Generic Name: Desvenlafaxine

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Pristiq is a medicine called a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). It is used to treat major depressive disorder.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Pristiq is thought to work by increasing the activity of chemicals in your brain called serotonin and norepinephrine. By increasing serotonin and norepinephrine, Pristiq may help improve your symptoms.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What: Pristiq has been shown to relieve symptoms associated with major depressive disorder, as measured by appropriate symptom rating scales that are commonly used by healthcare providers to evaluate the effectiveness of the medicine in people with such conditions.

    When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Pristiq exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed, even if you do not feel better right away.

    How do I know it is working?

    Your healthcare provider may ask you a series of questions from time to time that will help assess how well your symptoms are controlled with treatment.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Pristiq can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, teenagers, and young adults. Your healthcare provider will monitor you closely for clinical worsening or suicidal/unusual behavior after you start taking Pristiq or start a new dose of Pristiq. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you experience anxiety, hostility, sleeplessness, restlessness, impulsive or dangerous behavior, thoughts about suicide or dying, or if you have new symptoms or seem to be feeling worse.

    More common side effects may include: nausea, dizziness, sleeplessness, sweating, constipation, drowsiness, decreased appetite, anxiety, sexual dysfunction in men.

    Less common side effects may include:

    Serotonin syndrome (a potentially life-threatening drug reaction that causes the body to have too much serotonin, a chemical produced by the nerve cells) with symptoms such as mental status changes (such as agitation or hallucinations), an increase in your heart rate and temperature, lack of coordination, overactive reflexes, muscle rigidity, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

    Manic episodes with symptoms such as greatly increased energy, severe trouble sleeping, racing thoughts, reckless behavior, excessive happiness or irritability, or talking more or faster than usual.

    Abnormal bleeding or bruising, especially if you also take blood thinners (such as warfarin), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as ibuprofen or naproxen), or aspirin.

    Low blood sodium (salt) levels with symptoms such as headache, weakness, an unsteady feeling, confusion, problems concentrating or thinking, or memory problems.

    Lung problems or pneumonia with symptoms such as difficulty breathing, cough, or chest discomfort.

    Pristiq may cause seizures, dilation of your pupils, or changes in your blood pressure.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Pristiq if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    Do not take Pristiq if you are allergic to venlafaxine, the active ingredient in Effexor and Effexor XR.

    Do not take Pristiq if you take another medicine called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (such as phenelzine, selegiline, linezolid, or methylene blue), a class of medications used to treat depression and other conditions. Do not start taking Pristiq if you stopped taking an MAOI in the last 2 weeks, unless directed to do so by your healthcare provider.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Pristiq. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have high blood pressure; heart, liver, or kidney problems; high cholesterol (fats in the blood) or triglyceride (type of fat in the blood) levels; history of stroke; have or had depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior; glaucoma (high pressure in the eye); have or had bleeding problems, seizures, or convulsions; mania or bipolar disorder; low sodium levels in your blood; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Adults: The recommended dose is 50 milligrams once a day.

    If you have kidney or liver impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

    It is important that you do not stop taking this medication abruptly. If you need to change or stop taking this medication, it is important that you only do this with the guidance of your healthcare provider.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Pristiq exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Pristiq without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Take Pristiq with or without food at about the same time every day.

    Swallow Pristiq tablets whole with water. Do not crush, cut, chew, or dissolve them.

    When you take Pristiq, you may see something in your stool that looks like a tablet. This is the empty shell from the tablet after the medicine has been absorbed in your body.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not drive a car, operate heavy machinery, or engage in other dangerous activities until you know how Pristiq affects you.

    Do not drink alcohol while you are taking Pristiq.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Pristiq is taken with certain drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Pristiq with the following: alcohol, aspirin, atomoxetine, buspirone, certain antidepressant medications known as tricyclic antidepressants (such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline), desipramine, desvenlafaxine, dextromethorphan, fentanyl, lithium, MAOIs (such as phenelzine, selegiline, linezolid, or methylene blue), medicines used to treat migraine headaches (such as sumatriptan and zolmitriptan), metoprolol, nevibolol, NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen and naproxen), perphenazine, St. John's wort, tolterodine, tramadol, tryptophan, venlafaxine, or warfarin.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Pristiq may harm your newborn baby if you take it during the last few months of your pregnancy. Pristiq can be found in your breast milk if taken while breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed while taking Pristiq. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Pristiq, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature.

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I'm Kristen Dore, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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