Does Pristiq-induced itching go away? (5 factors)

In this brief article, we will explore whether Pristiq itching goes away. Additionally, we will also talk about why Pristic induces itching, its duration, contributing factors, and what to do if Pristiq-induced itching persists. 

Does Pristiq-induced itching go away?

Pristiq-induced itching may or may not go away as it depends on the individual’s response to Pristiq. Pristiq may induce itching only in individuals who are allergic to it, however, it is a rare phenomenon that needs emergency treatment. 

Pristiq, also known as desvenlafaxine is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) that is approved by the FDA to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults. Pristiq may also be used in the clinical setting to treat hot flashes in women during menopause (1). Pristiq-induced itching is an allergic reaction that may cause redness and swelling all over the body of the patient and must be treated immediately.

Why does Pristiq induce itching?

Pristiq works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine neurotransmitters in the synaptic regions of the brain. Due to this blockade, the neurotransmitter levels are raised in the synaptic regions and remain there for longer periods.

When the serotonin levels are raised, they might cause Pristiq-induced itching in some individuals (2). It is important to note that not everyone taking Pristiq may experience itching, however, if you do, you should immediately seek medical help. 

What is the duration of Pristiq-induced itching?

The duration of Pristiq-induced itching may vary from person to person. Pristiq may take some time to adjust in the body and to show its complete therapeutic benefits. Some individuals with mild itchiness may get better in a few days when their body adjusts to Pristiq treatment. On the other hand, patients with severe allergic reactions may only get better when given symptomatic treatment. 

Pristiq may also cause delayed-onset itching after using it for a few weeks. It is possible that some patients might get hypersensitive to Pristiq but do not experience any symptoms in the initial phase of the treatment. In such cases, Pristiq should be discontinued as per your doctor’s guidelines along with the use of antihistamines. 

Mood stabilisers, anticonvulsants and antidepressants are commonly associated with skin-related issues such as acne, bruising, or others. Patients must be aware of the possible side effects of these medications before start taking them and if they observe any adverse effects, they should reach out to their healthcare provider (3). 

What factors contribute to Pristiq-induced itching?

The factors contributing to Pristiq-induced itching may include: 

  • Age of the patient, as young and elderly patients are more prone to experience itching while using Pristiq. 
  • If you are using other medications along with Pristiq that may interact and cause skin-related issues. 
  • If you have a family history of skin-related conditions, you may be prone to Pristiq-induced itching.
  • If you are allergic to Pristiq or any other medicine of the same drug class (SNRIs), you may have a higher chance of experiencing itching or other symptoms. 
  • Higher doses of Pristiq may pose a greater risk of developing skin-related issues (3). 

What to do if Pristiq causes itching?

If Pristiq causes itching please immediately reach out to your healthcare provider. as it might be an allergic reaction. They may evaluate your current symptoms, family or medical history, and response to Pristiq treatment. 

Your healthcare provider may prescribe you antihistamines to give symptomatic treatment and you may be relieved from itching in a few days. Your doctor will also try to reduce the dosage as some patients may get rid of side effects when their doses are reduced at a therapeutically effective range.

However, if your symptoms do not go away, your doctor may also gradually discontinue Pristiq and introduce you to an alternative antidepressant such as Effexor (4), or other serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) that does not cause itching and is effective for you for the treatment of major depressive disorder. Another medication, Trintellix is also effective in treating major depressive disorder (5).

In my opinion, Pristiq-induced itching may or may not go away depending on the patient’s response. Pristiq is generally a safe and effective antidepressant, but some individuals may be hypersensitive and experience an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions are rare with Pristiq, however, if you do experience any side effects with Pristiq, please immediately reach out to your healthcare provider. 

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