Desvenlafaxine Succinate:

A Newer Antidepressant for the Treatment of Depression and Somatic Symptoms

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Ho-Jun Seo, MD; Manmohandeep Singh Sohi, MD; Ashwin A. Patkar, MD; Prakash S. Masand, MD; and Chi-Un Pae, MD, PhD

Table of Contents

Postgraduate Medicine:

Volume 122 No. 1

Category:

Clinical Features

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DOI: 10.3810/pgm.2010.01.2106
Abstract: Desvenlafaxine succinate (DVS) is one of several serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Others are venlafaxine hydrochloride, milnacipran, and duloxetine. Desvenlafaxine has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) based on a number of randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials. Clinical studies have investigated the efficacy of DVS in doses ranging from 50 to 400 mg/day for the treatment of MDD in adult outpatients. The effects of DVS 50 mg/day have been clearly distinguished from placebo in the reduction of MDD symptoms in such clinical trials. No additional therapeutic benefits were found at doses > 50 mg/day. The recommended dose of DVS ranges from 50 to 100 mg. Desvenlafaxine is currently the third SNRI approved by the FDA for this indication. Preliminary evidence also suggests the clinical usefulness of DVS in the treatment of vasomotor symptoms of menopause, anxiety symptoms, and painful physical symptoms. The modified pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles of DVS differentiate this drug from the original product, venlafaxine. Significant points of difference, compared with venlafaxine, are once-daily dosing and the achievement of steady-state plasma concentrations within 4 to 5 days. To summarize, current evidence indicates that DVS has proven efficacy, acceptable safety and tolerability profiles, convenient dosing, and minimal impact on the cytochrome P450 enzyme system. A reduced risk for pharmacokinetic drug interactions is a potential advantage over other selective serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors. Desvenlafaxine succinate has demonstrated its efficacy for treating MDD but its variable efficacy, as shown in individual studies, limited long-term data, and its different risk-to-benefit ratio compared with earlier antidepressants, means that further investigation of this drug is necessary.

Keywords: desvenlafaxine , depression , vasomotor symptom , serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors