Pristiq For Anxiety

Pristiq is an antidepressant that can also treat anxiety. Learn here about its effectiveness, side effects, and safety information. 


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The information below is presented as a generalized and educational overview. The specific details of treatment protocols mentioned in this article may not reflect the protocols utilized by A Mission for Michael.

If you would like to learn more about AMFM’s individualized programs to aid those struggling with mental health disorders, please reach out.

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Pristiq is an antidepressant from a class of drugs known as serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or SNRIs. The generic name for Pristiq is desvenlafaxine. Other common medications from this drug class include Cymbalta and Effexor. It is not an SSRI, which is typically used only for depression.

Anxiety is a common problem in modern society. Since COVID, the issue has skyrocketed. According to the CDC, over 30% of Americans reported anxiety in the previous month. They are the most common mental illness in the U.S., but few long-term medications treat the condition.1

Some research supports the use of Pristiq to treat anxiety. Although it is not an FDA-approved use yet, doctors do prescribe the medication to those who struggle with anxiety.

Infographic - Anxiety report from CDC

How Long Does Pristiq Take to Work? 

Like most antidepressants, it may take some time to feel the effects of Pristiq for anxiety.  You likely will not notice an immediate improvement in anxiety symptoms. You may start to experience changes within a few days or weeks, but it takes some time to get the fullest effects.

Is Pristiq Better for Anxiety or Depression?

Pristiq is FDA-approved to treat depression and has significant research on its safety. Although there is evidence that it helps improve anxiety, there is not enough research for FDA approval.

Pristiq Effectiveness 

There is research on Pristiq’s effectiveness for anxiety. One Pristiq review on those with major depressive disorder (or MDD) and anxiety shows that it helped relieve it much more effectively than the placebo.2

Another small twelve-week study on patients with social anxiety found that it helped improve their symptoms.3 While the initial research is promising, more studies need to be done to substantiate the use of Pristiq for anxiety.


Although Pristiq is a common drug, it should still be used under a doctor’s care. It has serious side effects and risks if not taken correctly. 

What is Pristiq Used For? 

Although this medication is only officially used to treat depression, doctors also commonly prescribe it to treat anxiety as well. It is often prescribed to manage the symptoms of panic disorders in addition to depression. 

Pristiq Dosage for Anxiety

Pristiq dosage can vary based on various factors, including gender, metabolism, weight, and severity of symptoms. However, the standard Pristiq dosage is 50mg daily. If it is too much, though, 25mg is also an option. 

Will I Need to Use this Drug Long-term?

Unlike most medications used to treat acute anxiety, it can be taken long-term. However, speak with your doctor if you have concerns about taking this for long periods.

Symptoms of an Overdose

Pristiq must be only taken as directed by a doctor. Symptoms reported within five days of taking over 600 mg include: 

  • Tachycardia 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Vomiting 
  • Headache 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Constipation 
  • Paresthesia 

There is also a small risk of seizure or serotonin toxicity with an overdose. 

Symptoms of Pristiq Withdrawal 

Like almost any other medication, the body can experience painful symptoms when the drug is no longer present. Withdrawal symptoms can occur when use stops suddenly. Common symptoms of Pristiq withdrawal include: 

  • Dizziness 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Speech changes 
  • Headaches 
  • Irritability 
  • Lucid dreams 
  • Nausea 
  • Electrical shock sensation 
  • Worsening mood or depression 

Contact a doctor if you are feeling any withdrawal symptoms. If you wish to discontinue this medication, your doctor may recommend tapering off the medication, or they may prescribe a partner medication to avoid withdrawal symptoms. 


Common Side Effects 

Any medication has the potential for side effects. The most common side effects include: 

  • Fatigue 
  • Dizziness 
  • Constipation 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Drowsiness  
  • Sweating 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Lucid dreams and night terrors 

Medication affects everyone differently. Some people experience all these side effects, while some have none. However, side effects usually lessen and become more manageable over time. Always speak with your doctor about any side effects or become more severe. 

Does Pristiq Cause Weight Gain? 

Research shows that Pristiq weight gain is minimal. One review of both short-term and long-term studies found that less than 1% of people taking this medication had significant weight changes.4

Serious Side Effects 

Although most of the side effects are mild or manageable, some more severe side effects require immediate medical assistance. Contact your medical providers or pharmacy right away if you experience unusual symptoms or these potentially serious Pristiq side effects: 

  • Headache 
  • Nosebleeds 
  • Seizures 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Brain fog 
  • Weakness 
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising 
  • Hallucinations 
  • An allergic reaction, such as swelling of the tongue, mouth, or face, choking sensations, hives, rashes, or difficulty breathing. 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Chest pain 
  • Difficulty with coordination 
  • Fever 
  • Mood changes and suicidal thoughts 

Sexual Side Effects 

Sexual side effects for men and women are common with antidepressants. Pristiq sexual side effects include: 

  • Erectile problems 
  • Changes in libido 
  • Issues with orgasm 
  • Issues with arousal, comfort, and satisfaction 

If you are experiencing sexual side effects, speak with your doctor. There are options, such as: 

  • Waiting several weeks to see if symptoms improve 
  • Adjust your dose 
  • Adding a second antidepressant or medication, such as bupropion 
  • Adding medicines that improve sexual function, such as Viagra or Cialis


No medication is suitable for everyone. Here are some critical questions to keep in mind and discuss with your doctor before taking any medication. 

Does Pristiq Interact with Other Drugs?

Yes, Pristiq can have severe interactions with other medications. Be sure to tell your doctor of any other medicines you are taking, including herbal supplements and natural remedies.

Who Should Not Take Pristiq?

Pristiq should not be taken within seven days before or fourteen days after using an MAO inhibitor Those who are allergic to desvenlafaxine or venlafaxine should also not take this substance. 

Young people should be monitored while taking this medication, as well as any other antidepressants. In 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added a “black box” warning to antidepressants that potentially increase the user’s risk of suicidal behaviors and thoughts. Young people under twenty-five are especially vulnerable to this side effect, and Pristiq is not FDA approved for those under eighteen.  

Pristiq can be passed on to a child through breast milk and during pregnancy. Check with your doctor before taking it while pregnant or nursing. Older adults should also be cautious as this medication can have stronger effects. 

Ask your doctor before taking it if you have any of the following conditions: 

  • Glaucoma 
  • Seizures or epilepsy 
  • Low sodium levels 
  • Problems with breathing 
  • Sexual problems 
  • Suicidal thoughts 
  • Heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a history of a stroke 
  • Bipolar disorder 
  • Liver or kidney disease 
  • A bleeding or clotting disorder 
Infographic - Pristiq Dosage


Pristiq and Alcohol 

Avoid consuming alcohol while taking Pristiq for anxiety. Taking it and drinking alcohol can increase the toxicity of the medication, which leads to ineffectiveness.  

How Should I Store Pristiq? 

Keep Pristiq medication stored in its original container out of the reach of children. It should be kept away from places with excess heat and moisture, such as a bathroom. 

What Happens If I Miss a Dose? 

Take your dose as soon as you remember if you skip one. Skip the dose entirely if it is close to your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time. 

What Should I Avoid While Taking Pristiq? 

Pristiq can impair thoughts and reactions. Avoid driving or any hazardous activity when you first take it until you know how the medication affects you. 

Check with a medical professional before taking any nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as Advil, Aleve, Motrin, or aspirin. It may cause bleeding or easy bruises. 

In addition, check with your doctor if you are taking a blood thinner (like warfarin) or medication to prevent blood clots. 


The decision to take medication is a personal choice that should be made with you and your doctor. All drugs have pros and cons that you should weigh before taking them. 


Initial research of Pristiq medication shows that it could be effective in helping reduce anxiety, especially social anxiety. Unlike more severe anti-anxiety medication, Pristiq is a daily medication that can be taken long-term. 


Like any other medication, there are side effects with this medication. How severe your side effects are is dependent on many factors that make it impossible to predict. For many people, these side effects eventually fade. However, for others, the side effects are so severe and constant that it lowers their overall quality of life. 

Once you decide to start taking Pristiq, you must continue to do so. Stopping suddenly could result in severe side effects. Never stop taking your medication apart from a medical professional. 


We also accept many others insurance plans. verify your benefits with no obligation required.


OR CALL US 24/7: (844) 926-0729


We also accept many others insurance plans. verify your benefits with no obligation required.


OR CALL US 24/7: (844) 926-0729