Does Pristiq affect your libido? 

Does Pristiq affect your libido? 

Pristiq may or may not affect your libido. Most antidepressants are associated with sexual side effects, but they are not that frequently reported on Pristiq. 

1-4% of people taking this antidepressant have reported a loss of libido and an inability to reach climax. Both men and women are equally affected when it comes to the sexual side effects of antidepressants, but the odds are still better with Pristiq. 

However, people respond differently to medications, especially meds that can affect your brain. Pristiq is generally a well-tolerated antidepressant, but not everyone can benefit from it.

What does research suggest?

Several research studies have explained the incidence of sexual dysfunction (SD) associated with Pristiq. A study published in the Journal of Internation Clinical Psychopharmacology indicated that Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) is not that significantly associated with SD. 

The study monitored the effects of this antidepressant on the sexual functions of the people being treated by it, as compared to the people taking a placebo. At the end of the study, there wasn’t a significant difference between the effects of the two (1). 

Another research study indicated that Pristiq does not cause sexual side effects as prominently as selective serotonergic antidepressants do. The authors explained that the dual activity of Pristiq – acting on both serotonergic and noradrenergic systems – can reduce the occurrence of sexual side effects (2).

This indicates that Pristiq does not affect sexual functions as much as other antidepressants do, mainly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). However, some other antidepressants, like Effexor, Trazodone, etc may also affect libido but again – not as prominently as serotonergic antidepressants do.

What to do if Pristiq affects your libido? 

Talk to your healthcare provider if Pristiq affects your libido. This side effect is usually more common in people who are new to Pristiq or antidepressants in general. Common early side effects begin to subside on their own when your body adjusts to the medication. 

However, taking Pristiq in the morning can help you with sexual side effects at night. It may not prevent them completely, but most people feel their sexual appetite a little less affected when they take their antidepressants earlier in the day. 

If that doesn’t help you, your doctor may reduce your dose. It often helps give your body more time to adjust to the way Pristiq makes you feel and your dose is gradually increased again. 

However, some people may continue to experience a loss of libido, which can cause extreme frustration with time. Make sure you discuss this with your doctor. If Pristiq continues to affect you sexually, your doctor may switch you to another antidepressant. 

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Clayton AH, Hwang E, Kornstein SG, Tourian KA, Cheng RF, Abraham L, Mele L, Boucher M. Effects of 50 and 100 mg desvenlafaxine versus placebo on sexual function in patients with major depressive disorder: a meta-analysis. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2015 Nov;30(6):307-15. doi: 10.1097/YIC.0000000000000094. PMID: 26230270. Available from:


Montejo AL, Becker J, Bueno G, Fernández-Ovejero R, Gallego MT, González N, Juanes A, Montejo L, Pérez-Urdániz A, Prieto N, Villegas JL. Frequency of Sexual Dysfunction in Patients Treated with Desvenlafaxine: A Prospective Naturalistic Study. J Clin Med. 2019 May 21;8(5):719. doi: 10.3390/jcm8050719. PMID: 31117203; PMCID: PMC6571783. Available from:

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