Does Pristiq increase prolactin? (3+ symptoms)

In this article, we will discuss whether Pristiq increases prolactin. We will also discuss how Pristiq increases prolactin levels and what one should do if this side effect occurs.

Does Pristiq increase prolactin?

Pristiq does not necessarily increase prolactin levels. However, individuals respond differently to medications, especially the meds that can affect your brain.

Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) is an antidepressant used to treat different mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety (1).

Pristiq is not generally associated with an increase in prolactin levels. However, if you have concerns about changes in hormone levels or other side effects while taking Pristiq, it is important to discuss them with your healthcare provider for proper guidance and testing if necessary.

How does Pristiq increase prolactin? 

The exact mechanism by which Pristiq increases prolactin levels is not fully known. Pristiq is an antidepressant which works by altering serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain (2).

The changes in serotonin and norepinephrine levels might influence other hormonal systems including prolactin. The relationship between Pristiq and prolactin is not experienced by all the individuals taking this medication. 

Careful monitoring is required if Pristiq is affecting your prolactin levels. Pristiq is generally a well-tolerated antidepressant, but not everyone can benefit from it. If you experience hormone-related issues while taking Pristiq or any other antidepressant, seek medical help promptly.

Symptoms of increased prolactin levels while taking Pristiq?

Increased prolactin levels (hyperprolactinemia) refer to higher-than-normal concentrations of the hormone prolactin in the blood (3).

Symptoms of higher prolactin levels while taking Pristiq include (3):

Galactorrhea: High prolactin levels can stimulate sudden production of breast milk which results in spontaneous flow of breast milk, even when non-pregnant or nursing.

Menstrual irregularities: Elevated prolactin levels disrupt the normal hormonal balance leading to irregular menstrual periods or missed periods in women taking Pristiq.

Sexual dysfunction: Sexual abnormalities including decreased libido occur as a result of increased prolactin levels due to Pristiq. 

Elevated prolactin levels can hinder ovulation in women and sperm production in men, potentially causing fertility issues by disrupting the reproductive processes.

Gynecomastia: Breast enlargement is seen in men having high prolactin levels. Men experiencing gynecomastia should use Pristiq under medical supervision to avoid the potential side effects.

Mood changes: Some people may experience mood changes such as anxiety as a result of elevated prolactin levels. Rarely elevated prolactin levels might lead to headaches or vision changes due to increased pressure on the optical nerve, affecting visual function.

It is important to note that not everyone taking Pristiq will experience these symptoms and the severity and occurrence of these side effects can vary from person to person. If you suspect that elevated prolactin levels due to Pristiq are causing these symptoms, consult your healthcare provider for proper evaluation and guidance on how to manage them.

How to manage elevated prolactin levels while on Pristiq?

Managing elevated prolactin levels while on Pristiq may involve several approaches, including: 

Consulting a healthcare provider

Reach out to your healthcare provider if Pristiq is increasing prolactin levels. Your healthcare provider may consider reducing the dosage of Pristiq to see if it works.

If the dose reduction does not alleviate the symptoms of increased prolactin levels, your doctor may gradually discontinue your medication or switch to a different antidepressant with a lower likelihood of affecting prolactin levels.

Always remember not to discontinue antidepressants on your own as they can cause withdrawal symptoms (4).

Symptom management

If you experience symptoms of elevated prolactin levels like galactorrhea and sexual dysfunction, your healthcare provider may provide specific treatment to resolve these symptoms.

Consulting an endocrinologist

Consult an endocrinologist, a specialist in hormone-related issues, if the symptoms of increased prolactin levels are not resolved. They may assess your situation and make necessary adjustments to your treatment accordingly.

Regular monitoring

Regular blood tests to monitor prolactin levels can help assess the situation and guide treatment adjustments.

What are the other side effects of Pristiq?

Pristiq is usually associated with side effects including (5):

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Changes in weight
  • Changes in appetite
  • Fertility issues
  • Night sweats
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness

Based on my knowledge and research, I can say that while Pristiq may lead to elevated prolactin levels in some individuals, it generally has a lower risk of doing so. However, the effects can vary, and it is important to monitor prolactin levels and discuss any concerns with a healthcare provider if needed.



Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!


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