Can you switch from Lexapro to Pristiq? 

Can you switch from Lexapro to Pristiq? 

Yes, you can switch from Lexapro (Escitalopram) to Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine), but only if your healthcare provider believes that Pristiq will benefit you more than Lexapro. 

There’s not much difference between these two meds in terms of how they work, but they do belong to two different classes of antidepressants. Lexapro is generally well tolerated but it may not be able to deliver sufficient antidepressant effects in some individuals. 

This is when Lexapro is switched to another antidepressant, often serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)  such as Pristiq. Make sure you talk to your healthcare provider if you think Lexapro is not dealing with your depression as well as you had hoped. Your doctor will properly guide you and safely switch your meds. 

What is the best way to switch from Lexapro to Pristiq? 

The best way to switch from Lexapro to Pristiq is to gradually decrease the Lexapro dose while starting Pristiq from the lowest effective dose. The dose of Lexapro continues to go down, as Pristiq takes its place (1). 

This method is the safest when it comes to switching from SSRIs to SNRIs. Some doctors may directly switch from an SSRI to an SNRI by simply stopping SSRI and starting SNRI the next day. 

However, this method may not suit everyone, especially long-term users of Lexapro. Although these two meds are quite similar, some people may develop a habit of taking Lexapro. The dependence could be medicine-related, and not related to the way it works. 

This is why it’s not a good idea to just jump from one antidepressant to another. Tapering the first one off is the safe way to prevent withdrawal symptoms, as most people are sensitive to them. 

Tips for managing the antidepressant transition

There are some important tips to transition safely from one antidepressant to another. These include:

  • Properly follow your doctor’s direction and stay in touch with him/her. Your doctor will likely have a specific plan for transitioning from one medication to another. It’s important to follow their instructions closely to minimize any potential side effects.
  • It is important to keep track of your symptoms. Pay attention to any changes in your mood, energy levels, or sleep patterns. Keep a journal or diary to track any new symptoms that may arise.
  • Be patient. It may take some time to fully transition from one antidepressant to another. 
  • Seek support and go for therapy if you are struggling with your symptoms while your new antidepressant kicks in.

What if Pristiq doesn’t work well? 

When you switch your antidepressant, you need to give your new medication some time. Your body slowly starts to adjust to it. Pristiq is a good antidepressant and most people are satisfied with this medication. The newly switched Pristiq may not start to work right away. 

You need to give it some time and wait for your body to fully accept the new antidepressant. You may feel fuzzy for a few weeks, because of starting a new antidepressant and letting go of your previous one.  

Prsitiq may also cause some side effects, like mild stomach upset, night sweats, sleep disturbances, etc. However, these side effects fade away soon as your body adjusts to the new antidepressant. If something concerns you, reach out to your healthcare provider. 


  1. National Prescribing Service Limited. Guidelines for switching antidepressants. [Internet]. NPS MedicineWise; 2010 [cited 2023 Feb 7]. Available from:

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National Prescribing Service Limited. Guidelines for switching antidepressants. [Internet]. NPS MedicineWise; 2010 [cited 2023 Feb 7]. Available from:

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