Does Pristiq cause ringing in the ears? (+3 factors)

In this article, we will discuss whether Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) can cause tinnitus (ringing in the ears). We will also discuss some research studies, on who is more likely to experience tinnitus and what one should do if this side effect occurs.

Does Pristiq cause ringing in the ears?

Yes, Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) may cause ringing in the ears. However, this is not a common side effect and the incidence is low. 

Tinnitus or ringing in the ears is an uncomfortable buzzing sound in the ear that can be stressful for many patients. It is not necessarily caused by antidepressants; certain underlying factors may also contribute such as hearing problems and ear wax accumulation etc.

Pristiq a brand for Desvenlafaxine works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, increasing their levels to regulate mood and emotions in individuals (1).

If you notice any unusual symptoms like ringing in the ears while taking Pristiq or any other antidepressant like Effexor, Celexa, Sertraline, etc it is crucial to discuss them with your healthcare provider. 

What does research suggest?

Tinnitus is a rare side effect of Pristiq. Therefore, limited research has been conducted on the direct relationship between tinnitus and Pristiq. One study indicated that more individuals reported experiencing tinnitus while taking Desvenlafaxine compared to those taking a placebo (2).

However, tinnitus can be experienced by patients after discontinuation of Pristiq as a withdrawal symptom (3).

Tinnitus does not affect everyone, as people respond differently to medications. However, some studies have indicated that antidepressants can actually be used to manage tinnitus triggered by anxiety or depression (4).

How to know if you have Pristiq-induced ringing in the ears?

If you suspect Pristiq-induced tinnitus, consult your healthcare provider. They may assess your symptoms through a physical examination, to determine the nature and potential cause of your tinnitus.

Pristiq-induced tinnitus may appear as a ringing, buzzing, or humming sound in the ears. The ringing sound may be continuous or intermittent, and its intensity can vary. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor and inform them when the ringing in the ears started and how long it persists.

If it coincides with the initiation or change in your Pristiq medication, it could be related. Always remember, that self-diagnosis of Pristiq-induced ringing in the ears can be challenging, and it is important to seek medical advice if you suspect any symptoms of tinnitus while taking Pristiq for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management.

What are the factors influencing Pristiq-induced tinnitus?

The development of tinnitus as a side effect of Pristiq can be influenced by several factors, including:

Dosage and duration: Higher doses and prolonged use of Pristiq may be more likely to cause tinnitus.

Individual susceptibility: Some individuals may be more sensitive to the medication and prone to experiencing tinnitus.

Underlying medical conditions: Pre-existing ear or hearing issues may increase the risk of tinnitus with Pristiq.

Interaction with other medications: If an individual is taking other medications that are ototoxic and have a higher risk of causing tinnitus, such as aspirin, then taking Pristiq with such medications increases the risk of tinnitus (5).

Can you use Pristiq when using a hearing device?

If you are using a hearing device for a pre-existing hearing issue, you should use Pristiq only under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

While Pristiq is generally indicated for mental health disorders, there is a need for caution, especially if the person already has hearing concerns. Individuals with hearing issues may be more susceptible to changes in auditory perception or tinnitus while using Pristiq.

It is important to openly discuss your concerns and all existing health conditions or medications you are taking, with your healthcare provider, to receive individualized treatment tailored to your needs.

What to do if Pristiq causes ringing in your ears?

If you develop tinnitus after Pristiq, contact your healthcare provider. Your doctor may adjust your Pristiq dosage or recommend an alternative medication that does not cause tinnitus.

Always remember, do not discontinue the medication on your own as it may lead to withdrawal symptoms further worsening your condition. 

If the tinnitus becomes bothersome, your doctor may consider noise-reducing devices or other strategies for symptomatic relief. Removing excess ear wax and practising stress-reduction techniques like yoga and meditation can help you cope with tinnitus.

A few therapies can also ease your symptoms with tinnitus such as tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Based on my knowledge and experience, individuals rarely report tinnitus associated with Pristiq. However, individual responses to medications vary. If you experience tinnitus or any other side effect of Pristiq, consult with your healthcare provider immediately.


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