Feds OK Wyeth's New Antidepressant

Faced with generic threats to its popular Effexor XR, company banking on Pristiq
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 29, 2008 7:41 PM CST
It's unknown when Pristiq could hit pharmacy shelves. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Antidepressant Effexor XR will soon lose patent protection, and maker Wyeth is hoping Pristiq, the successor drug approved today by the FDA, will soften the financial blow. Higher-ups at the company gush over Pristiq's advantages, including zero acclimation time and no liver interaction, and hope that sales will offset losses to generic versions of Effexor, the New York Times reports.

Wyeth lauds the drug for the same reason that skeptics doubt claims of increased effectiveness: Pristiq is a “metabolite,” basically Effexor after human consumption. Wyeth hopes for sales similar to Effexor’s nearly $4 billion a year, and the market responded well to the FDA approval—but industry insiders doubt it will live up to expectations “with no clear advantages over” other antidepressants. (Read more Effexor stories.)