Pristiq Side Effects

by on March 7, 2012


Desvenlafaxine—also known by its brand name Pristiq—is a relatively new medication that relieves the symptoms of depression in adults.  Although it is very effective, there are some side effects of Pristiq that patients should be aware of, including seizures, hallucinations, rigid or stiff muscles and memory problems.

Common Pristiq Side Effects

Some of the most common side effects of Pristiq include:

  • Increased perspiration
  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation and mild upset stomach
  • Insomnia or interruptions in sleep patterns
  • Decreased libido or inability to orgasm

While these side effects are usually mild and will go away over time, they should be reported to a physician if they last longer than a few weeks or become increasingly bothersome. Physicians can adjust the dosage of the medication or even switch medications altogether if the need arises.

Severe Pristiq Side Effects

pristiq The following side effects are very serious and should be reported to a physician immediately:

  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Agitation, hallucinations, fever, rapid heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination and overactive reflexes
  • Eye pain, vision changes or seeing ‘halos’ around lights
  • Trouble breathing, tightness in the chest and persistent coughing
  • Easy bruising and bleeding including bleeding from the gums or nose, bloody stools, coughing up blood
  • Stiff muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion and rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Confusion, fainting or extreme light-headedness
  • Severe skin reactions including rashes, blistering or peeling
  • Swelling in the face or throat , eye pain and burning followed by a spreading red or purple rash
  • Headache, weakness, trouble concentrating, issues with memory and shallow breathing

These side effects are extremely serious and can be life-threatening if not immediately reported to a physician. Patients who experience any of these Pristiq side effects should stop taking the medication and seek emergency medical help.

Pristiq use in Children and Young Adults

Pristiq, like many antidepressant medications, is not approved for use in children or teenagers at this time. Clinical studies have shown that medications like Pristiq can cause an increased incidence of suicides and attempted suicides in children, teens and young adults. To date, Pristiq is not prescribed to patients under the age of 18 but many physicians will not prescribe these medications to anyone under the age of 25 due to the increased risks of suicide.

Children and teenagers suffering from depression should seek psychiatric help in order to determine the best course of action until medications like Desvenlafaxine can be prescribed safely

Pristiq in the Elderly

During clinical studies with Pristiq, approximately five percent of the surveyed population were 65 years of age or older. Researchers did not observe any differences in the safety or efficiency of the drug although the elderly age group did report and increased incidence of mild to moderate Pristiq side effects. There is some concern that the use of this medication in older adults can increase the chances of developing hyponatremia—or a significant lack of sodium in the bloodstream. While this can be a serious problem, it can usually be managed with adequate sodium intake and an adjustment in the dosage of Pristiq.

Patients who suffer from depression or anxiety can certainly benefit from Pristiq and other medications like it. In order to get the best possible treatment, however, patients should constantly be monitored for mild to severe side effects.