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Antidepressants for Sleep Problems

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Topic Overview

Antidepressant medicines are often prescribed for people who have insomnia. Best results are seen in people who also have depression.1 Doctors often prescribe low doses of certain antidepressants in an attempt to facilitate sleep, even though the medicines have not been well studied for insomnia.

Examples of the antidepressants that might be prescribed for insomnia are amitriptyline and trazodone.

Recommended Related to Sleep Disorders

Scared to Sleep

Every night, for the last 10 years, Traci Coulter has struggled to sleep. Minutes tick by, then hours. Coulter begins to fret about her to-do list the next day and all her responsibilities as a public relations executive. To make matters worse, she knows a garbage truck is coming by at 3 a.m. and will wake her up - a thought that only makes her more anxious. “It’s an ongoing cycle of not getting the rest that I need, and it causes such anxiety for me,” says Coulter, 38, who lives in New York City...

Read the Scared to Sleep article > >

The side effects of these medicines, which may include sexual dysfunction, weight gain, dry mouth and throat, racing pulse, confusion, and disturbed dreams, must be weighed against their potential benefits.

FDA advisories. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued:

  • A warning on the antidepressants Paxil and Paxil CR (paroxetine) and birth defects. One new study showed that women who took Paxil during their first 12 weeks of pregnancy had a slightly higher chance of having a baby with birth defects.
  • An advisory on antidepressant medicines and the risk of suicide. Talk to your doctor about these possible side effects and the warning signs of suicide.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 18, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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