Does desvenlafaxine keep you awake? (+3 management)

In this article, we will discuss the effects of desvenlafaxine on sleep. We will look at the factors that impact desvenlafaxine in keeping the patient active and awake. We will dig deep into the impact of desvenlafaxine on the sleep cycle. Furthermore, we will look at the ways to avoid sleep disturbances caused by devenlafaxine. 

Does desvenlafaxine keep you awake?

Desvenlafaxine may keep you awake. Sleep disturbances are commonly associated with the use of antidepressants. Antidepressants such as desvenlafaxine are administered to activate the brain but it may disrupt sleep in the long term.  

Desvenlafaxine is an SNRI antidepressant which increases the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine by inhibiting the reuptake of these neurotransmitters in the brain (1). 

Antidepressants are linked with causing insomnia and somnolence at different rates based on the mechanism of action that they possess. Different patients are affected by sleep problems due to antidepressants varyingly based on the medication and their body’s response to the drug. 

However, sleep-related side effects with desvenlafaxine may include both insomnia and sedation. The frequency of sleep disturbances linked with devenlfaxine is lesser than other antidepressants.

How does desvenlafaxine keep you awake?

Desvenlafaxine can keep you awake based on its mechanism of action. Since it belongs to the SNRI antidepressant drug class, it increases the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine by blocking the reuptake of these neurotransmitters in the brain (2). 

This increase in serotonin and norepinephrine causes an increased serotonergic and noradrenergic activity in the brain which possesses a reverse relationship with the sleep cycle leading to an increased risk of insomnia (2). 

What does research suggest?

Based on the research studies, sleep disturbances are common with antidepressants. Some patients taking antidepressants may suffer from sleep reduction or insomnia while others may suffer from increased and enhanced sleeping patterns (2). 

For this purpose, a study was conducted to analyze the effects of antidepressants on sleep patterns in major depressive patients. However, 14 drugs from different antidepressant classes were used in the study (2). 

Upon conducting the research and testing these drugs, it was analyzed that 10 antidepressants showed higher rates of insomnia than the placebo. Among those drugs highest levels of insomnia were associated with desvenlafaxine and bupropion (2).

However, these results were completely based on the mechanism of action of these drugs. Some of these drugs were more prone to cause insomnia while others were associated with somnolence based on their mechanisms (2). 

How to manage sleep disturbances due to desvenlafaxine?

If desvenlafaxine is keeping you awake or causing extra sleepiness, then you need to consult your healthcare provider to seek medical help.

The initial course of treatment with desvenlafaxine may cause sleep disturbances.  You should give your body some time to adjust and accept the medication. However, if the sleep disturbances persist after long use of desvenlafaxine, then seek medical help. 

One way to avoid sleep disturbances would be to change the timing of your medication. You can discuss this with your doctor and they may suggest the best time to take desvenlafaxine either at night or in the morning based on your symptoms. 

If the problem still persists, then your doctor may tamper or reduce the medication dose as it also helps in alleviating the side effects. Another option would be to switch your antidepressant medication to a safer drug which does not cause sleep issues. 

In conclusion, I would suggest you stick to your doctor’s prescription. Antidepressants usually take time to exert their actions and your body also needs time to adjust to the medication. Sleep disturbances whether keeping you awake or causing sleepiness are usually associated with antidepressant use. 

As a pharmacist, I would suggest you always consult with your doctor for any side effects due to the medication and do not stop taking desvenlafaxine without consulting your doctor first.

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


Alberti S, Chiesa A, Andrisano C, Serretti A. Insomnia and somnolence associated with second-generation antidepressants during the treatment of major depression: a meta-analysis. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2015 Jun;35(3):296-303. doi: 10.1097/JCP.0000000000000329. PMID: 25874915.

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