Effects of desvenlafaxine on blood pressure in patients treated for major depressive disorder: a pooled analysis

Curr Med Res Opin. 2015 Apr;31(4):809-20. doi: 10.1185/03007995.2015.1020365. Epub 2015 Mar 26.


Objective: To evaluate the effect of the serotonin-norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor desvenlafaxine on blood pressure and incidence of new onset hypertension in pooled short-term studies and in two longer-term, randomized withdrawal studies.

Research design and methods: Data from patients randomly assigned to desvenlafaxine 10 mg to 400 mg/day or placebo in 11 short-term (8-12 weeks), fixed-dose, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) were pooled for analysis; two desvenlafaxine randomized withdrawal studies (36 and 46 weeks) were analyzed separately.

Clinical trial registration: www.clinicaltrials.gov , NCT00072774, NCT00073762, NCT00277823, NCT00300378, NCT00384033, NCT00798707, NCT00863798, NCT01121484, NCT00824291, NCT01432457, NCT00075257, NCT00887224.

Main outcome measures: Outcomes included change from baseline in supine systolic blood pressure (SSBP) and supine diastolic blood pressure (SDBP), assessed using a mixed model repeated measures (MMRM) analysis, and incidence of hypertension (defined as three consecutive second SDBP measures ≥90 mm Hg AND increase of ≥10 mm Hg from baseline and/or SSBP ≥140 mm Hg AND increase of ≥10 mm Hg), analyzed using Cochran Mantel Hanzael tests. Potential predictors of change in SSBP and SDBP at LOCF were examined by including predictor variables in a regression model.

Results: In the pooled, short-term studies, mean changes from baseline over time in SSBP and SDBP were statistically significant compared with placebo for the desvenlafaxine doses of 10 mg/day or greater for SSBP (p ≤ 0.0004; MMRM) and 25 mg/day or greater for SDBP (p ≤ 0.0449; MMRM). The proportion of patients with new onset hypertension differed significantly from placebo for the 50, 200, and 400 mg/day doses (1.9%, 2.4%, 4.8%, respectively, vs 0.8%; all p ≤ 0.0244). Predictors of change in BP included baseline SDBP, baseline SSBP, dose, body mass index, gender, age, race, and history of hypertension.

Limitations: Data were pooled from studies which differed somewhat in study design and patient demographics. None of the studies were originally designed to examine treatment effects on BP. Study entry criteria limit generalization of these results to medically stable patients with a primary diagnosis of MDD.

Conclusions: Short-term desvenlafaxine treatment was associated with small but statistically significant increases in SSBP and SDBP.

Keywords: Adverse effects; Blood pressure; Desvenlafaxine; Hypertension; Safety; Serotonin-norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Cyclohexanols / adverse effects
  • Cyclohexanols / therapeutic use*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / drug therapy*
  • Desvenlafaxine Succinate
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / chemically induced
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Cyclohexanols
  • Desvenlafaxine Succinate

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00072774
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00073762
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00075257
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00300378
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00384033
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00798707
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00824291
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00863798
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00887224
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01121484
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01432457
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00277823