Antidepressants And Other Medicines
Antidepressants can have an effect on many other medicines. If youre taking an antidepressant, tell your doctor about all other medicines you take, including over-the-counter medicines and herbal health products . He or she can let you know if your regular medicines may cause problems when combined with an antidepressant.
What Other Information Should I Know
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Before having any laboratory test , tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking escitalopram.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Was There A Difference In Antidepressant Use In The Past 30 Days By Race And Hispanic Origin And Sex
The percentage of antidepressant use in the past 30 days was highest among non-Hispanic white adults compared with non-Hispanic black , Hispanic , and non-Hispanic Asian adults . Use was also higher among non-Hispanic black and Hispanic adults compared with non-Hispanic Asian adults.
Among men, use was highest among non-Hispanic white compared with non-Hispanic black , Hispanic , and non-Hispanic Asian men. Use did not differ significantly among non-Hispanic black and Hispanic men, nor among non-Hispanic Asian and Hispanic men.
A similar pattern in antidepressant use by race and Hispanic origin was observed among women, although use was higher among Hispanic women than non-Hispanic Asian women . Use was highest among non-Hispanic white women .
The percentage of antidepressant use was higher among women than men for all race and Hispanic origin groups except among non-Hispanic Asian adults, where the difference did not reach significance.
Figure 2. Percentage of adults aged 18 and over who used antidepressant medication over past 30 days, by race and Hispanic origin and sex: United States, 20152018
You May Like: Mental Hospital For Anxiety And Depression
What Causes Depression Medications To Stop Working
Multiple factors can change the way your body responds to an antidepressant, including:
- Drug or alcohol use. Illicit drug use and alcohol can cause strong mood changes, which can make antidepressants ineffective.
- Pregnancy. Your body’s weight and blood volume increase when you’re pregnant. Talk to your doctor about taking antidepressants while pregnant, and about potentially adjusting your dosage to continue relieving symptoms.
- New stressors. A new stressful situation at home or work can result in a mood response for which the antidepressant can’t compensate.
- Other medications. Interactions between antidepressants and medications for other health conditions can affect how well an antidepressant works.
Most often, though, antidepressants stop working for what seems to be no reason. “There’s no good research that shows why a medication may stop working for someone,” says Nestadt. “I think it’s less an issue of building up tolerance and more likely constantly changing stressors and factors in the brain.”
You Show Symptoms Of Serotonin Syndrome
Although antidepressants are meant to help you feel better, in some cases an antidepressant may combine with other medications you are taking or foods you are eating and lead to serotonin syndrome, an uncommon condition involving an overabundance of serotonin in the body, the Cleveland Clinic states.
Symptoms to watch out for, Lim says, include fever, aches, shakes, sweats, fatigue, irritability, a bad headache, confusion, agitation, restlessness, dizziness, difficulty seeing or walking, muscle twitching, muscle tension, or jaw clenching.
Typically, serotonin syndrome happens within days or weeks of starting an antidepressant or after a dose increase, says Lim. The most common factors that affect your risk of serotonin syndrome, per the Cleveland Clinic, are:
- Too much of one medication that affects your serotonin levels
- Multiple medications that affect your serotonin levels at the same time
Recommended Reading: Treatment Programs For Anxiety And Depression
What Do Antidepressant Medications Do
Antidepressant medications increase the activity of chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain. Increasing the activity of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine seems to help lessen the symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, the brain is a very complex organ and the reasons why these drugs work are not yet fully understood.
We do know that these drugs help to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety in up to 70 per cent of people who try them. This rate is even higher when people who dont get relief with one type of antidepressant try a second type.
You Feel Energetic But Still Down
If you feel energetic after starting an antidepressant but havent shown any improvements in mood, it means that the medication is working, just not in the way its supposed to. Increased energy combined with depression can lead to risky behaviors, impulsivity, and an increased risk of suicide. If you experience these reactions, report them to your doctor right away.
You May Like: How To Beat Your Depression
Did Antidepressant Use In The Past 30 Days Vary By Level Of Education And Sex
Overall, the percentage of adults who took antidepressants in the past 30 days was lower among those with less than a high school or a high school education compared with those who attended college . This same pattern was observed among men, with the highest use among those with at least some college education . Among women, antidepressant use did not differ significantly by level of education.
Across all levels of education, the percentage of antidepressant use was higher among women than men.
Figure 3. Percentage of adults aged 18 and over who used antidepressant medication over past 30 days, by education level and sex: United States, 20152018
1Significantly lower than some college or more.2Significantly lower than women at the same education level.NOTES: GED is General Educational Development. Access data table for Figure 3pdf icon.SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 20152018.
Antidepressants Are Not Just For Depression
Antidepressants are a class of drug that includes selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and atypical antidepressants .
These drugs might be called antidepressants, but they also work to treat anxiety. Typically, higher doses are needed for anxiety than for depression.
Don’t Miss: Where To Go If You Have Depression
Should You Treat Your Depression With Medications
You might be asking your healthcare provider this question if you have been feeling low and your friends and family have mentioned this to you. Your provider might have mentioned medication if your mood interferes with work, family or socializing for more than two weeks. Some people with depression might even have legal troubles linked to outbursts.
Antidepressants For Children And Young People
Children and young people with moderate to severe depression should be offered a course of psychotherapy before antidepressants. This treatment should last at least 3 months.
In some cases, an SSRI called fluoxetine may be offered to young people aged 12 to 18. This should be offered in combination with psychotherapy.
Read Also: Stages Of Depression And Symptoms
You Dont Necessarily Have To Stop Taking Your Antidepressant If Youre Pregnant Or Breastfeeding
Some antidepressants, particularly SSRIs, are considered safe to take while pregnant and breastfeeding.
Women and their doctors must make a risk-benefit calculation, Dr. Cox says. While its best to be on the fewest medications possible during pregnancy, the risk of untreated symptoms of depression and anxiety may be greater than any risk from medication.
When moderate to severe, untreated symptoms can pose risk of serious harm to the mother and baby, Dr. Cox says. These symptoms deserve to be treated just like any other health condition that arises during a pregnancy.
How To Take Antidepressants
Antidepressants are usually taken every day. It can take 1 or even 2 months to see the full results. You may need to try different kinds or amounts to find the antidepressant that works best for you.
Your doctor will let you know how long to take your antidepressant. If this is the first time you have been treated for depression, you will probably continue to take this medicine for at least 6 months after you begin to feel better. If this is the second time youve been depressed, you might keep taking the medicine for at least a year. Depression that comes back a third time may require you to continue taking an antidepressant for a longer time.
You can get unwanted side effects if you stop taking your antidepressant suddenly. If you want to stop taking your medicine, talk to your doctor first. He or she can try to help you avoid these side effects.
Recommended Reading: Anti Depression Anti Anxiety Medicine
When To Increase Antidepressant Dosages
Antidepressants not working? Dont wait to speak to your doctor. If youve been taking an antidepressant for four weeks and either continue to feel side effects or havent shown any improvement, then its time to discuss your options with your physician.
You must not increase the doses of your antidepressant without consulting your doctor first. Taking higher doses than your body is used to can lead to an overdose, serotonin syndrome, and other possible complications. Additionally, if you forgot to take your antidepressant one day, do not double your dose the following day – just continue with your schedule as normal.
Its also important to avoid alcohol or taking other medications with your antidepressant unless you get the okay from your doctor. Many possible drug interactions could occur, so make sure to take your depression medication as directed.
Selective Serotonin Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitors
Both SSNRI and SSRI medications affect serotonin levels, but SSNRI drugs also impact the level of norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter that may affect mood. This type of medication is helpful for those who have extreme fatigue associated with depression, or who have had side effects or poor response to SSRI drugs.
You May Like: How To Live A Happy Life With Depression
You Feel Better Right Away But It Doesnt Last
Exactly how antidepressants work is still a mystery. The effects are thought to be related to changes in neurochemicals in your brain, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine changes that usually take 2 to 12 weeks to set in, with a peak at 6 to 8 weeks. So, if you feel different immediately after starting a depression treatment, it could be a placebo effect, says the board-certified psychiatrist Joseph Hullett, MD, the senior medical director of OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions in Minnesota.
Sometimes that placebo effect wears off, and the actual effect of the antidepressant kicks in. Other times, the placebo just wears off, and the intended effects of the antidepressant are never felt. In this second case, it isnt that the medication stopped working its that the medication just didnt work for you in the first place.
RELATED: 12 Surprising Facts About Depression
How Effectively Do Antidepressants Relieve The Symptoms
There are a lot of different medications for treating . But it’s difficult to predict how well a particular medication will help an individual. So doctors often first suggest taking a drug that they consider to be effective and relatively well tolerated. If it doesn’t help as much as expected, it’s possible to switch to a different medication. Sometimes a number of different drugs have to be tried before you find one that works.
Studies show that the benefit generally depends on the severity of the : The more severe the depression, the greater the benefits will be. In other words, antidepressants are effective against chronic, moderate and severe depression. They don’t help in mild depression.
The various antidepressants have been compared in many studies. Overall, the commonly used tricyclic antidepressants were found to be equally effective. Studies involving adults with moderate or severe have shown the following:
- Without antidepressants: About 20 to 40 out of 100 people who took a placebo noticed an improvement in their symptoms within six to eight weeks.
- With antidepressants: About 40 to 60 out of 100 people who took an antidepressant noticed an improvement in their symptoms within six to eight weeks.
In other words, antidepressants improved symptoms in about an extra 20 out of 100 people.
Antidepressants can also relieve long-term symptoms of chronic depressive disorder and chronic , and help make them go away completely.
Don’t Miss: Where To Go For Help With Depression
Medications For Depression: Which Is Best
There are many medications that can be used to treat mood disorders. But finding the right one can be a lengthy process, and the choice can be more complicated than you might imagine. Just because a particular drug worked for a friend doesn’t mean it will work for you. Psychiatrists and doctors who prescribe antidepressants choose a particular drug and dosage based on many factors, including the following:
To learn more strategies for battling depression, check out Understanding Depression, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
How Long Will You Have To Take Antidepressants
Usually, these drugs must be taken regularly for at least 4 to 8 weeks before their full benefit takes effect. You are monitored closely during this time to detect the development of side effects and to determine the effectiveness of treatment.
In order to prevent a relapse of depression, medicines are generally prescribed for 6 to 12 months after a first-time depression. When you and your provider determine that you are better, you should expect to continue the medication for at least 4 to 6 additional months. After this, your provider may gradually taper you off your medicine.
Also Check: Behavioral Strategies To Overcome Depression
How Antidepressants Work
It’s not known exactly how antidepressants work.
It’s thought they work by increasing levels of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. Certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, are linked to mood and emotion.
Neurotransmitters may also affect pain signals sent by nerves, which may explain why some antidepressants can help relieve long-term pain.
While antidepressants can treat the symptoms of depression, they do not always address its causes. This is why they’re usually used in combination with therapy to treat more severe depression or other mental health conditions.
Do I Need This Treatment
If you are distressed for more than two weeks by feelings of sadness, despair and hopelessness, or by excessive worry that is hard to control, see a doctor for an assessment of your symptoms and situation and to discuss treatment and support options. Early treatment can help to ensure treatment success.
Be sure your doctor knows if you have had times where you felt a reduced need for sleep in combination with an unusual amount of energy, or where your mood changed from feeling depressed to feeling unusually happy or irritable. Mood stabilizer medications may be more suited to your needs, either on their own or in combination with antidepressants. Antidepressants alone can cause some people to switch from depression into mania.
Medications are only one way of treating depression and anxiety. Talk therapies, such as interpersonal psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioural therapy, can be just as effective. Peer support, school and job counselling, and housing and employment supports can also help to deal with problems that may trigger or worsen depression or anxiety.
Also Check: Anxiety And Depression In Students
What To Do Next
If you believe that you may be experiencing symptoms of depression, whether they are related to a drug that you are taking or not, you should consult with your personal physician.
Do not stop taking your medication without your doctor’s permission. If you are experiencing severe depression or having thoughts of suicide, do not hesitate to seek immediate medical attention.
Every situation is different, so your doctor will look at your health history and symptoms in order to determine what steps to take next. In some cases, it may involve switching to a different medication or adjusting your dosage.
Your doctor will also try to determine if your depressive symptoms are linked to the new medication or some other cause. If there is an underlying depressive disorder, your doctor may recommend treatments such as antidepressants and psychotherapy.
If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
Antidepressants And Suicide Risk
There is a danger that, in some people, antidepressant treatment will cause an increase, rather than a decrease, in depression. In fact, the FDA requires that all depression medications in the U.S. include a warning label about the increased risk of suicide in children and young adults. The suicide risk is particularly great during the first month or two of treatment.
Anyone taking antidepressants should be closely watched for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Monitoring is especially important if this is the persons first time on depression medication or if the dose has recently been changed. If you spot the warning signs in yourself or a loved one, contact your doctor or therapist immediately.
Antidepressant suicide warning signs
- Extreme hyperactivity
- Other unusual changes in behavior
If you are concerned that a friend or family member is contemplating suicide, see Suicide Prevention.
Read Also: What Is The Best Way To Overcome Depression
Being Wary Of The Placebo Affect
Placebos and antidepressants have an odd relationship. A study that has become widely controversial and angered many medical professionals suggested that in cases of mild depression, placebos were just as effective as small doses of antidepressants. While the methodology of the study itself is impacted by which depressive people actually showed up to be studied and doctors have argued that telling people to drop their meds are dangerous it has highlighted just how much our moods seems to depend on perception.
I fundamentally believe in the biochemical aspect of my depression I see my depression as a relations between bad serotonin levels and Things In My Psyche Making Me Sad. But I was also wary. Was an uptick in mood visible just because I wanted so badly to feel it? And did it even matter, as long as I was feeling happy again? Only a longer period on the increased dose will tell.