Does Pristiq affect fertility? (+5 effects)
In this article, we will discuss the impact of Pristiq on fertility. We will look at some common effects of Pristiq that have an important role in human fertility. Furthermore, we will look at some ways to avoid fertility-related issues due to Pristiq in both men and women.
Does Pristiq affect fertility?
Pritiq may affect fertility. Pristiq does not directly affect fertility in most patients. Hence, fertility and related issues are not common side effects of Pristiq. However, fertility irregularities are generally associated with the use of antidepressants.
Pristiq belongs to the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant class which is approved by the FDA for treatment of the major depressive disorder. Pristiq works by inhibiting the reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain thus, inducing anti-depressive properties (1).
Pristiq however, may not be directly associated with causing fertility issues. Such side effects might affect a smaller population taking Pristiq. Therefore, if you are on Pristiq and feel abnormalities in sexual activity or fertility, report to your doctor and seek medical help.
How does Pristiq affect fertility?
As mentioned earlier, Pristiq is not commonly associated with fertility complications but may affect a smaller proportion of patients.
However, Pristiq is regarded as a pregnancy category-C drug by the FDA which makes it not the best choice for pregnant women. It can only be given to them if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Careful monitoring is required if pregnant women are taking Pristiq. Research data states that exposure to an SNRI drug a month before pregnancy can have a less than 2-fold increase in the risk of postpartum haemorrhage (2).
No direct complication with Pristiq has been on record but adverse developmental outcomes have been reported with the parent compound of Pristiq which is venlafaxine (2).
What does research suggest?
A study of 201 women who were suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD) for a long time was given Pristiq as an antidepressive treatment. The study showed that the women who discontinued Pristiq during pregnancy were more exposed to a severe relapse of MDD (2).
Studies have also reported that the use of SSRIs and SNRIs such as Pristiq in mid to late pregnancy may increase the risk of preeclampsia in these pregnant women. Exposure to Pristiq in late pregnancy can also result in neonatal complications (2).
There is a need for prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding in such neonates. These neonates who were exposed to Pistiq in the third trimester must be monitored for drug discontinuation syndrome (2).
These studies show that antidepressants including SSRIs and SNRIs are associated with fertility complications including Zoloft and Celexa. However, Pristiq in particular, is not directly associated with fertility complications rather it may cause pregnancy and neonatal complications in some patients.
What are the alternate antidepressants to use?
If you are facing fertility issues while taking Pristiq, then consult your doctor. Your doctor may recommend switching to an alternate antidepressant which might be well-tolerated for you without affecting your fertility.
Atypical antidepressants are usually not associated with causing sexual or fertility-related abnormalities. In fact, they are commonly prescribed to patients who suffer from fertility issues while taking other antidepressants (3).
If fertility issues are non-manageable with Pritiq then Wellbutrin (bupropion) which is an atypical antidepressant can be used as an alternate antidepressant under your doctor’s supervision and guidance (3).
What to do if Pristiq causes fertility issues?
If you suspect that Pristiq is causing fertility issues and difficulties, then immediately report to your healthcare provider. Discuss your symptoms and side effects for better evaluation and treatment.
Your doctor might consider tampering with Pristiq dosage as lowering the medication dosage has shown improvements in the side effects profile. However, if the side effects persist after reducing the dosage, then your doctor might prescribe you an alternate antidepressant to treat fertility irregularities.
Since Pristiq is a prescription medication, it is advised not to abruptly stop taking the medication on the occurrence of fertility-related side effects as it might cause withdrawal symptoms.
In my opinion as a pharmacist, I would emphasize the fact that strictly abide by your doctor’s prescription for taking Pristiq. Follow the recommended time and duration of taking the medication. Even then if you feel fertility-related side effects, consult your doctor and discuss your side effects to seek better treatment.
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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: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK534829/
Pfizer medical information. https://www.pfizermedicalinformation.com/pristiq/population-use
Beeder, L. A., & Samplaski, M. K. (2019). Effect of antidepressant medications on semen parameters and male fertility. International Journal of Urology. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/iju.14111