Antidepressant Medicines for the Treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Antidepressant medicines effectively treat episodes of
depression in people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). They can be used
alone or along with light therapy. Antidepressants used to
treat people with seasonal affective disorder include:
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
Fluoxetine (such as Prozac)
Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin XL, or
SSRIs usually are the first type of medicine given to
treat SAD. SSRIs often have less serious side effects that are more easily
tolerated. You may start to feel better within 1 to 3 weeks of taking an SSRI.
But it can take as many as 6 to 8 weeks to see more improvement. If you have
questions or concerns about your medicines, or if you do not notice any
improvement by 3 weeks, talk to your doctor. All antidepressant medicines are
started at low doses and increased gradually. When stopped, they should be
decreased gradually to avoid side effects. General side effects of
antidepressant medicines can include:
Nausea, loss of appetite, or
Anxiety or nervousness.
Loss of sexual desire or
Bupropion can cause dry mouth. Bupropion should not be taken
if you have seizures, severe problems with eating, or an
eating disorder, because it can cause seizures.
Women who take an SSRI during pregnancy have a slightly higher chance of having a baby with birth defects. But not treating depression can also cause problems during pregnancy and birth. If you are pregnant, you and your doctor must weigh the risks of taking an SSRI against the risks of not treating depression.
For more information, see the topic Depression or see Drug Reference.
(Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
FDA Advisory. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
has issued an
advisory on antidepressant medicines and the risk of
suicide. The FDA does not recommend that people stop using these medicines.
Instead, a person taking antidepressants should be watched for
warning signs of suicide. This is especially important
at the beginning of treatment or when the doses are changed.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Alfred Lewy, MD, PhD - Psychiatry
July 7, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
July 07, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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