Drugs Prescribed for Bipolar: Remeron / Mirtazapine
Remeron, better known by its generic name mirtazapine, is an antidepressant not related to other medications prescribed for depression. It is sometimes prescribed for people who have not experienced relief from depression with drugs like Prozac or amitriptyline.
Mirtazapine can be powerfully sedating, so it should only be taken at bedtime. The drowsiness could, for example, affect your ability to drive safely and, if you’re unsteady on your feet, could lead to falls. It’s important not to take any other medications that can also cause drowsiness or sleepiness without careful consultation with your doctor. Alcohol should be avoided, along with certain types of anti-anxiety medications.
It’s essential to find out if you’re one of the people who don’t get drowsy from mirtazapine before taking it at any other time of day, and then to avoid alcohol and other drugs that could contribute to drowsiness.
In trials, about 20% of people taking mirtazapine reported increased appetite. In addition, 7.5% gained substantial weight - the equivalent of 10.5 pounds or more for a 150-pound person.
Constipation is another common side effect. If you get rash, hives or swelling; have breathing problems; vomiting, confusion or suicidal thoughts; or unusual bleeding, bruising, tiredness or weakness, contact your doctor as soon as you can.
If you have fever, sore throat, mouth sores and/or several flu-like symptoms, you may be developing a blood condition that prevents your body from fighting infections properly. This condition, agranulocytosis, is a rare but serious side effect of Remeron.
Disclaimer: This is not intended to be all-inclusive or to replace information provided by your doctor or with the prescription from the manufacturer.
Marcia wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Mental Disorders.