be related to an abnormality in certain chemicals in the brain. Some fibromyalgia sufferers turn to medications like Savella for the relief of pain symptoms, such as muscle stiffness, tenderness, tiredness, and difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

While Savella is not used to treat depression, it acts like medicines that are used to treat depression (antidepressants) and other psychiatric disorders.

Savella (Milnacipran) Addiction

Like antidepressants, for safe and effective use, Savella should be treated like any other antidepressant medication.  Doctors consider antidepressants as generally having less potential for misuse. However, just as with other prescription drugs and antidepressants, Savella can also be misused.

The most commonly reported motivation for substance misuse when it comes to antidepressants is to achieve a psychostimulant-like effect. Misuse/overuse of antidepressants at high doses can cause seizures, confusion and psychotic-like symptoms. Some patients can experience feelings of withdrawal when they stop taking the medication. The above-listed symptoms can be an indication of misuse of Savella (milnacipran).

Savella (Milnacipran) Long-Term Effects

A study conducted by The Clinical Journal of Pain evaluated the long-term effects in patients using milnacipran in the treatment of fibromyalgia.  Most patients experienced some form of side effect, with the most common being nausea and headache.  Potentially clinically significant increases in blood pressure or heart rate also occurred in a small percentage of those that participated in the study.

General improvement in physical functioning was reported across patients, with these improvements generally observed by month three of starting the medication. Sustained symptom improvements were found in fibromyalgia patients who received up to 3.25 years of milnacipran treatment. 70 percent of patients that continued to take the drug over the course of three years rated their overall fibromyalgia as “much improved” or “very much improved.”

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.