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Precautions and Warnings With Desvenlafaxine

Specific Precautions and Warnings With Desvenlafaxine

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking desvenlafaxine include the following:
 
  • Antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thinking or behavior in (see Depression and Suicide for more information). Therefore, if you notice any changes in symptoms or new symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider immediately. Some of these symptoms may include:
 
    • Anxiety
    • Hostility
    • Agitation
    • Panic
    • Restlessness
    • Hallucinations
    • Extreme hyperactivity
    • Suicidal thinking or behavior.
 
  • Before prescribing desvenlafaxine for depression, your healthcare provider should make sure you do not have bipolar disorder instead. Sometimes, the symptoms of bipolar disorder and depression are similar, and desvenlafaxine can cause problems in people with bipolar disorder.
     
  • The medication can increase blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure (hypertension), your blood pressure should be under control before you start desvenlafaxine. Everyone who takes the drug should have their blood pressure checked periodically.
     
  • Because desvenlafaxine can increase heart rate and blood pressure, it may not be safe for some people with heart disease.
     
  • Antidepressants can cause a group of dangerous symptoms known as serotonin syndrome. Taking desvenlafaxine with other medications that affect serotonin can increase your risk of serotonin syndrome. These medications include other antidepressants, triptans (migraine medications), and others (see Drug Interactions With Desvenlafaxine). Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you have any possible symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as:
 
    • Confusion
    • Seeing or hearing things that are not there (hallucinations)
    • Fast heartbeat (tachycardia)
    • Feeling faint
    • Fever
    • Sweating
    • Muscle spasms
    • Difficulty walking
    • Diarrhea.
 
  • The medication may increase your risk of bleeding. This may be especially problematic in people who already have a bleeding disorder or who take other medications that also increase the risk of bleeding.
     
  • Desvenlafaxine can cause seizures, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, or worsening of glaucoma. Your healthcare provider should monitor you closely if you have any of these conditions.
     
  • Since the medication is removed from the body using the liver and kidneys, you may need a lower desvenlafaxine dosage if you have liver or kidney problems.
     
  • Desvenlafaxine can interact with certain medications (see Drug Interactions With Desvenlafaxine).
     
  • If you are elderly or taking a diuretic, the medication could cause low salt levels in the blood (hyponatremia). This generally returns to "normal" when desvenlafaxine is discontinued.
     
  • If you stop taking desvenlafaxine, you should be monitored by a healthcare professional for possible withdrawal symptoms. If you do develop symptoms of withdrawal, such as irritability, anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, or insomnia, your healthcare provider may slow down the rate at which desvenlafaxine is stopped.
     
  • Desvenlafaxine is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe to use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using the drug when pregnant (see Pristiq and Pregnancy).
     
  • Desvenlafaxine passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to using the drug (see Pristiq and Breastfeeding).
     
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