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What should I know about antidepressants before I take them?

Dr. Darria Gillespie, MD
Emergency Medicine Specialist

If you take an SRI, you should avoid alcohol.

If you have had seizures, an SRI may not be a good option for you.

If you have a history of manic episodes, an SRI may not be a good option for you.

If you have cardiovascular disease or have recently had a heart attack, an SRI may not be a good option for you.

Duloxetine and fluoxetine can worsen blood sugar control and may not  be right for those with diabetes.

If you have angle-closure glaucoma, an SRI may not be a good option for you.

If you have hypertension, be aware that SRIs can increase blood pressure and heart rate and may not be right for you.

If your kidney function is impaired, an SRI may not be a good option for you. If your kidney function is severely impaired, you should not take duloxetine.

If your liver function is impaired, an SRI may not be a good option for you.

You should not take fluoxetine, paroxetine, or venlafaxine if you are breastfeeding. Other SRIs are passed into breast milk and may not be good options for you.

If you have pain or difficulty urinating, milnacipran may not be a good option for you.

Dr. John Preston, PsyD
Psychology Specialist

There are many different types of antidepressants on the market. If you decide to use prescription medication, it’s important that you work with your medical provider to find the right medication, or combination of medications, and the right dosage for yourself. Report any symptoms or troubling side effects in detail to your medical provider, and be aware that most antidepressants can take between two to six weeks to work. Also bear in mind that about 25 percent of those who ultimately have a good response to antidepressants require eight to ten weeks of treatment before their symptoms go away. If you don’t immediately feel better, be sure that you’ve given the medication enough time to have an effect. It’s also important to never stop taking your medications suddenly, as this may cause withdrawal symptoms or trigger the return of a depressive episode.

Depression 101: A Practical Guide to Treatments, Self-Help Strategies, and Preventing Relapse

More About this Book

Depression 101: A Practical Guide to Treatments, Self-Help Strategies, and Preventing Relapse

When you have depression, it can feel like there's no way out. To begin changing the way you feel, you'll need an arsenal of proven techniques for lifting your mood and preventing relapse. The...

Before starting an antidepressant you should ask your prescribing doctor about potential side effects, effectiveness, time to follow up, and restrictions while on antidepressants.

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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.