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Desvenlafaxine (By mouth)

Treats depression. This medicine is an SSNRI.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Desvenlafaxine is used to treat depression. It belongs to a group of medicines known as serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). These medicines are thought to work by increasing the activity of chemicals called serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription… Read more
Brand names include
Khedezla, Pristiq
Drug classes About this

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Is desvenlafaxine effective and safe in the treatment of menopausal vasomotor symptoms? A meta-analysis and meta-regression of randomized double-blind controlled studies

BACKGROUND: During perimenopause, vasomotor symptoms are known to have a detrimental effect on women's functional ability and quality of life. For symptomatic women not eligible for hormonal therapy, desvenlafaxine is an option, but its safety margin and tolerability are not yet determined.

Efficacy and safety of desvenlafaxine treatment for hot flashes associated with menopause: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Vasomotor symptoms, such as daytime hot flashes and nighttime awakenings due to hot flashes, are commonly associated with menopausal women. The aim of this study was to assess desvenlafaxine in moderate to severe hot flashes in postmenopausal women. Electronic databases were searched for relevant randomized controlled trials that compared desvenlafaxine to placebo for postmenopausal women affected with hot flashes. The main outcomes were mean differences (MD) or standardized mean differences (SMD) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for change of the hot flashes. Six randomized controlled trials were identified in the meta-analysis. Pooled change of moderate and severe hot flashes frequency reduced SMD of -0.49 (95% CI -0.91 to -0.07) in desvenlafaxine 100 mg and -0.36 (95% CI -0.54 to -0.19) in desvenlafaxine 150 mg at week 12. Desvenlafaxine 100 mg reduced moderate and severe hot flashes frequency SMD of -0.74 (95% CI -1.05 to -0.44) within 26 weeks. There is no evidence for an increased risk of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, or hepatic events associated with desvenlafaxine 100 mg/day. The meta-analysis suggests that treatment with desvenlafaxine 100 mg/day is associated with a significant reduction of moderate to severe hot flashes in postmenopausal women. Desvenlafaxine appears both safe and effective for treating hot flushes for up to 12 months.

Efficacy of desvenlafaxine 50 mg compared with placebo in patients with moderate or severe major depressive disorder: a pooled analysis of six randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies

This study assessed the efficacy of desvenlafaxine 50 mg/day compared with placebo for treating moderate or severe major depressive disorder (MDD). Data were pooled from six double-blind, placebo-controlled, desvenlafaxine 50 mg/day fixed-dose studies in adults with MDD. The primary endpoint was improvement in 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D17) scores from baseline at week 8. HAM-D17 changes were evaluated in patients with moderate (18<HAM-D17<25) or severe (HAM-D17≥25) MDD at baseline using analysis of covariance with treatment, study, and baseline in the model. The pooled analysis included 2189 patients (desvenlafaxine 50 mg, n=1150; placebo, n=1039). Of those, 694 (32%) patients had severe depression at baseline. Desvenlafaxine improved HAM-D17 scores versus placebo in patients with either moderate [desvenlafaxine, adjusted mean (±SE), -10.26±0.24; placebo, -8.87±0.26; P<0.001] or severe MDD (desvenlafaxine, -11.91±0.40; placebo, -9.85±0.42; P<0.001). Both moderately and severely depressed patients had significantly higher rates of response and remission with desvenlafaxine treatment compared with placebo (all P's≤0.029). Results were similar when baseline severity was defined by Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale or Sheehan Disability Scale scores. Desvenlafaxine 50 mg/day significantly improved depressive symptoms regardless of severity at baseline and was effective in treating both moderate and severe MDD.

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Summaries for consumers

Duloxetine versus other antidepressive agents for depression

Although pharmacological and psychological interventions are both effective for major depression, antidepressant drugs remain the mainstay of treatment in moderate to severe major depression. During the last 20 years, newer compounds (such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and dual action agents such as serotonin noradrenalin reuptake inhibitors) have progressively become the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. Duloxetine hydrochloride, one of the most recent antidepressants introduced in the market, is a selective serotonin noradrenergic reuptake inhibitor for oral administration. In the present review we assessed the evidence for the efficacy, acceptability and tolerability of duloxetine in comparison with all other antidepressants in the acute‐phase treatment of major depression. Sixteen randomised controlled trials (5735 participants) were included. Duloxetine was not more effective than some other new antidepressant agents in the acute‐phase treatment of major depression, and it was less well tolerated than escitalopram and venlafaxine as more patients allocated to duloxetine withdrew treatment before study end. However, due to the limited number of studies per comparison these results should be interpreted with caution.

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