FAQs | PRISTIQ® (desvenlafaxine) | Safety Info

Frequently Asked Questions

Although your doctor is the best source for answering your specific questions about depression and treatment with PRISTIQ, you can find answers to common questions here.

General Information About PRISTIQ

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What is PRISTIQ?

PRISTIQ is a prescription medication that is FDA approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder in adults.

How can PRISTIQ help treat depression?

PRISTIQ is an effective treatment for depression in adults. It’s proven to relieve the emotional and physical symptoms of depression as measured by the HAM-D17, a commonly used symptom rating scale.

In clinical studies, PRISTIQ 50 mg also helped improve patients' ability to function according to a scale* used to measure how depression disrupts work, social life/leisure activities, and family life/home responsibilities.

*Sheehan Disability Scale (a validated measure of functional impairment) total score for PRISTIQ vs placebo.

Is there a generic form of PRISTIQ?

Yes, there are generic forms of PRISTIQ available, but you can continue to get the brand you know. Use the PRISTIQ Savings Card* and you may pay as little as $4 per fill.*

*Eligibility required. Terms and conditions apply.  

How long has PRISTIQ been available?

PRISTIQ has been available for 10 years. It was FDA approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults in February of 2008.

How does PRISTIQ work?

Depression is a serious medical condition that can hold you back from what you enjoy. And while no one knows for certain what causes it, experts believe that depression results when certain chemicals in the brain are out of balance. These chemicals, called neurotransmitters, relay messages from one brain cell to another.

PRISTIQ is in a class of medications known as SNRIs, or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. Serotonin and norepinephrine are chemicals that relay messages from one brain cell to another.

PRISTIQ is thought to work by affecting the levels of these two brain chemicals, both thought to play a role in depression.  

How quickly does PRISTIQ work?

When taking PRISTIQ, it’s important to give it time to work. Everybody responds differently to treatment. In general, it can take several weeks to feel the full benefits of a prescription antidepressant, although some people will start to feel better sooner. Give PRISTIQ the time to work.

Don't stop taking PRISTIQ without first talking to your doctor, even if you don't feel results right away. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have.  

How to Get Brand-Name PRISTIQ

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How can I ensure that I won’t get switched to a generic substitute?

Here are 3 suggested tips to help make sure you receive brand-name PRISTIQ and not a generic:

  1. At your doctor’s office: Ask your doctor to prescribe brand-name PRISTIQ and to indicate “DAW” (Dispense As Written)—or the language used in your state—on all of your PRISTIQ prescriptions.
  2. At your pharmacy’s drop-off: Tell the pharmacist that you want brand-name PRISTIQ—and be sure to use the PRISTIQ Savings Card. The PRISTIQ Savings Card can only be used with brand-name PRISTIQ.
  3. At your pharmacy’s pick-up: Check your pills to be sure they’re brand-name PRISTIQ—not the generic—and also check that you’ve saved on your prescription.

What should I do if I receive a generic substitute instead of brand-name PRISTIQ?

Talk to your doctor and/or your pharmacist to ask if you should be getting brand-name PRISTIQ. For tips on having that conversation, download the Savings Card Tip Sheet.

How do I know if I received brand-name PRISTIQ?

Check your pills for the distinctive shape and markings of brand-name PRISTIQ.

Saving on PRISTIQ

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What is the PRISTIQ Savings Card?

The PRISTIQ Savings Card allows eligible patients to pay as little as $4 every time they get a 30-day fill of brand-name PRISTIQ—and could save up to $1,080 a year. If you have a prescription for brand-name PRISTIQ, you can use the card for every fill through December 31, 2020.*

*Terms and conditions apply.

How do I use the PRISTIQ Savings Card?

There are 2 ways to use the card immediately. Once you’ve activated your Savings Card, you can either:

  • Bring a printed copy of it to the pharmacy
  • Show it to your pharmacist on your phone

You can keep this card with you and continue to save on each fill for PRISTIQ through December 31, 2020.

Who is eligible to use the PRISTIQ Savings Card?

To be eligible to use a PRISTIQ Savings Card, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Not be a resident of Massachusetts
  • Not be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or any other federal or state healthcare programs
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The Card is not valid for California residents whose prescriptions are covered in whole or in part by third-party insurance, a healthcare service plan, or other health coverage where a lower cost generic is available, unless applicable step therapy or prior authorization requirements have been completed.

Please check with your healthcare professional or insurer to confirm eligibility.

To learn the full details of who is eligible, please see the full Terms and Conditions.

How do I get a PRISTIQ Savings Card?

To get a Savings Card, register here and then download your card or have it sent to you via mail, email, or text.

If I already have a PRISTIQ Savings Card, how can I activate it?

You can activate your Savings Card here.

Where can I use the PRISTIQ Savings Card?

You can use the Savings Card at any participating pharmacy. Use the Pharmacy Finder to locate a pharmacy near you that has recently accepted the PRISTIQ Savings Card.

Can I use the PRISTIQ Savings Card on a previously filled prescription?

The PRISTIQ Savings Card can only be used for new prescriptions that are filled after you have activated the card.

Does the PRISTIQ Savings Card work at nonparticipating pharmacies?

Yes, for reimbursement when using a nonparticipating pharmacy: Pay for your PRISTIQ prescription, and mail a copy of the original pharmacy receipt (cash register receipt NOT valid) with product name, date, and amount circled to: PRISTIQ Savings Offer, 2250 Perimeter Park Drive, Suite 300, Morrisville, NC 27560. Be sure to include a copy of the front of your PRISTIQ Savings Card, your name, and mailing address.

Does the PRISTIQ Savings Card work through mail-order pharmacies?

Yes, for reimbursement when using the PRISTIQ Savings Card through a mail-order pharmacy: Pay for your PRISTIQ prescription, and mail a copy of the original pharmacy receipt (cash register receipt NOT valid) with product name, date, and amount circled to: PRISTIQ Savings Offer, 2250 Perimeter Park Drive, Suite 300, Morrisville, NC 27560. Be sure to include a copy of the front of your PRISTIQ Savings Card, your name, and mailing address.

Taking PRISTIQ

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Who should not take PRISTIQ?

Do not take PRISTIQ:

  • If you are allergic to desvenlafaxine, venlafaxine, or any of the ingredients in PRISTIQ
  • If you currently take, or have taken within the last 14 days, an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) including intravenous methylene blue or the antibiotic linezolid

It is also important to know that you should not take an MAOI within 7 days of stopping PRISTIQ.

What should I tell my doctor before taking PRISTIQ?

PRISTIQ may cause or make some conditions worse, so tell your healthcare professional about all the medical conditions you have or had including:

  • High blood pressure, which should be controlled before you start taking PRISTIQ and monitored regularly
  • Heart problems; high cholesterol or triglyceride levels; a history of stroke; glaucoma or increased eye pressure; kidney or liver problems; or low sodium levels in your blood
  • Bleeding problems
  • Depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Mania, bipolar disorder, or seizures or convulsions
  • Nursing, pregnancy, or plans to become pregnant. It is not known if PRISTIQ will harm your baby

How do I take PRISTIQ?

It’s important to take PRISTIQ as prescribed by your doctor. Remember:

  • PRISTIQ may be taken with or without food
  • Try to take PRISTIQ at the same time each day
  • If you miss a dose, try to take it as soon as you remember. Don’t take 2 doses at the same time
  • Do not stop taking PRISTIQ without talking to your doctor first
  • Talk to your doctor about any health conditions you may have, as your dose might be affected

Can I take PRISTIQ with other medications?

It’s important to remember, do not take PRISTIQ if you:

  • Currently take, or have taken within the last 14 days, any medicine known as an MAOI (including intravenous methylene blue or the antibiotic linezolid)
    • Allow 7 days after stopping PRISTIQ before starting an MAOI. Taking an MAOI with PRISTIQ can cause serious or even life-threatening side effects
  • Are taking medicines containing venlafaxine or desvenlafaxine

Before taking PRISTIQ, tell your doctor about all prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements you take or plan to take including:

  • Those to treat migraines or psychiatric disorders (including other antidepressants or amphetamines) to avoid serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition
  • Aspirin, NSAID pain relievers, or blood thinners, because they may increase the risk of bleeding

What should I avoid while taking PRISTIQ?

Until you see how PRISTIQ affects you, you should avoid driving a car or operating machinery. You should also avoid drinking alcohol when taking PRISTIQ.

What if I miss a dose of PRISTIQ?

If you miss a dose of PRISTIQ you should:

  • Take it as soon as you remember
  • Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose
  • Not try to “make up” for the missed dose by taking two doses at the same time

What if I take too much PRISTIQ?

If you take more PRISTIQ than the amount prescribed, contact your doctor immediately. Do not take more than the prescribed daily amount of PRISTIQ.

In case of an overdose, call your health care professional and/or poison control center (1-800-222-1222) or go to the emergency room right away.

How long should I continue taking PRISTIQ?

Continue taking PRISTIQ as prescribed by your doctor, even if you’re feeling better. Don’t stop taking your medication without first talking with your doctor. Together, you can determine how long you should continue taking PRISTIQ.

Side effects may occur when stopping PRISTIQ (discontinuation symptoms), especially when therapy is stopped suddenly. Your doctor may want to decrease your dose slowly to help avoid side effects. Some of these side effects may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Sleeping problems (insomnia)
  • Diarrhea

Safety & Possible Side Effects

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What are the most common side effects of PRISTIQ?

While the goal of taking PRISTIQ is to feel better, it’s important to know that everyone responds differently to medication. And when it comes to antidepressants, there are side effects. Many people shy away from antidepressants due to side effects. It can take time to find the right medication for you.

You and your doctor can determine if the benefits of treatment outweigh the burden of side effects. Always discuss any side effects you are experiencing with your doctor.

In clinical studies, the most common side effects with PRISTIQ 50 mg were:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Constipation
  • Decreased appetite

These are not all the possible side effects of PRISTIQ. For a complete list of side effects, please see Section 6 of the full Prescribing Information.

If you’re concerned about side effects, talk to your doctor.

Will I gain weight while taking PRISTIQ?

While people react differently to PRISTIQ, clinical studies have shown no significant difference in average weight gain versus placebo.*

*Side effects may increase at higher doses. Data based on short-term studies and a 6-month phase of a long-term study of patients who responded to PRISTIQ. Individual results may vary.

Will PRISTIQ affect my sex drive?

While people react differently to PRISTIQ, clinical studies have shown that there was a low rate of sexual side effects in men and women taking PRISTIQ 50 mg, similar to those who took a placebo. Sexual side effects include decreased sex drive, as well as delayed orgasm and ejaculation.*

*Side effects may increase at higher doses. Data based on short-term studies and a 6-month phase of a long-term study of patients who responded to PRISTIQ. Individual results may vary.

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