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Translation of a-t 2023; 54: 55


Misleading advertisement for desvenlafaxine (DESVENEURAX)

A pharmaceutical representative left me an "information sheet"1 on desvenlafaxine (DESVENEURAX). It advertises, amongst other things, the following, stating:

- no sexual dysfunction
- no weight gain.

Given the context of the facts presented in a-t 2022; 53: 83-4, are these statements still legal or is this already misleading advertising that should also be reported?

N.N. (name etc. stated in a-t 7/2023)
Conflict of interest: none

1Neuraxpharm: DESVENEURAX - rethinking depression therapy, prescribing differently, undated.

In our opinion, the "information sheet"1 on desvenlafaxine (DESVENAURAX; a-t 2022; 53: 83-4) constitutes misleading advertising. The German summary of product characteristics2 for the selective serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) approved for the treatment of "major depression" in adults warns of sexual dysfunction with SNRIs, which may be long-term and persistent despite discontinuing the medication. Erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation and weak ejaculation are listed as common adverse effects. The US product information 3 lists, among other things, diminished libido in 4% to 6% and erectile dysfunction in 3% to 8% of men receiving daily doses of 50 mg to 200 mg of desvenlafaxine versus 1% in each case with placebo.

According to the German summary of product characteristics, weight gain and weight loss are also common adverse effects of the SNRI.2 Furthermore, the supplier, Neuraxpharm, advertises a beneficial safety profile compared to venlafaxine1 (TREVILOR, generics) in the "information sheet". Percentages apparently derived from placebo-controlled and not direct comparative studies are listed, which, in our opinion, are not suitable for comparison.* We have reported the advertising to the competent authority. We still see no indication for the me-too desvenlafaxine, -Ed.

* Desvenlafaxine data selected by Neuraxpharm appear to refer to the lowest dosage (50 mg daily, doses up to 200 mg are approved). According to US product information3, adverse effects are more common with increasing dosage.
1Neuraxpharm: DESVENEURAX - rethinking depression therapy, prescribing differently, undated.
2Neuraxpharm: DESVENEURAX Summary of Product Characteristics, dated May 2022
3Wyeth: US Product Information PRISTIQ, dated Nov 2021; https://a-turl.de/h5fi

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