New serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and their anesthetic and analgesic considerations

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Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) inhibit the presynaptic neuronal uptake of serotonin and norepinephrine and prolong the effects of the monoamines in the synaptic cleft within the central nervous system, leading to increased postsynaptic receptor activation and neuronal activities. Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors can have multiple clinical indications, including as the first-line agents for the management of depression and anxiety, and as analgesics in the treatment of chronic pain. The effects of reuptake inhibition of norepinephrine and serotonin are often dose-dependent and agent-dependent. There are five FDA-approved serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (desvenlafaxine, duloxetine, levomilnacipran, milnacipran and sibutramine) currently being marketed in the United States. As the COVID-19 pandemic significantly increased the incidence and prevalence of anxiety and depression across the country, there are significantly increased prescriptions of these medications perioperatively. Thus, anesthesiologists are more likely than ever to have patients administered with these agents and scheduled for elective or emergency surgical procedures. A thorough understanding of these commonly prescribed serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and their interactions with commonly utilized anesthetic agents is paramount. There are two potentially increased risks related to the continuation of SNRIs through the perioperative period: intraoperative bleeding and serotonin syndrome. SNRIs have some off-label uses, more new indications, and ever-increasing new applications in perioperative practice. This article aims to review the commonly prescribed serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and the current clinical evidence regarding their considerations in perioperative anesthesia and analgesia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-509
Number of pages13
JournalNeurology International
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology


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