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Side Effects of Antidepressants

By Eileen Bailey

Antidepressants are often prescribed to help patients with anxiety. As with all medications, antidepressants have certain side effects people should be aware of. For most people, these side effects are mild and short-lived. For others, however, side effects are serious enough that medication is not an option. Side effects should be taken into consideration when determining what treatment will be best for you. In addition, different antidepressants cause different side effects.

If you should have questions or concerns about side effects that you are experiencing, you should contact your physician. In addition, if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts after beginning antidepressant medication or have changed your dosage, you should immediately contact your physician. All antidepressant medications have a risk of causing an increase in suicidal thoughts, agitation, aggression and impulsiveness.

Side Effects of Tricyclic Antidepressants

•    Dry Mouth
•    Constipation
•    Difficulty urinating
•    Sexual Problems
•    Blurred Vision
•    Dizziness
•    Drowsiness
•    Elevated heart rate or blood pressure
•    Impaired thinking


Side Effects of SSRIs

•    Sexual problems
•    Headache
•    Nausea
•    Insomnia
•    Nervousness or agitation
•    Weight gain or weight loss
•    Sweating
•    Fatigue

•    Diarrhea or constipation

Side Effects of SNRIs

•    Nausea
•    Headache
•    Insomnia
•    Tiredness
•    Nervousness
•    Loss of appetite
•    Dry mouth
•    Constipation
•    Sexual Problems
•    Increased cholesterol
•    Elevated heart rate
•    Blurred Vision

Side Effects of MAOIs

•    Weakness
•    Headache
•    Dizziness
•    Insomnia
•    Weight gain
•    Sexual problems
•    Sexual problems

MAOIs also have dangerous interactions with other antidepressant medications, certain over the counter medications and certain foods and drinks. Foods and drinks containing tyramine can cause severe interactions and increase the chance of heart attack or stroke.

Some of the food and drink that must be avoided include:

•    Beer
•    Red Wine
•    Cheeses: cheddar, American, bleu, brie, Parmesan, mozzarella
•    Beef and chicken livers
•    Cured meat
•    Game meat
•    Caviar
•    Dried fish

If you are going to stop taking an MAOI medication and begin a new antidepressant medication, you will need to stop taking the MAOI for a period of time before beginning a different medication to give your body time to clear all traces of the MAOI medication first.

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