What medications interact with SSRI antidepressants?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
About 27 million Americans take SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants. Most people who take these drugs are aware that they should avoid drinking alcohol since it can lessen the effects of the medication. However, there are prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) meds and supplements that can also dangerously interact with your SSRI antidepressant.

RX Interaction: Prescription Pain Medication

Serotonin controls more than just your mood; it also affects your heart, breathing and muscles. When RX pain meds interact with SSRIs, a deadly reaction called serotonin syndrome can occur. Wide-ranging symptoms include delirium, restlessness, euphoria, shivering, diarrhea, etc. Severe serotonin syndrome can be fatal if not treated in a timely manner. What's more, 85% of physicians are unaware of serotonin syndrome as a clinical diagnosis, so it's very important that you be aware of it if you're taking this category of medication.

OTC Interaction: OTC Antihistamines

When SSRI antidepressants are combined with OTC antihistamines, you can experience prolonged and intensified side effects such as drowsiness. This kind of excess fatigue could result in fatal mishaps such as falling asleep while driving.

Supplement Interaction: St. John's Wort

St. John's Wort, an over-the-counter herbal remedy used to treat depression, can also lead to serotonin syndrome when combined with SSRI medication.
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