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Coping With Side Effects of Antidepressants

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What to Do About Antidepressant Side Effects

With any medication, you have to weigh the benefits with the side effects. You and your doctor should work together to figure out the right balance. Some side effects may not bother you. Others may be so severe that you will have to stop taking the medicine or consider adding an additional medicine that might help counteract the side effect of the antidepressant.

Keep in mind that many side effects might be worse when you first start a medicine or when you increase the dose. They may get better as your body adjusts. So if your side effects are mild, your doctor may want you to stick with your depression medicine to see if the side effects go away on their own.

Here are some tips for dealing with minor side effects of antidepressant medication.

  • If your medicine upsets your stomach, ask your doctor if you should take it with a meal or if the risk may be less with a brand rather than a generic form of a drug.
  • If your depression medicine makes you sleepy during the day or keeps you awake at night, ask your doctor what time of day you should take it. By taking your medicine first thing in the morning or right before bed, you might diminish some of the unwanted effects.
  • Don't take depression medicine with alcohol. Alcohol can affect how well the medicine works, cause sedation, and possibly worsen depression.

Don't stop taking your medication on your own if you don't like the side effects. Stopping your medicine suddenly can make your symptoms get worse and cause a relapse of your depression.

Instead, talk with your doctor about what to do. Trying your medication at a lower dose might still give you benefits while reducing side effects. Or you could try a new one altogether. There are many effective drugs to choose from.

If your doctor doesn't take your side effects seriously at first, be more clear about needing a plan to address them.

Whatever you do, don't ignore side effects. And don't just accept them either. Work with your doctor to resolve them so you have a better chance of recovery from your depression.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on February 08, 2014
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