Medications

Medications are not always indicated for the treatment of depression and depend, in part, on patient choice and severity of depression as well. If you and your provider decide that medication is needed to treat your depression it is important for you to do your part in achieving success.
 
  • Take your depression medication exactly as prescribed.
  • Do not stop any depression medication unless directed to do so by your provider. When some depression medications are discontinued, abruptly worsening depression, anxiety and flu-like symptoms can occur. These are not life-threatening but can be quite uncomfortable if they occur. This is more likely with medications that have a shorter half-life like Paxil and Effexor but can happen with others as well.

Medications are not always indicated for the treatment of depression and depend, in part, on patient choice and severity of depression as well. If you and your provider decide that medication is needed to treat your depression it is important for you to do your part in achieving success.

  • Take your depression medication exactly as prescribed.
  • Do not stop any depression medication unless directed to do so by your provider. When some depression medications are discontinued, abruptly worsening depression, anxiety and flu-like symptoms can occur. These are not life-threatening but can be quite uncomfortable if they occur. This is more likely with medications that have a shorter half-life like Paxil and Effexor but can happen with others as well.
  • Make sure to have a good system for keeping track of when you require a refill. Give your provider or pharmacy at least a week lead time for refills.
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  • Do not share your depression medications with anyone and do not take others’ medications either.
  • Make sure to let your provider know about anything you take even if you don’t think it is significant. This includes all over the counter medications, herbal medications, vitamin supplements, sleep aids, energy drinks, liquids, powders, etc. These may interact with medications you are already taking or may interfere with the treatment of your depression. Read the labels! Watch for caffeine, etc. For instance, some forms of Excedrin have caffeine in them. Also watch for “PM” preparations. This “PM” ingredient is usually Benadryl (generic diphenhydramine) which can cause drowsiness in some. Others, though, may feel wired. If diphenhydramine is helpful for occasional sleep problems and you don’t have a headache or aches and pains, buy just the generic diphenhydramine.
  • All medications have possible side effects, including Tylenol and ibuprofen. If side effects occur they can range in severity. It is usually very difficult to predict which (if any) side effects will occur in what person. Side effects are usually mild and will tend to go way as you continue to take the medication. Try to be patient, but if the side effects are not tolerable, call your provider.
  • As always, be informed regarding depression medications and your illnesses. Ask questions and empower yourself!

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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