Antidepressants Side Effects

Antidepressant treatment is often very much difficult as the various side effects are considered, and it is more in case of mild to moderate depression cases. One way of the desired side effects is useful for the mood of the person taking the antidepressant.

Some of the various side effects from the different antidepressants are:

  1. Loss of libido
  2. Agitation
  3. Anxiety
  4. Dry mouth
  5. Urinary retention
  6. Blurred vision
  7. Constipation
  8. Weight gain
  9. Headache
  10. Nausea
  11. Gastrointestinal disturbance/diarrhea
  12. Abdominal pain
  13. Inability to achieve an erection
  14. Inability to achieve an orgasm (men and women)
  15. Sedation (can interfere with driving or operating machinery)
  16. Sleep disruption

Approach to the Patient about Antidepressants

  • One should be well known with the side effects patients might get
  • One should select antidepressant that fits with the patient's medical conditions and side effect preferences
  • One should tell when side effects occurs and continue the medicine if tolerable
  • One should know the dose to avoid certain side effects
  • One should consider switching to a different antidepressant

Major Side Effects of Antidepressants

  • Tiredness or sedation on SSRIs The patients on SSRIs sometimes feel tired during the day time and they can also suffer from disturbed sleep. In addition to it activating drug like caffeine or stimulants, which can be helpful, but effects may be variable and can complicate treatment by introducing new side effects at the same time. Recommendations for it is try to adjust time of day dose as per the prescription. If then also tiredness is there try to reduce the sedating antidepressant such as bupropion.
  • Stimulation or restlessness The antidepressants may cause activation of underlying panic-type anxiety disorder in many cases. If that would have happened you may start with a lower dose and check for desirability. It is found among the SSRIs, fluoxetine (Prozac - non-formulary) does it is the most, while the others do it in 10-20% of patients. Citalopram (Celexa) may have very few problems in this area. Insomnia can be one of the important manifestations of stimulation and managed with trazodone or lorazepam. Recommendations on this is, if activation is realy troublesome, you may try switching to a different SSRI antidepressant of the same type.
  • Weight gain on SSRIs Among the SSRIs, paroxetine is one of them which causes weight gain, while others are not so effective as per weight gain is considered. In this matter the research is conflicting, but suggestions are they all can cause weight gain only after a long treatments. Recommendations for it are you can report distress about the weight gain, and switch to another antidepressant like bupropion, nefazodone, or other SSRIs. Tricyclics antidepressant generally causes weight gain so many of time it is avoided.
  • Gastrointestinal side effects Nausea, and rarely diarrhea or vomiting are the side effects caused by some of the antidepressants. It is very common with SSRIs and venlafaxine (Effexor). This effect is seen very few times with bupropion and tricyclics. H2 blockers may sometimes be helpful in this matter. Recommendations for it is lower the dose, avoid taking with meals.
  • Headache All types of antidepressants may cause headache, but also many are helpful for treating headache problems.Tolerance sometimes develops Recommendations: Try NSAIDs short-term, but you may need to switch to a different antidepressant.
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