Does Pristiq help with joint pain? (+7 approaches)

In this article, we will discuss whether Pristiq can help in treating joint pain or not. We will look at the mechanism by which it causes or relieves joint pain. Furthermore, we will look at the alternate drugs that are commonly prescribed for joint pain.  

Does Pristiq help with joint pain?

Pristiq does not help with joint pain. Pristiq is not typically prescribed for relieving joint pain. Pristiq is an FDA-approved medication for the treatment of major depressive disorder. 

Pristiq belongs to serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressants. Pristiq exerts its action by blocking the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine thus, increasing their amount and activity in the brain (1).

Joint pain can cause swelling, numbness, discomfort, and stiffness in your joints. There are many approved medications for treating joint pain. However, antidepressants such as Pristiq are not particularly prescribed for joint pain. 

Do antidepressants help in relieving joint pain?

Antidepressants might help in relieving joint pain to an extent. Very limited research is available regarding the use of antidepressants for the treatment of joint pain in the population (2).

A clinical trial in which an SNRI antidepressant, duloxetine, belonging to the same drug class as Pristiq, was used along with a placebo to check the propensity of antidepressants for joint pain (2).

However, the results of this study concluded that a very limited amount of patients showed 50% improvement in joint pain. Moderate-certainty results of improvement regarding antidepressants were obtained through this study (2). 

This study indicates that antidepressants for joint pain might result in severe adverse effects in comparison to improving symptoms of joint pain. The study clearly shows that antidepressants for joint pain require careful monitoring to yield optimum therapeutic efficiency (2).

What are the approaches for treating joint pain?

Following are some approaches that may help in treating joint pain:

FDA-approved medications for joint pain

For the treatment of joint pain, the FDA has approved some medications which are as follows (3): 

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen
  • Meloxicam
  • Diclofenac
  • Celecoxib

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)

  • Methotrexate
  • Leflunomide
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Sulfazaline


  • Methylprednisolone
  • Prednisone

However, these medications affect patients differently based on their metabolism and the response of the patients to the medication. These medications are specifically prescribed based on the type of joint pain. 

Therefore, always consult your doctor before taking these medications for joint pain. You must inform your doctor about your allergies, existing conditions, or concurrent medications that you are taking so they must prescribe the medications that suit you best in alleviating pain symptoms. 

Non-pharmacological therapies to relieve joint pain

Non-pharmacological treatment for relieving joint pain is equally essential as pharmacological treatment. Some common non-pharmacological interventions include (4):

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT)- This therapy improves the cognitive and behavioral patterns of the affected patients. These skills improve the functioning and psychological distress associated with chronic pain. 


  • Physical activity/exercise- Patients should regularly perform exercises and physical activities to help relieve joint pain and reduce weight. 


  • Flexibility training- Range of motion and flexibility exercising help in improving stiffness associated with joint pain. 


  • Resistance training- Jont pain severely affects the muscles and results in decreased muscle function and strength. Therefore, resistance exercises/training helps in restoring muscle strength and endurance. 


  • Patient Education- Patients and their families must be regularly and thoroughly educated regarding their health situation and the treatment provided to motivate them to not lose hope in the given treatments. 

Home remedies to relieve joint pain 

Home remedies have also proven beneficial in relieving joint pain. You may use cold packs to relieve swelling and numbing in the joints. 

Hot packs might also help in relieving joint pain symptoms in patients. Heating pads or warm towels can be used which improves blood circulation and relaxes affected muscles. However, do not use any topical gel such as Voltran gel along with a heating pad at the same time as it may result in additional side effects of the medication. 

Maintain a healthy diet and incorporate anti-inflammatory foods such as ginger and turmeric in your diet which may help in improving joint pain. Omega-3 fatty acids should also be included in your diet which helps reduce the inflammation of joints. 

Low-impact exercising and stretching also help in improving joint pains. Excess weight can also be harmful to joints. Therefore, maintain a healthy physique to avoid stressing the weight-bearing joints.

When to seek medical help?

If your doctor has prescribed Pristiq for depression comorbid with joint pain and it does not help in relieving the pain symptoms, then reach out to your doctor and seek medical help. 

Your doctor may prescribe an additional medication to alleviate joint pain symptoms along with Pristiq for mental health conditions. 

You may consider alternate therapies for treating joint pain. Sometimes pharmacological treatment along with other modes of treatments altogether help in relieving symptoms. 

In the end, I would recommend you follow your doctor’s prescription. Always reach out to your doctor in case of any severe side effects or symptoms of any medication. Do not hesitate to share your past health experiences that would hinder the way to receive appropriate treatment for your health condition. 

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



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:


Leaney AA, Lyttle JR, Segan J, Urquhart DM, Cicuttini FM, Chou L, Wluka AE. Antidepressants for hip and knee osteoarthritis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2022 Oct 21;10(10):CD012157. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012157.pub2. PMID: 36269595; PMCID: PMC9586196.


Cunningham NR, Kashikar-Zuck S. Nonpharmacological treatment of pain in rheumatic diseases and other musculoskeletal pain conditions. Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2013 Feb;15(2):306. doi: 10.1007/s11926-012-0306-y. PMID: 23307578; PMCID: PMC3566663.

Find a supportive therapist who can help with Depression.

Discover the convenience of BetterHelp, an online therapy platform connecting you with licensed and accredited therapists specialized in addressing issues such as depression, anxiety, relationships, and more. Complete the assessment and find your ideal therapist within just 48 hours.


AskYourPharm is user-supported. We may earn a commission if you sign up for BetterHelp’s services after clicking through from this site