The medicines to treat depression are known as antidepressants. They may not be a definitive cure for it but they are extremely helpful to control the symptoms. There are a lot of antidepressants available with different mechanisms of actions. If one medicine is not adequate to control your symptoms, or you experience side effects, and are wondering which antidepressant is right for you, do not worry, as another one can be tried which may suit you better.
Which Antidepressant Is Right For Me?
Unfortunately there is not a formula which can choose the right and most effective antidepressant for someone, a medicine well tolerated and highly effective for one person may not work wonders for another. The best thing is to try another medicine if your symptoms are not well controlled by the current antidepressants.
The latest and new antidepressants are superior to the ones used in past and are associated with less side effects. If there is a family history of depression, the same medicines which helped your other family members can be effective for you.
First Choice Antidepressants
The first choice is mostly SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re uptake Inhibitors) these are generally well tolerated and have very few undesirable side effects. They can be given in combination of other drugs. The most commonly used are:
- Citalopram (Brand name Celexa)
- Fluoxetine (Brand name Prozac)
- Sertraline (Brand name Zoloft)
- Bupropion (Brand name Wellbutrin)
- Mirtazapine (Brand name Remeron)
- Escitalopram (Brand name, Lexapro, Cipralex)
- Paroxetine (Brand name Paxil)
- Venlafaxine (Brand name Effexor)
- Fluvoxamine (Brand name Luvox)
Paroxetine (Paxil) and Venlafaxine (Effexor) are extremely effective but most likely to cause withdrawal symptoms while Bupronoin (wellburtin) is prescribed in combination with other medications to reduce the side effects (especially loss of libido and sexual dysfunction).
Second Choice Antidepressants
If the first choice does not produce adequate results these second choice antidepressants are prescribed. These belong to the group Tricyclic Antidepressants also known as TCAs. They are relatively old and are associated with many side effects, however, they can be very effective in some people and they do tolerate them well. Some of these are:
- Amitriptyline (Brand name, Elavil, Levate)
- Nortriptyline (Brand name, Aventyl)
- Clomipramine (Brand name, Anafranil)
- Doxepin (Brand name, Sinequan, Tridapin)
- Desipramine (Brand name, Norpramin)
- Imipramine (Brand name, Tofranil, Impril)
- Protriptyline (Brand name, Triptil)
- Trimipramine (Brand name, Surmontil)
Tips to Choose the Right Antidepressants for You
Which antidepressant is right for me? You ask. To choose the most effective antidepressant you need to consider the following:
1. Review All Your Symptoms
Depression can have many symptoms and every individual experiences a different set of them. To help your physician choose the most effective antidepressant for you, you need to very carefully describe all the symptoms you are experiencing and which ones are troubling you the most. Antidepressants are symptoms specific and some help to reduce emotional symptoms while others are more effective to deal with behavioral aspects.
2. Take Your Family History into Account
If you are wondering “which antidepressant is right for me” and you have a family history of depression, it is very likely that the medicine most effective for you is the same which worked for your sister or mother or any close relative.
3. Get Information about Side Effects
Antidepressants are associated with a lot of side effects. Discuss with your physician regarding them and do let them know which side effects you cannot tolerate.
4. Know about Any Underlying Medical Condition
If you have any other medical condition, like diabetes, hypertension or anxiety, and you are taking some regular medication, it is very important that your antidepressants do not interact with them. Your doctor can decide which antidepressant is best suited for you keeping in mind your medical history.
5. Have Patience
Antidepressants do not start working immediately. You need to have a very clear understanding that it can take two to four weeks for them to start working and some side effects also get better with time. If you have just started them, just hold on for some time and after a couple of weeks you might be surprised by the results.
6. Talk to Your Doctor
Be frank and open and tell them what you are experiencing. They might change your medicine or add another one depending on how you are responding. Always take the antidepressants regularly and do not stop them abruptly without discussing with your physician.
You might have had any particular antidepressant in the past that did not work for you or there can be some doubts in your mind regarding a particular medication, do not hesitate to discuss them with your physician when they prescribe antidepressants.
7. Be Prepared for Trial and Error
There is no single antidepressant or a set combination of medication which is suitable for everyone. You might get better with the first medication prescribed to you or may need another one added or a completely different one prescribed after a few weeks. This is all part of finding the right antidepressant that works best for you.
Can You Get Addicted to Antidepressants?
The two biggest worries of anyone with depression are “Which antidepressant is right for me?” and “Is there a chance that I will get addicted to them?” Antidepressants are not addictive like cocaine or alcohol and you do not get addicted to them. They do not give you a high and there are no negative symptoms on discontinuation.
Since antidepressants maintain the chemical balance of the brain, there is a chance that you might experience withdrawal symptoms if they are discontinued abruptly. The symptoms of depression can also return after stopping them. This recurrence of symptoms means that you need medication for some more time as your depression is still not fully treated.