Many people have never heard of the pharmaceutical drug Pristiq. Unfortunately, others know it all too well. This drug is prescribed for the treatment of major depressive disorder, and over half a million Americans take it every year for this purpose. Although Pristiq – also known by its generic name, desvenlafaxine – helps many people manage their depression symptoms effectively, it can also be addictive.  Use and misuse of Pristiq can be dangerous. Read on to learn more about this helpful but also potentially harmful drug.

Understanding Pristiq

Pristiq, or desvenlafaxine, is a drug that is commonly prescribed to help people with major depressive disorder manage their depression symptoms. It’s an SNRI antidepressant specifically. SNRI antidepressants are one of the four common types of antidepressants. SNRI stands for serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor; they work by altering the chemistry in the brain by increasing the number of feel-good chemicals that are released into the brain’s neurotransmitters. 

SNRI antidepressants are relatively new and have only been prescribed in the United States for the past thirty years or so. Only four medications of this type are approved for use, and desvenlafaxine is one of them. Still, more than 40 million prescriptions for SNRI anti-depressants were filled in our country in 2019 in the United States alone; that number is likely higher today.

Although Pristiq does have some potential for abuse, the positive effects of this drug are numerous, and most doctors who prescribe it to their patients don’t worry too much about their patients becoming addicted to it. However, most drugs do have some misuse and abuse potential and Pristiq is no exception.

People who are prescribed Pristiq for major depressive disorder take this drug in pill form and must take it at the same time each day to experience the best results. Although desvenlafaxine is only officially approved for depression, it is also prescribed off-label for issues like anxiety, OCD, and menopause, and many people find this drug to be helpful for these conditions, too.

Side Effects of Pristiq

Pristiq side effects are common and are mostly related to the gastrointestinal system. People who use Pristiq, especially those who misuse or abuse the drug, report issues like nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and loss of appetite. Further, some users find that side effects of Pristiq can include dry mouth, dizziness, headache, and excessive sweating as well. Anyone suffering from any of these desvenlafaxine side effects should consult their doctor to find ways to manage them if they wish to stay on this medication.

Further, there are Pristiq long-term side effects of which users should be aware; these side effects can be dangerous and life-long and can negatively affect one’s overall health.  Pristiq, when taken long-term, can damage the liver and can cause cardiovascular disturbances. It can negatively affect one’s urinary tract, and it can even lead to osteoporosis and increase the risk of bone fractures. In some cases, Pristiq users have developed glaucoma or cataracts as well. Clearly, all of these side effects are dangerous, and many are irreversible, so anyone taking this drug to combat depression should be aware of them when taking Pristiq on a long-term basis.

Pristiq Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal is possible for individuals who choose to decrease their intake of Pristiq or who wish to discontinue the use of the drug altogether. Pristiq withdrawal can come with symptoms like dizziness, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, sweating, and even flu-like symptoms like lethargy and malaise. 

The timeline of desvenlafaxine withdrawal can vary drastically from individual to individual based on a wide variety of factors. For most people, withdrawal from this drug can last anywhere from three weeks to several months. 

The best way to avoid desvenlafaxine withdrawal symptoms is by tapering off the drug rather than quitting cold turkey. In either case, anyone taking Pristiq should talk to their doctor about their desire to quit or cut back so that he or she can help develop a safe dose-tapering regimen. Through dose-tapering, doctors prescribe smaller and smaller doses over long periods of time until the patient is at the lower dosage they seek or are off the drug altogether.  This is, by far, the safest and easiest way to get off any prescription drug to which someone has developed a dependency. 

Pristiq Addiction and Misuse

Although Pristiq is not considered physically addictive, it is one of so many drugs to which people can become psychologically addicted. Psychological addiction is actually quite common when it comes to anti-depressants of all kinds, and that includes SNRI anti-depressants like Pristiq. People may feel that they are dependent on the positive effects of desvenlafaxine because it is effective in treating depression; people fear going off the drug because they don’t want to begin to experience intense depression symptoms again.  

Unfortunately, as with many drugs, people can build a tolerance over time to desvenlafaxine. As a result, they may find themselves asking their doctors for a increased dosage or they may independently choose to take more of their own prescription. Both of these increases can be dangerous, and the individual may experience more intense short-term side effects and may be more susceptible to the long-term side effects mentioned above as well.

However, again, due to the fact that these individuals do not want to experience painful depression symptoms again, they may find it difficult to stop using Pristiq, and they may not want to cut back either, even though the side effects can be dangerous.  Again, if a Pristiq user feels that he or she is taking too much or if he or she experiences intense side effects from the drug, consulting a doctor about these issues immediately is crucial.

Treatment Options

If you or someone you love struggles with dependency or addiction to Pristiq but has not found success in tapering off the drug under a doctor’s supervision, treatment is available. At Clear Sky Recovery, we can help you break free from your dependency on or addiction to desvenlafaxine. Our innovative ibogaine treatment will not only help you avoid withdrawal symptoms, but it will also help you get to the root of your issue and help you determine why you became dependent on this drug in the first place. Our experienced staff is standing by at our facility in Cancun, Mexico to answer any questions you may have about our program and methods. We look forward to hearing from you and to helping you. Please contact us today.