Desvenlafaxine (generic for Pristiq®)

Everyone faces emotional challenges in life. It’s not easy, but you are not alone. Medication isn’t for everyone, but it can be life-changing for those who need it. Consult with a psychiatry provider to help you determine whether a medication like desvenlafaxine could be right for you and help you feel your best again.

FDA-approved for depression

Prescribed by licensed psychiatry providers, if appropriate

Non-controlled medication, no addictive properties

Medication Bottle (2)

Desvenlafaxine Overview

How it works

Desvenlafaxine is in a class of medications called selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). It is used to treat depression and other conditions. Desvenlafaxine works by increasing the amounts of serotonin and norepinephrine, natural substances in the brain that help maintain mental balance.


Desvenlafaxine is a non-controlled medication, which means that it is not classified as having euphoric or addictive properties. There are no cravings, no hazardous behaviors, and no examples of prolonged addictive behavior associated with it.

Desvenlafaxine may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you. Remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this medication. Ask your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages while you are taking desvenlafaxine. Alcohol can make the side effects from desvenlafaxine worse.

How it should be used

It may take 2 to 4 weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of desvenlafaxine. Continue to take desvenlafaxine even if you feel well. 

Do not stop taking desvenlafaxine without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking desvenlafaxine, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, nausea, headache, ringing in the ears, irritability, unable to control emotions, frequent mood changes, abnormally excited, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, diarrhea, anxiety, extreme tiredness, unusual dreams, seizures, sweating, uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body, or pain, burning or tingling in the hands or feet. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.

What to do if you forget a dose

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

Side effects

Desvenlafaxine may cause side effects. However, they tend to go away after an adaptation period. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  •     constipation
  •     loss of appetite
  •     dry mouth
  •     dizziness
  •     extreme tiredness
  •     unusual dreams
  •     yawning
  •     sweating
  •     uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
  •     pain, burning, numbness, or tingling in part of the body
  •     enlarged pupils (black circles in the centers of the eyes)
  •     changes in sexual desire or ability
  •     difficulty urinating

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience either of the following symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING or SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS sections, call your doctor immediately:

  •     rash
  •     hives
  •     swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  •     hoarseness
  •     difficulty swallowing or breathing
  •     fast heartbeat
  •     cough
  •     chest, arm, back, neck, or jaw pain
  •     fever
  •     coma (loss of consciousness for a period of time)
  •     seizures
  •     hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
  •     fever, sweating, confusion, fast or irregular heartbeat, and severe muscle stiffness
  •     unusual bleeding or bruising
  •     nosebleeds
  •     small red or purple dots on the skin
  •     nausea
  •     vomiting
  •     diarrhea
  •     headache
  •     difficulty concentrating
  •     memory problems
  •     confusion
  •     weakness
  •     problems with coordination
  •     increased falls
  •     fainting

Desvenlafaxine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

In case of emergency or overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.


The information about this medication is not intended to replace medical counseling. Please consult your pharmacist and/or health provider for more comprehensive information. You can also find the Medication Guide containing the manufacturer’s patient information approved by the FDA here.

Information Source


Last Revised on 04/15/2019