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What Is Levomilnacipran Used For?

Levomilnacipran is primarily prescribed to treat major depressive disorder, also called clinical depression. However, there are also some off-label uses for levomilnacipran, such as treating fibromyalgia, anxiety disorder, and neuropathic pain. This antidepressant works by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain. It is only approved for adults age 18 and older.


An Overview of Uses for Levomilnacipran

Levomilnacipran (Fetzima™) is a prescription medication approved to treat major depressive disorder. It belongs to a group of antidepressants called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

Understanding Depression

Depression is a mood disorder that causes people to feel sad and to lose interest in the things they used to find pleasurable. Everyone feels down from time to time, but the sadness from depression is much more than just an occasional low mood.
Depression interferes with a person's ability to function normally, their ability to work, and their relationships. It can cause someone to feel hopeless, feel despair, and believe that things will never get better. Depression significantly affects both the person who has the condition and their loved ones.

There are several types of depression. Major depressive disorder, also sometimes called clinical depression or simply major depression, is one type. It is a serious medical illness that causes both psychological and physical symptoms. Some of the common signs of major depression include:
  • Depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in things you used to find enjoyable
  • Changes in appetite (eating more or less) or weight loss or gain
  • Changes in sleep (sleeping more or less than before)
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Restlessness or slowed activity
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Physical symptoms, such as headaches or pain.
Not everyone will have all of these symptoms. However, to be diagnosed with major depressive disorder, a person will generally have many of these symptoms for most of the day over at least a two-week period. For many people, signs of depression last much longer than two weeks without treatment.
Most people with depression will need treatment to get better. Thankfully, depression is a treatable medical condition. Levomilnacipran is one of many antidepressant medications used in the treatment of depression (see Fetzima Alternatives for information about other available antidepressants).
Levomilnacipran can improve your symptoms and help get you back to functioning like you did before you became depressed. However, like other antidepressants, it doesn't cure depression, so you may need to continue treatment even after your symptoms have improved. In fact, most people with depression require long-term treatment, sometimes even lifelong. Your healthcare provider will tell you how long you need to take this medication.
It is important to keep in mind that depression treatment takes time. Like other antidepressants, it can take a couple weeks of levomilnacipran treatment before you start to feel better. Usually, physical symptoms, such as appetite and sleep, improve first. Improvements in mood and energy may take longer. Try not to get discouraged. Remember, you didn't get depressed overnight, and you can't expect to get better overnight either.  
Nonmedication treatments, such as counseling or therapy, may be used along with antidepressant treatment (see Psychotherapy for Depression). Talk to your healthcare provider about nonmedication treatment options that may be beneficial for you.
(Click Depression Treatment for more information on this topic).
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