Does desvenlafaxine contain acetaminophen? (+3 precautions)

In this article, we will briefly discuss whether desvenlafaxine contains acetaminophen or not. Furthermore, we will try to understand the basic differences between the two drugs and the necessary precautions required before taking these two drugs concomitantly.

Does desvenlafaxine contain acetaminophen?

No, desvenlafaxine does not contain acetaminophen. Desvenlafaxine and acetaminophen are two completely different medications with different mechanisms of action, adverse effects, and indications. 

Desvenlafaxine belongs to the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) class of antidepressants. It blocks the reuptake of these neurotransmitters thus, increasing the levels and activities of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain (1).

Acetaminophen belongs to a group of medications called analgesics, which help relieve pain. It is also an antipyretic, which reduces fever. Acetaminophen is commonly prescribed for headaches, muscle aches, toothaches, and other common pains in the body (2). 

Desvenlafaxine and acetaminophen have different therapeutic indications. However, if need be, your doctor may prescribe to take these two drugs in combination. 

What makes desvenlafaxine different from acetaminophen? 

Some common differences between desvenlafaxine and acetaminophen are as follows:

Mechanism of action

Desvenlafaxine works by blocking the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine in the synaptic cleft. This action in return, increases the amount of these neurotransmitters in the brain that leads to an increased activity and effect of both serotonin and norepinephrine (3). 

The exact mechanism of action of acetaminophen is still not known. It is included in NSAIDs as it tends to act on the same mechanism by blocking the COX pathway (4). 

Acetaminophen has similar properties as NSAIDs but lacks peripheral anti-inflammatory effects. Therefore, it may inhibit COX in the central nervous system but not in the peripheral nervous system. Due to these effects, acetaminophen is not included in the NSAIDs class of drugs (4).

Therapeutic efficacy

Desvenlafaxine is an FDA-approved medication for the treatment of major depressive disorder. It is also used off-label to treat hot flashes in women during menopause (3). 

Acetaminophen is the most commonly prescribed over-the-counter analgesic and antipyretic medication. It is prescribed to treat mild to moderate pain and can be used in combination with opioids to treat severe pains (4). 

Side effects profile

Desvenlafaxine is associated with a range of common side effects such as (1,3):

Acetaminophen, on the other hand, is a generally safe medication with very few side effects. It can cause adverse effects including nausea, vomiting, constipation, pruritis, and abdominal pain when administered intravenously (4).  

Some serious side effects of acetaminophen include rash, hives, and difficulty in breathing and swallowing. An FDA black box warning for hepatotoxicity and liver failure is linked with excessive acetaminophen use (4). 

Is it safe to take desvenlafaxine and acetaminophen together? 

Yes, it is safe to take desvenlafaxine and acetaminophen together. These medications work by a different mechanism of action and have different clinical indications, which do not interact with each other. Hence, these medications are considered safe to take in combination. 

Acetaminophen has a good safety and tolerability profile and can be taken in combination with antidepressants such as Lexapro, desvenlafaxine, etc. Acetaminophen is usually prescribed with antidepressants to treat fever or body aches along with mental health conditions.   

The combination of desvenlafaxine and acetaminophen is considered safe and effective with rare and minimal side effects. However, consider your doctor’s advice before starting any medications in combination. 

What precautions to required before taking desvenlafaxine and acetaminophen together?

The following precautions must be taken before starting desvenlafaxine and acetaminophen in combination :

  • Consult your healthcare provider- Never start any medication in combination before consulting with your healthcare provider. Always get yourself assessed by a professional before starting medications. 


  • Monitor for interactions- Regular follow-ups and symptom monitoring must be done to avoid any serious complications or adversities. 


  • Liver function tests- Regular monitoring of liver function is important as these drugs affect the liver therefore, your doctor must carefully monitor your liver functioning. 


  • Avoid alcohol- Taking alcohol along with acetaminophen and desvenlafaxine may exert stress upon your liver which can be harmful for liver functioning. 

In the end, I would recommend that always follow your doctor’s prescription. Although taking desvenlafaxine and acetaminophen is a safe combination, you still need monitoring and symptom check to avoid any serious complication. 

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AHFS Patient Medication Information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc.; c2019. Desvenlafaxine; [updated 2020 Jun 24; reviewed 2018 Jul 5; cited 2020 Jul 1]; [about 5 p.]. Available from:


AHFS Patient Medication Information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc.; c2019. Acetaminophen; [updated 2020 Jun 24; reviewed 2018 Jul 5; cited 2020 Jul 1]; [about 5 p.]. Available from:


Naseeruddin R, Rosani A, Marwaha R. Desvenlafaxine. [Updated 2023 Jul 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:


Gerriets V, Anderson J, Nappe TM. Acetaminophen. [Updated 2023 Jun 20]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:

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