When discussing prescriptions administered for either anxiety or depression with a physician, many pros and cons related to the medicines must be conveyed by the doctor and fully understood by the patient in order to reach recovery with minimal complications.
Generally, the drugs prescribed for these two disorders fall under the family of medicines called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Initiated as a treatment in the 1990s, SNRIs are also called dual reuptake inhibitors or dual-acting antidepressants. Each type of SNRI shares some benefits and drawbacks in common. Some, however, differ in ways that can affect a patient’s recovery, comfort, and even medical expenses.
Pristiq and Effexor XR—a desvenlafaxine and venlafaxine, respectively—rank among the most commonly prescribed drugs for both depression and anxiety disorders. Each effectively improves the balance of two important brain chemicals, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Scientists believe the imbalance in these two chemicals—neurotransmitters that basically serve as messengers to the brain—can prompt mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and the many subcategories of each.
Although both Pristiq and Effexor XR improve the balance of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, they differ when it comes to the treatment regimen, their dosages, durations, after-effects, side-effects, and cost.
How and When Pristiq is Applied
Doctors prescribe Pristiq (generically known as desvenlafaxine) as an antidepressant to stabilize neurotransmitters, but it is also used to mitigate panic disorders, specifically connected to the imbalance of norepinephrine levels.
The balance of serotonin, on the other hand, proves critical to moods and sleep, according to VeryWellMind.com, a mental health help site.
Pristiq comes in an extended-release pill and generally needs to be taken only once a day. It can be ingested outside of mealtimes, unlike Effexor. However, it requires a longer period to take effect than Effexor. Depending on the individual patient, noticeable improvements often won’t appear until a few weeks or even months into the treatment regimen.
In all, Pristiq aids in keeping serotonin and norepinephrine in balance, effectively treating depression and reducing anxiety, panic attacks, and moodiness related to these disorders.
How and When Effexor is Applied
Usually given in capsule form, Effexor is used to treat major depression, anxiety disorders, and panic disorders, including social anxiety. It must be taken during meals and usually once a day, depending on the strength or number of milligrams in each capsule and the individual’s needs as determined by the physician.
The release of Effexor can take up to two weeks or more, unless the patient cracks open the capsule and sprinkles it onto some food, initiating a more direct ingestion of the drug.
In most instances, the patient must be weaned off Effexor more carefully than with Pristiq. The withdrawal symptoms can cause great discomfort to some patients when Effexor isn’t gradually reduced as recovery starts to materialize.
Dosages for Pristiq
Doctors normally recommend Pristiq in dosages of 50 mg once a day (given around the same time each day). Tablets must not be severed, crushed, chewed, or dissolved in a glass of water or other liquid; they must be swallowed whole and washed down with water or another non-alcoholic beverage.
Dosages for Effexor
Doctors generally recommend a dosage of 75-375 mg two to three times a day (every 8 or 12 hours). The dose for extended-release commonly consists of 37.5-225 mg once a day. Often, dosages begin on the lower side of frequency and volume. It increases in accordance with the individual’s treatment requirements as ascertained by the personal physician.
Social anxiety disorder, specifically, requires 75 mg daily under the extended-release regimen.
Release of Effexor XR usually takes at least two weeks. If the capsule is snapped and its contents sprinkled onto food, an immediate release of the medicine occurs, and its effects begin to materialize much sooner than two weeks.
Side Effects of Pristiq
As with most SNRIs, these medicines share some side effects but differ in others. Some of Pristiq’s most common side effects include constipation, dry mouth, drowsiness, fatigue (accompanied by much yawning), sexual impotence, dizziness, sweating, loss of appetite, and unusual dreams.
Side Effects of Effexor
Like Pristiq, Effexor can cause dry mouth, dizziness, drowsiness, loss of appetite, and sweating. Additionally, it can cause headaches, insomnia, nausea, and anxiety. More severe and less common side effects from Effexor include sexual impotence, seizures, and increased blood pressure.
Suicidal Tendencies Need to be Monitored
As with so many antidepressants, patients sometimes risk suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Doctors who conduct a regimen of close monitoring of a patient can tailor prescriptions to avoid or at least minimize such tendencies. Honest, open discussion with your physician becomes extra critical in these instances.
When comparing treatments that prescribe either Pristiq or Effexor, a few factors warranting consideration stand out, according to Iodine.com, a consumer health website.
Only one Pristiq pill a day is needed for treatment, and it can be taken with or without food. It possesses a lesser sedative effect than other SNRIs.
Full effect for this drug can require up to approximately 12 weeks. As with Effexor, research shows that Pristiq can particularly leave younger patients—those of 24 years and younger—more prone to suicidal thoughts or behaviors than older patients. It also costs more, depending on lengths of treatments, than Effexor.
Its release can be extended or immediate, depending on how you consume the capsule. It is, on average and depending upon the length of treatment, less expensive than Pristiq because its availability in generic form is greater.
Because of the number of disorders it treats, it can be used without supplemental drugs for patients with multiple conditions (e.g., anxiety, depression, or panic disorder).
Though it carries heavier sedative properties than Pristiq, this can actually benefit those with serious insomnia to a greater extent.
As mentioned, it can reduce libido in patients and increase blood pressure. It also induces sleepiness to a greater extent than Pristiq. Depending on your doctor’s treatment plan, you might require more than one dose a day.
Finally, Effexor leaves the patient with more withdrawal symptoms than Pristiq when suddenly stopping its use. Doctors usually take patients off Effexor gradually as a result.
So, there you have it! Simply weighing the pros and cons of Pristiq and Effexor is an effective way to reach your best treatment plan under the careful guidance of your physician.