Is desvenlafaxine a psychotropic drug? (+5 others)

In this article, we will discuss whether desvenlafaxine is a psychotropic drug or not. We will discuss the basic criteria for being a psychotropic medication. Furthermore, we will discover some other medications that also fall into the group of psychotropic medications. 

Is desvenlafaxine a psychotropic drug?

Yes, desvenlafaxine is a psychotropic drug. Desvenlafaxine works by altering the levels of brain chemicals and helps in alleviating mental illnesses. 

Desvenlafaxine belongs to the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant drug class. Desvenlafaxine exerts its actions by blocking the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine neurotransmitters in the brain thus, increasing the activity of these neurotransmitters (1). 

Psychotropic drugs are medications that influence the brain and affect mental processes, emotions, and behaviors. These drugs are used in treating various psychiatric conditions and illnesses by altering brain chemistry (2). 

Desvenlafaxine is included in psychotropic medications due to its mechanism of action and therapeutic efficacy. Desvenlafaxine is a prescription medication therefore, always consult your doctor before starting its dosage. 

What makes desvenlafaxine a psychotropic drug?

Desvenlafaxine falls into the category of psychotropic drugs based on its mechanism of action and therapeutic effects. The way it exerts its action on the brain chemicals makes it a psychotropic medication. 

Desvenlafaxaine inhibits the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine in the synaptic cleft which in turn, increases the amounts of these neurotransmitters in the brain (1). 

This action of desvenlafaxine on brain neurotransmitters alters the brain chemistry and helps in alleviating the symptoms of mental illnesses, psychiatric conditions, depression, and anxiety-related symptoms (1). 

Desvenlafaxine is an FDA-approved medication for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). It takes almost 4-6 weeks to start showing its efficacy by altering the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain thus, alleviating symptoms of MDD (1). 

Therefore, by exerting its effects on the brain and by altering levels of brain chemicals and interfering with brain chemistry, desvenlafaxine is also included in the psychotropic drugs that affect the brain and alleviate symptoms of mental illnesses.

What are some other psychotropic drugs?

Medications that fall under the category of psychotropic drugs include (3):

Antidepressant medications- These drugs are used to alleviate symptoms related to depression and related conditions. The following drug classes are commonly included in antidepressant medications: 

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)- Sertraline, Citalopram
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)- Duloxetine
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)- Imipramine, Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline

Anxiolytics- These are the medications that help in reducing or alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and related symptoms. Benzodiazepines such as lorazepam, alprazolam, etc are commonly included in anxiolytic medications. 

Stimulants- These medications improve physical and mental well-being and functioning. These are psychotropic drugs that elevate mood, energy, and level of alertness. Nicotine, caffeine, cocaine, and amphetamines are commonly included in stimulants. 

Mood stabilizers- These medications are used to treat mood-related conditions in patients suffering from sudden mood shifts due to mania or bipolar disorders. Lithium and valproic acid are the most commonly used mood stabilizers. 

Antipsychotics- These medications are also known as neuroleptic drugs. These are most commonly used for psychiatric conditions (4). 

  • Typical (1st generation)- Haloperidol, Chlorpromazine, Fluphenazine
  • Atypical(2nd generation)- Olanzapine, Quetiapine, Risperidone

How to select the best psychotropic drug for your condition?

In order to select the best antipsychotic drug, you need to consult with your healthcare practitioner and get a detailed assessment of your condition. Based on this your doctor can prescribe you the most suitable antipsychotic drug. 

After assessing your health, signs, and symptoms your doctor will prescribe you the medication that suits you the best based on their expertise and professional knowledge and experience. 

However, to get the most appropriate medication and treatment, you need to have an honest and transparent conversation with your practitioner so that they do not miss out on important details and select the best medication to alleviate your symptoms. 

In the end, I would suggest that most psychotropic medications are prescription drugs and should not be used without your doctor’s recommendations. Therefore, always consult with your doctor before starting or stopping any psychotropic drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms and other adversities. 

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Naseeruddin R, Rosani A, Marwaha R. Desvenlafaxine. [Updated 2023 Jul 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:


Open Resources for Nursing (Open RN); Ernstmeyer K, Christman E, editors. Nursing: Mental Health and Community Concepts [Internet]. Eau Claire (WI): Chippewa Valley Technical College; 2022. Chapter 6 Psychotropic Medications. Available from:


Sathyanarayana Rao TS, Andrade C. Classification of psychotropic drugs: Problems, solutions, and more problems. Indian J Psychiatry. 2016 Apr-Jun;58(2):111-3. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.183771. PMID: 27385840; PMCID: PMC4919951.


Ameer MA, Saadabadi A. Neuroleptic Medications. [Updated 2023 Aug 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:

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