Desvenlafaxine is used to treat depression. It may improve your mood, feelings of well-being, and energy level. Desvenlafaxine is known as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). It works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural substances (serotonin and norepinephrine) in the brain.
This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
This drug may also be used for anxiety, panic attacks, or hot flashes that occur with menopause.
How To Use
Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking desvenlafaxine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once daily. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
Do not crush, chew, or dissolve this medication in water. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split the tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing.
To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase. Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time each day.
It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Also, you may experience symptoms such as mood swings, headache, tiredness, sleep changes, and brief feelings similar to electric shock. To prevent these symptoms while you are stopping treatment with this drug, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details. Report any new or worsening symptoms right away.
If you are switching from another antidepressant to desvenlafaxine, your doctor should slowly reduce the dose of your old antidepressant to prevent withdrawal reactions from the other antidepressant. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
It may take several weeks before you get the full benefit of this medication. Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
See also Warning section.
Drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, dry mouth, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss, blurred vision, nervousness, trouble sleeping, or excessive sweating may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
This medication may raise your blood pressure. Check your blood pressure regularly and tell your doctor if the results are high.
An empty tablet shell may appear in your stool. This effect is harmless because your body has already absorbed the medication.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
- severe/pounding headache
- shakiness (tremor)
- decreased interest in sex
- changes in sexual ability
- easy bruising/bleeding
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including:
- cough that doesn’t go away
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
- black stools
- vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- eye pain/swelling/redness
- widened pupils
- vision changes (such as seeing rainbows around lights at night)
This medication may increase serotonin and rarely cause a very serious condition called serotonin syndrome/toxicity. The risk increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin, so tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take (see Drug Interactions section). Get medical help right away if you develop some of the following symptoms:
- fast heartbeat
- loss of coordination
- severe dizziness
- severe nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
- twitching muscles
- unexplained fever
- unusual agitation/restlessness
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
- itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
- severe dizziness
- trouble breathing