Some common SNRI uses include the treatment of depression, peripheral diabetic neuropathy pain, and generalized anxiety disorder. Occasionally, healthcare providers may also prescribe SNRIs for "off-label" purposes. Off-label SNRI uses may include the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder and other conditions. None of the SNRIs that are currently available are approved for use in children or teenagers.
SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants are a class of prescription medications used to treat numerous conditions. Although SNRIs were originally used for treating depression, many are now approved to treat other conditions as well. SNRIs are approved and effective for the treatment of the following conditions:
- Depression (also known as major depression or clinical depression)
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Panic disorder
- Peripheral diabetic neuropathy pain (nerve pain in the hands, feet, arms, or legs due to diabetes)
- Social phobia (also known as social anxiety disorder)
- Chronic musculoskeletal pain (such as chronic low back pain).
Not all SNRIs are approved for all of the uses listed above.
In general, SNRIs take several weeks to begin working, especially for depression. Sometimes, other people will notice an improvement in your symptoms before you do. Often, the physical symptoms of depression (or other conditions), such as pain or changes in sleep, will improve first, sometimes within the first few weeks of treatment. It usually takes at least four to six weeks before significant changes in mood occur.
It is important to give SNRIs a chance to work before becoming discouraged, especially since you may notice side effects before you feel that the SNRI is working for you (see SNRI Side Effects for more information about possible side effects of SNRIs).
SNRIs tend to cause a more alerting or awakening effect compared to other antidepressants, probably due to the effects on norepinephrine. This can become a problem for some people who may experience insomnia or jitteriness. Others may develop high blood pressure as a result of the norepinephrine effects. For many people, though, the alerting effects can help with the fatigue associated with depression or other conditions.