Pristiq is a medication licensed for the treatment of depression. By blocking the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, the drug can help improve symptoms. Pristiq, which is available by prescription only, comes in the form of an extended-release tablet, and is generally taken once daily. Potential side effects include dizziness, insomnia, headaches, and nausea.
What Is Pristiq?
Pristiq® (desvenlafaxine succinate) is a prescription medication used to treat depression. It comes in an extended-release tablet, meaning the medicine is released slowly into your body over time. Because Pristiq is long-acting, it is taken just once a day.
Pristiq is manufactured by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
How Does Pristiq Work?
Pristiq is part of a class of drugs called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs for short. SNRIs act on specific chemicals within the brain known as serotonin and norepinephrine. These are two of several chemicals used to send messages from one nerve cell to another.
As a message travels down a nerve, it causes the end of the cell to release serotonin or norepinephrine. The chemical then enters the gap between the first nerve cell and the one next to it. When enough serotonin or norepinephrine reaches the second nerve cell, it activates receptors on the cell, and the message continues on its way. The first cell then quickly absorbs any serotonin or norepinephrine that remains in the gap between cells. This is called "reuptake."
Normally, this process works without any problems. When the levels become unbalanced, however, it can cause a variety of conditions, including depression. Pristiq helps block the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine so more remains in the space between the brain's nerve cells. This gives the chemicals a better chance of activating the receptors on the next nerve cell.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Pristiq [package insert]. New York, NY: Pfizer Inc;2012 December.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed April 4, 2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed March 11, 2008.
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