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Depression--Medicines To Help You

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Do you feel depressed? Do not feel ashamed. Women are more likely than men to feel depressed. About 1 woman in 5 has depression in the U.S.

There is hope.

Depression can be treated with medicine or counseling. Sometimes both are used. Talk to your doctor to find out what will work best for you.

Use this guide to help you talk to your doctor or pharmacist about medicines called antidepressants (an-tee-de-press-ants) that can help to treat depression. Ask your doctor to tell you about all of the risks of taking the different medicines. This guide only talks about some of the risks.

"The Baby Blues"

Having a baby can be a joyful time. However, some women cry a lot and feel sad right after they have a baby. This is called "the baby blues". This feeling usually goes away after about two weeks.

If you still feel sad after two weeks, go to your doctor or clinic. You may be depressed. This type of depression is called postpartum depression because it starts after a woman has a baby. A woman can have this kind of depression up to one year after she has a baby.

Depression and Your Children

Like adults, kids can also feel depressed. You should watch your children for signs of depression. Talk to your children if you notice changes in their behavior. Talk to your doctor or nurse if you are still concerned.

Children and teens can take medicines for depression.Prozac (Fluoxetine) is the only FDA-approved antidepressant for children and teens with depression. Talk to your doctor about important warnings for children and teens who take medicines for depression.


Important Warnings about Medicines for Depression

Children and teens who take antidepressants may be more likely to try to hurt or kill themselves.

Call 911 if the person:

  • Tries to hurt or kill himself/herself.
  • Talks about specific ways they plan to hurt or kill himself/ herself.
  • Talks about or tries to harm others.

Call your doctor right away if the person shows any of these signs:

  • Talks about dying or suicide
  • Starts acting very differently
  • Is abnormally active
  • Has severe problems sleeping
  • Becomes violent or abnormally angry
  • Becomes agitated or can't sit still

Medicines for Depression

There are many different kinds of medicine for depression.

Read the information below to find out some general facts about the different kinds of medicine for depression.Tell your doctor about any medicines that you are taking. Do not forget about cold medicines and herbs like St. John's Wort. Some medicines will make you very sick if you take them while you are taking antidepressants.

Like any drug, depression medicines may cause some side effects. Do not stop taking your medicines without first talking to your doctor. Tell your doctor about any problems you are having. Your doctor will help you find the medicine that is best for you.


Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Brand Name Generic Name
Celexa Citalopram
Lexapro Escitalopram
Paxil Paroxetine
Pexeva Paroxetine
Prozac Fluoxetine
Zoloft Sertraline

Warnings

  • Do not take with certain other medicines:
    • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
    • Thioridazine
    • Orap
  • Women should talk to their doctors about the risks of taking Paroxetine during pregnancy

Common Side Effects

  • Nausea
  • Tremor (Shaking)
  • Nervousness
  • Problems Sleeping
  • Sexual Problems

Less Common but Serious Side Effects

  • Seizures
  • Abnormal Bleeding
  • Withdrawal Symptoms

Mothers who take these drugs late in pregnancy may have babies with feeding problems and irritability.

For more information about the risks and side effects for each drug, check Drugs@FDA.


Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

Brand Name Generic Name
Emsam (Skin Patch) Selegiline
Marplan Isocarboxzaid
Nardil Parnate
Phenelzine Tranylcypromine

Warnings

  • Do not take MAOIs if you are also taking other medicines for depression or central nervous system stimulants or depressants.
  • Do not eat certain foods like cheese, wine, protein foods that have been aged or any food containing tyramine.
  • Do not take cold pills or decongestants

Common Side Effects

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness
  • Problems Sleeping
  • Drowsiness

Less Common but Serious Side Effects

  • Headache
  • Stroke
  • Fainting
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Blood Pressure Changes

For more information about the risks and side effects for each drug, check Drugs@FDA.


Tricyclic Antidepressants

Brand Name Generic Name
  Amitriptyline
  Amoxapine
Norpramin Desipramine
  Doxepin
Tofranil Imipramine
Pamelor Nortriptyline
Vivactil Protriptyline
Surmontil Trimipramine

Warnings

  • Do not take tricyclic antidepressants if you are also taking MAO Inhibitors (MAOIs).
  • Do not take tricyclic antidepressants if you have narrow-angle glaucoma.

Common Side Effects

  • Dry Mouth Constipation
  • Blurred Vision Drowsiness
  • Low Blood Pressure

Less Common but Serious Side Effects

  • Problems Urinating
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Life-Threatening Irregular Heartbeat

For more information about the risks and side effects for each drug, check Drugs@FDA.


Atypical Antidepressants

Brand Name Generic Name
  Maprotiline

Warnings

  • Do not take if you have narrow-angle glaucoma or seizures.
  • Be careful if you have liver or cardiovascular disease.
  • Use caution if you drink alcohol or take barbiturates while taking this medicine.

Common Side Effects

  • Blurred Vision
  • Feeling Dizzy or Lightheaded
  • Drowsiness
  • Feeling Tired or Weak
  • Dry Mouth
  • Headache

Less Common but Serious Side Effects

  • Confusion
  • Problems Urinating
  • Fainting

Atypical Antidepressants

Brand Name Generic Name
  Trazodone

Warnings

  • Do not take Trazodone if you are also taking MAO Inhibitors (MAOIs).
  • Use caution if you drink alcohol or take barbiturates while taking this medicine.
  • Be careful if you have cardiovascular disease.

Common Side Effects

  • Dry Mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred Vision
  • Feeling Drowsy or Sleepy

Less Common but Serious Side Effects

  • Painful Erection that lasts a long time
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Fainting

Atypical Antidepressants

Brand Name Generic Name
  Nefazodone

Warnings

  • Do not take Nefazodone if you are also taking MAO Inhibitors, Triazolam, or Alprazolam.
  • Use caution if you drink alcohol while taking this medicine.

Common Side Effects

  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Dry Mouth
  • Feeling Drowsy or Sleepy

Less Common but Serious Side Effects

  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Liver Failure

Atypical Antidepressants

Brand Name Generic Name
Remeron Mirtazapine

Warnings

  • Do not take with MAO Inhibitors (MAOIs).

Common Side Effects

  • Feeling Drowsy or Sleepy
  • Weight Gain
  • Dizziness

Less Common but Serious Side Effects

  • Agranulocytosis (drop in white blood cells)
  • Increase in Cholesterol
  • Increase in Liver Enzymes

Atypical Antidepressants


Brand Name Generic Name
Wellbutrin Bupropion

Warnings

  • Use caution if you drink alcohol while taking this medicine.
  • Use caution if you take Levodopa.
  • Use caution if you have seizures or take medicines that raise your chance of having a seizure.

Common Side Effects

  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurred vision

Less Common but Serious Side Effects

  • Seizures

Atypical Antidepressants

Brand Name Generic Name
Effexor Venlafaxine

Warnings

  • Do not take with MAO Inhibitors (MAOIs).
  • Use with care if you have heart disease, liver disease, kidney problems, or seizures.

Common Side Effects

  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling Nervous or Anxious
  • Problems Sleeping
  • Feeling Drowsy

Less Common but Serious Side Effects

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Seizures
  • Mothers who take these drugs late in pregnancy may have babies with feeding problems and irritability.

For more information about the risks and side effects for each drug, check Drugs@FDA.


Selective Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRI)


Brand Name Generic Name
Cymbalta Duloxetine
   

Warnings

  • Do not take with MAO Inhibitors (MAOIs).
  • Do not take if you have narrow-angle glaucoma.
  • Do not use with Fluvoxamine.
  • Use with care if you have liver or kidney problems.

Common Side Effects

  • Nausea
  • Dry Mouth
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling Drowsy

Less Common but Serious Side Effects

  • Liver Toxicity
  • Increase in Blood Pressure

Selective Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRI)

Brand Name Generic Name
Pristiq Desvenlafaxine

Warnings

  • Do not take Pristiq if you have taken a MAOI medicine within the last 14 days.
  • Tell your doctor if you have any health problems especially seizures, mania, bipolar disorder, and heart, liver or kidney problems.

Common Side Effects

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dry Mouth
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling Sleepy or Tired
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Sexual Problems
  • Do not Feel Like Eating

Less Common but Serious Side Effects

  • New or Worsened High Blood Pressure
  • Abnormal Bleeding or Bruising
  • Glaucoma
  • High Cholesterol
  • Seizures
  • Low Sodium in your Blood
  • Ask your doctor about Serotonin Syndrome

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • What are the side effects?
  • What other prescription drugs should I avoid while taking my medicines?
  • What foods, herbs (like St. John's Wort), or over-the-counter medicines should I avoid?
  • When should I take each drug? How many times per day do I take each drug?
  • Can I take my medicines if I am pregnant or nursing?

To Learn More about Depression

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Office of Women's Health

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Web: www.nimh.nih.gov
Phone: 1-866-615-6464
TTY: 1-866-415-8051


This information reflects FDA's current analysis of data available to FDA concerning these products. FDA intends to update this sheet when additional information or analyses become available.

For the most recent information about each drug, check Drugs@FDA

March 2008

Contact FDA

301-796-9440
Fax:301-847-8604
Food and Drug Administration Office of Women's Health

10903 New Hampshire Avenue

WO32-2333

Silver Spring, MD 20993

Page Last Updated: 12/18/2014
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