What are Effexor and Pristiq?

Effexor was launched in 1993 to treat depression.  Initially a Wyeth product, it is now owned by Pfizer.  Effexor is in the antidepressant class of drugs referred to as a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor or an SNRI.  Wyeth later developed another SNRI in 2008 called Pristiq.  Both drugs are similar to SSRI antidepressants and believed to increase the risk of birth defects in the same manner as Paxil, Zoloft and Prozac.

Effexor is also known by its generic name, venlafaxine.  After Effexor is metabolized, its active ingredient is desvenlafaxine.  Wyeth later figured out a way to package Effexor in its metabolized state of desvenlafaxine, which it later launched as Effexor’s sister antidepressant, Pristiq.

How Do These Drugs Work?

Effexor and Pristiq, like other SNRIs, are thought to increase the levels of serotonin neurotransmitters and norepinephrine neurotransmitters between nerve cells.  The active ingredients in Effexor and Pristiq block nerve cells from being able to reabsorb serotonin neurotransmitters and norepinephrine neurotransmitters.  Thus, the neurotransmitters have nowhere to go, and are blocked from “reuptake”, therefore resulting in an increased level of serotonin neurotransmitters and norepinephrine neurotransmitters between nerve cells in the brain, thereby increasing or improving one’s mood.

Effexor and Pristiq Birth Defects

Like SSRIs, SNRIs are believed to increase the risk of birth defects in children that are exposed to Effexor or Pristiq in utero. The common birth defects associated with Effexor and Pristiq are:

  • Congenital heart defect
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN)
  • Spina bifida
  • Craniosynostosis
  • Omphalocele
  • Cleft lip and / cleft palate
  • Club foot
  • Anencephaly
  • Anal atresia

Call Us Today.

If your child or another loved one has been injured by Effexor, Pristiq, or any other anti-depressant, you should talk to a birth defect attorney from Kirkendall Dwyer LLP immediately.  Only an experienced attorney can consider the facts of your case and advise you as to how to proceed.  Our attorneys are compassionate, knowledgeable, and ready to help you today.  There is no retainer fee, and we only collect our fee once we have recovered compensation for you.  You have nothing to lose.  Contact us today.