What does desvenlafaxine look like? (3+ parameters)

In this article, we will explore what desvenlafaxine looks like. We will go through the physical appearance of desvenlafaxine tablets, colour and shape variations, in what dosage forms it is available, brand names and generic versions, imprints, codes and markings for identification, packaging, storage and proper handling methods and the importance of identifying desvenlafaxine tablets.

What does desvenlafaxine look like? 

Desvenlafaxine is commonly available in extended-release tablet form. The appearance of tablets varies depending on which dosage strength you are taking and whether the tablet is a generic or brand-name version. To accurately identify the appearance of desvenlafaxine, you need to check the imprint, colour, shape and packaging or labelling of the tablet prescribed to you. (1)

If you have concerns about the appearance of your medication, don’t hesitate to reach out to your pharmacist or prescribed healthcare provider for clarification. 

What desvenlafaxine is used for?

Desvenlafaxine is classified as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). It is an antidepressant which exerts its effects by balancing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically norepinephrine and serotonin. These chemicals are responsible for alleviating feelings of depression and anxiety by improving a person’s overall mood and boosting motivation. (1,2)

Desvenlafaxine extended-release tablets are only approved for major depressive disorders in adult patients. It is not approved for paediatric use by the FDA. (1)

After the tablet is orally ingested, it gets absorbed into your gastrointestinal tract and since the tablet is extended release, it allows the drug to release gradually over time and the peak concentration is approximately reached within 7.5 hours after ingestion. It has a large volume of distribution as it can cross the blood-brain barrier and gets metabolized mainly by the liver enzymes. (1)

The drug is typically eliminated from your system through the kidneys and its elimination half-life is about 11 hours. Approximately 45% of desvenlafaxine and its metabolites get excreted from your urine in an unchanged form, normally after 72 hours of ingesting orally. (1)

What are the physical characteristics of desvenlafaxine? 

The physical characteristics of desvenlafaxine tablets can vary depending on different factors like the dosage strength and the specific manufacturer. Here are some general physical characteristics one should be aware of: (3)

Colour: Desvenlafaxine tablets come in different colours. Some common colours may include, white, light pink, reddish-orange or peach. The specific colour is given to specific dosage strength and formulation. 

Shape: Desvenlafaxine tablets are typically round or oval in shape which may also vary depending on manufacturer and dosage.

Imprints, codes or markings: Desvenlafaxine tablets often have imprints engraved on them or markings on one or both sides of the tablet for identification purposes. These markings may include letters, numbers or symbols.

Dosage strength: The tablets come in different dosage strengths and this is usually indicated on the tablets themselves through imprints. 

Size: The size of desvenlafaxine tablets can also vary. Different dosages correspond to different tablet sizes, larger tablets may contain higher doses than smaller tablets. 

Coating: Some tablets of desvenlafaxine may have a coating that helps facilitate its extended-release mechanism. 

What dosage forms and strengths of desvenlafaxine are available?

Extended-release tablets (Dosage form):

Desvenlafaxine tablets are only available in extended-release forms. They are designed to be slowly released in your body over an extended time so that you don’t need to hassle overtaking the dose again and again in a single day. They are prescribed taken once daily. (1,2)

Dosage strengths:

Desvenlafaxine extended-release tablets are available to you in various dosage forms, including:

  • 25mg
  • 50mg
  • 100mg

Always follow the prescription provided by your doctor and never choose dosage strengths on your own. Your healthcare provider will give you the appropriate dosage based on the severity of your symptoms. (1)

What are the commonly available brands of desvenlafaxine? 

Desvenlafaxine is primarily available in its generic name. However, the most common brand being marketed worldwide is Pristiq. It is commonly used to treat major depressive disorder in adult patients. (1)

Brand name Company Characteristics
         Pristiq         Wyeth       Pharmaceuticals

25mg tablet-tan, round-shaped, film-coated, engraved with LU on one side and S67 on the other side.

50mg tablet-light pink, round-shaped, film-coated, engraved with LU on one side and S61 on the other side.

100mg tablet-reddish orange, round shaped, film-coated, engraved with Lu on one side and S62 on the other side.


        Desfax    Icon Life Sciences

50mg tablet-light pink colour, diamond-shaped, engraved with L189 on one side and plain on the other side.

100mg tablet-dark brown to red colour, diamond-shaped, engraved with L190 on one side and plain on the other side.


Wyeth Pharmaceuticals has now been taken over by Pfizer since 2009. 

What are the storage and handling methods for desvenlafaxine?

Proper storage and handling of medications, including desvenlafaxine are important to maintain their effectiveness and ensure safety. Store desvenlafaxine tablets at room temperature and away from excessive heat and moisture. The ideal temperature mentioned on the drug label is 20-25 degrees centigrade. (2,3)

You must store desvenlafaxine in its original packaging or container provided by your pharmacist to avoid the risk of contamination and degradation of the product. Always remember to check the expiration date on the prescription label and never use any medicine after its expiration date has passed, as expired medicines can be harmful. 

If you need to travel with desvenlafaxine, make sure it is stored securely in its original packaging. Consider carrying a copy of your prescription or medical information when travelling. (2,3)

What’s the importance of identifying desvenlafaxine tablets? 

Identifying desvenlafaxine tablets in terms of their appearance holds several important reasons, some of which include: (2,3)

  • Reporting discrepancies: If you’re able to identify your medication, it allows you to notice any discrepancies and variations in the appearance of your tablets. If you have received a differently-looking formulation or your tablets have undergone degradation due to improper storage conditions, you will know it and be able to report it to your pharmacist.


  • Safety and quality assurance: The appearance of medication, including its colour, shape and markings or codes is an integral part of quality control and safety measures. Identifying desvenlafaxine tablets ensures that you’re receiving a genuine and properly manufactured product.


  • Ensuring correct medication: Different medications may look similar in terms of colour and packaging. An accurate identification will enable you to recognize that you’re taking the correct drug prescribed by your doctor. This helps prevent errors and ensures the intended treatment. (2)

As a pharmacist, i would emphasize that everyone must be well informed and awared about their prescribed medications, in terms of its physical appearance, proper methods of administration, storage conditions and the risks and therapeutic profiles. In this way they’ll be knowing what medications they are taking and how their body is responding to it. In case of any concerns feel free to consult your doctor.

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National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus Drug Information, Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), [Internet]. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a608022.html

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