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Efexor successor approved in US

Published on 07/03/08 at 11:23am

Wyeth's Pristiq, a refined version of its top-selling depression treatment Efexor, has been approved in the US.

Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) delivers the major active metabolite of Efexor (venlafaxine) in its active state, which Wyeth hopes will give the drug benefits over Efexor.

Unlike venlafaxine, desvenlafaxine is not metabolised through the CYP2D6 pathway, the route through which most existing antidepressants are metabolised. This means that when Pristiq is co-administered with other medications there is less chance of interactions.

Efexor and Efexor XR earned Wyeth $3.8 billion in 2007, making it the company's biggest selling and most important brand.

But generic competition is looming, particularly in the US, where a generic rival to Efexor XR is being readied for launch later this year, and Pristiq's approval should help Wyeth offset some of the lost sales.

Pristiq has also been filed as a treatment for 'vasomotor symptoms', the hot flushes and night sweats associated with the menopause, but the US regulator has demanded more data before it can be approved.

Pristiq was filed with Europe's regulator in October last year, and could be available in the first EU markets by the end of 2008.

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