The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
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Desvenlafaxine for Depression

The FDA has approved the marketing of desvenlafaxine (Pristiq – Wyeth), the main active metabolite of venlafaxine (Effexor, and others – Wyeth), for treatment of major depressive disorder. Venlafaxine, a norepinephrine and serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), is available generically as an immediate-release tablet. Venlafaxine extended-release capsules (Effexor XR) are scheduled to go off-patent in 2010.

VENLAFAXINE — Originally positioned as a secondline drug,1 venlafaxine has recently been marketed directly to the public as a first-line treatment for depression. Its adverse effects are similar to those of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), but discontinuation symptoms may be more severe, it can cause a slight increase in diastolic blood pressure, and it appears to be more dangerous in overdose.2

PHARMACOLOGY ... more      

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