What should I know about Savella before taking it?

Before taking Savella (milnacipran), you should know that although it is approved to treat fibromyalgia, it is in the same drug class as many antidepressants. (It belongs to a class of drugs called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs.) This means people taking Savella should watch for side effects that can occur with certain antidepressants -- most dangerously, an increased risk of suicide in young adults, adolescents and children. Red flags include having thoughts of suicide or dying, acting aggressively or violently, having panic attacks, feeling restless and having trouble sleeping.

Savella works by increasing the brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine, which regulate mood and suppress pain signals. When taken along with other drugs known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), Savella may cause a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome. You should not start Savella within two weeks of taking an MAOI. Other medications and supplements may interact with Savella, too, so you should tell your doctor about all your medicines (prescription and nonprescription), supplements and herbal remedies.

Savella may cause a number of other side effects too. People with certain medical conditions, such as problems with the kidneys, liver or heart or a history of seizures, among other things, may have a higher risk for side effects from Savella. Give your doctor a thorough picture of your mental and physical health before taking Savella.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.