SNRI Medications

Overview By Dr. Kensington

SNRIs (Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors) are a class of prescription medications used to treat depression and various types of anxiety including general anxiety disorder, social anxiety, and panic attacks.

They are also used to treat pain related to diabetes and fibromyalgia, symptoms of ADHD, and other conditions.

Serotonin Norepinephrine Inhibitors act by interacting with the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the body.

Serotonin and norepinephrine are neurotransmitters in the brain that help regulate mood and emotion. Popular medications of this class include Cymbalta, Effexor, Pristiq, and Savella.

Side Effects

In a small amount of folks who take Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors, side effects may include nausea, dry mouth anxiety, fatigue, diminished libido, diarrhea, lightheadedness, drowsiness, fatigue, constipation, insomnia or sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, and tremors.

More serious side effects can include aggression, agitation, panic attacks, restlessness, hallucinations, rapid pulse, heart palpitations, and insomnia. These serious side effects occur in an even smaller number of users, but if you experience them contact your prescribing doctor right away.

Possible signs of an allergic reaction may include hives, skin rash, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, or any swelling in body parts such as the tongue, hands, or feet. If you experience any serious side effects or physical reactions while taking this class of medications, contact your doctor immediately.

In such cases, you should seek immediate emergency medical attention in order to stabilize your symptoms. 

Suicide Warning

According to some studies, antidepressants may cause an increase the risk of suicide, particularly in children, teens, and young adults. As a result, due to increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in young patients, these medications are rarely or only prescribed with great caution for children, teens, and young adults. See this warning about antidepressants and suicide.

Birth Defects

In addition, clinical trials show an increased risk of miscarriages, birth defects, and other health risks when these drugs are taken by pregnant women.

See this warning regarding antidepressants and pregnancy.

Alcohol Warning

Mixing this medication with alcohol is not recommended for a variety of reasons. See this warning regarding antidepressants and alcohol.

Safety Tips For SNRI Users

Only take Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors as prescribed by doctor; do not alter doses. Report any side effects or unusual reactions to your prescribing doctor. Inform your doctor immediately if you have thoughts of harming yourself while taking this medication.

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