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Pain Med. 2017 Oct 1;18(10):1999-2012. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnw261.

Treatment of Neuropathic Pain with Venlafaxine: A Systematic Review.

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Departments of Psychiatry.
Department of Anesthesiology, Family Medicine, and Pharmacology, Rush Medical College, North Shore University Health System Pain Centers Evanston and Skokie Hospital, Skokie, Illinois, USA.
Anesthesiology, Hofstra Northwell Health, Staten Island University Hospital, Staten Island, New York, USA.



To investigate the efficacy of venlafaxine for neuropathic pain and review literature to determine if the medication provides adequate neuropathic pain relief.


Literature was reviewed on MEDLINE using various key words. These key words include: "venlafaxine and pain," "venlafaxine ER and pain," "venlafaxine XR and pain," "venlafaxine and neuropathic pain," "venlafaxine and neuropathy," "SSRI and neuropathic pain," "SSRI and neuropathy," "SNRI and neuropathic pain," "SNRI and neuropathy," "serotonin reuptake inhibitor and neuropathic pain," "serotonin reuptake inhibitor and neuropathy," "serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor and neuropathic pain" and "serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor and neuropathy." Using this guideline, 13 articles were reviewed.


A total of 13 studies reviewed, which are organized by date and diagnosis. It is evident that in the majority of studies, when compared with a placebo, there was a clinical significant reduction in neuropathic pain relief when using venlafaxine. Additionally, one study showed even more significant pain relief when using higher doses of venlafaxine (at least 150 mg). However, when compared with alternative neuropathic medications, venlafaxine for the most part did not perform any better in terms of efficacy.


In conclusion, venlafaxine is a safe and well-tolerated analgesic drug for the symptomatic treatment of neuropathic pain, and there is limited evidence that high-dose venlafaxine (150 mg/day) can be even more beneficial. While the present evidence is quite encouraging regarding venlafaxine's use for neuropathic pain, further research is needed to continue to expand on these findings, particularly when in consideration with other possible pharmacological agents.


Neuropathic Pain; Neuropathy; SNRI; Venlafaxine

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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