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Tempted to Quit Antidepressants?

Find out what to do -- and why -- before giving up on an antidepressant.

It Takes Teamwork

Communicating with your doctor is key when you're taking antidepressants. Here are seven steps you can take to build that partnership:

  • Tell your doctor if you have ever taken antidepressants before.
  • Get written instructions from your doctor on how to take the medicine. Studies have shown that patients don't always correctly recall their doctor's instructions.
  • Schedule regular doctor visits, and make sure you keep them.  
  • Ask your doctor what side effects you can expect, and for how long.
  • Tell your doctor about any side effects, and ask about ways to cope with them.
  • Call your doctor if you are thinking about quitting the drug for any reason, even if it's because you feel better.  
  • If you don't see any improvement after two weeks on an antidepressant, tell your doctor.

You may need to try more than one type of antidepressant medication before you find the right fit. But that may not always be the case.

Researchers at Emory University are conducting a study to see if they can predict how patients will respond to depression treatments, so that in the future, doctors will be better able to choose the best medicine for a given patient.

But the bottom line remains the same: You have to stick with therapy in order to see a benefit, and having a good relationship with your doctor can help.

"Writing the prescription is the easy, or boring, part. Monitoring the patient's perceptions, the relationship, is the key to good outcomes," Kennedy says.

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Reviewed on February 01, 2012

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