Addiction A-Z

SNRI

An SNRI, or selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, is a type of prescription drug used to treat depression and other types of mood disorders.  The most popular SNRI drugs include Effexor and Cymbalta. SNRI medications affect serotonin and norepinephrine, two substances that aid in brain communication or neurotransmission. When ingested, an SNRI increases the amount of neurotransmitter available to neurons, thus enhancing their action. Although each substance has a complicated role to play in human processes, both serotonin and norepinephrine have been found to elevate mood and increase feelings of happiness. In addition to treating depression, SNRI drugs can help alleviate some symptoms associated with anxiety and panic disorders, attention deficit issues, certain types of pain-related illnesses, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. SNRI drugs are newer than drugs from the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) family and, thus, there are much fewer SNRI options on the market. However, SNRI has surpassed SSRI as the preferable treatment option for many suffering from depression, perhaps because SNRI drugs have been shown to be better at battling this disorder and have milder side effects, especially the ones having to do with sexual function. Patients who are taking SNRI medications typically experience decreased appetite (leading to weight loss) and sleep disturbances. Patients may also become dizzy, drowsy and have an increase in suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Like SSRIs, SNRI medications may cause some unwanted sexual side effects such an a decreased libido and an inability to have an orgasm; however, the sexual side effects caused by SNRIs tend to be more mild than the ones caused by SSRIs. Because prolonged use of SNRI medications can cause patients to become dependent, abrupt cessation of use can cause withdrawal symptoms. It is therefore recommended that any plan to stop taking SNRIs be supervised by a doctor.

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