You may have lost track of the days during this quarantine, but it is, in fact, Monday once again, which means that it is again time for Medication Monday, the weekly series that offers brief, informative insights into the various mental health medications that are available. This week, we take a look at the antidepressant Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine).
Pristiq is approved for treating major depressive disorder. As with most medications, it will likely take 1-2 weeks to start working and may take up to 8 weeks to fully feel the effects of Pristiq. This medication, like most antidepressants, should not be used to treat bipolar disorder, due to the risk of those patients becoming manic.
Pristiq also has numerous side effects, including constipation, decreased appetite, diarrhea, dry mouth, headache, increased sweating, nausea, nervousness, tremor, vomiting, feeling fatigued, sleepy, having trouble sleeping (insomnia), sexual side effects, and an increase in blood pressure. While most of these side effects will improve over time, the sexual side effects and blood pressure increases generally do not. In rare cases, the increases in heart rate or blood pressure can be serious.
Patients who were taking MAOIs, such as phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), isocarboxazid (Marplan), rasagiline (Azilect), and selegiline (Emsam), should wait at least two weeks after stopping the MAOI to start Pristiq. Additionally, Pristiq may increase the risk of bleeding that exists with certain drugs such as ibuprofen and warfarin.
Individuals should not stop taking Pristiq suddenly, as that may cause additional side effects as well as exacerbating the underlying depressive disorder. Instead, individuals who are concerned about this medication should discuss those concerns with their doctor. As always, I wish to remind everyone that Medication Monday is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be treated as such.
As always, thanks for reading, and until next time, be well.
Source: NAMI-Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)