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Depression Medicines

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Not only does it take time to get an accurate depression diagnosis, finding the right medication to treat depression can be a complicated, delicate process. Someone may have a serious medical problem, such as heart disease or liver or kidney disease, that could make some antidepressants unsafe. The antidepressant could be ineffective for you or the dose inadequate; there may not have been enough time to see an effect, or the side effects could be too bothersome -- leading to a failure of treatment.

As you approach taking antidepressants to treat depression, it is important to keep these points in mind:

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  1. Only about 30% of people with depression go into full remission after taking their first course of antidepressants. That’s according to a 2006 study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Those who got better were more likely to be taking slightly higher doses for longer periods.
  2. Some antidepressants work better for certain individuals than others. It's not uncommon to try different depression medicines during treatment.
  3. Some people need more than one medicine for depression treatment.
  4. Antidepressants carry a boxed warning about increased risk compared to placebo for suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults 18-24 years old.

Working with your doctor, you can weigh the risks and benefits of treatment and optimize the use of medication that best relieves your symptoms.

What is an antidepressant?

Antidepressants, sometimes in combination with psychotherapy, are often the first treatment people get for depression. If one antidepressant doesn't work well, you might try another drug of the same class or a different class of depression medicines altogether. Your doctor might also try changing the dose. In some cases, your doctor might recommend taking more than one medication for your depression.

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