In the case of diagnosis of mental disorders, doctors prescribe drugs called antidepressants. This review will allow learning more about antidepressants and side effects they cause.
Mechanism of antidepressants action is aimed at the normalization of metabolism in the central nervous system (CNS), particularly in the brain. Antidepressants affect the level of biologically active chemical substances (neurotransmitters) that transmit signals from one nerve cell to another.
The brain is the main organ of the central nervous system, so side effects of antidepressants are well studied. Clinical studies of antidepressants revealed that they regulate the level of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, thus creating the possibility for psychotherapy and the patient’s recovery.
It is important to know that antidepressants do not immediately begin to work. It may take 2-3 weeks before the positive effect will be achieved. Herewith, side effects of antidepressants may occur after the intake of one pill.
People taking antidepressants should not be disappointed if there is no effect at the beginning of treatment. After 2-3 weeks of using antidepressants, symptoms of mental disorders should be reduced. If this does not happen, inform the attending psychiatrist.
Just as any other medications, antidepressants may cause adverse reactions. Generally, they appear in the early treatment of disease and decrease over time or even disappear. If not, one of the methods of reducing side effects of antidepressants can be used.
The duration and severity of side effects of antidepressants depend on the type of used medication. First generation antidepressants are characterized by nonselective action on the metabolism in the CNS. Their use is often accompanied with the development of a plurality of negative reactions.
Nevertheless, the first generation antidepressants have a powerful psychotropic activity. However, a large number of side effects and reactions arising from the interaction with other medications has led to the need to create the second-generation antidepressants, and subsequently, the third generation antidepressants.
What side effects can cause antidepressants?
Most of side effects of antidepressants is related to the interference in the metabolism and neurotransmitters function. This interference is carried out by means of several mechanisms: inhibition of monoamine oxidase (MAO), the effect on the monoamines reuptake (dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin) and increase or stimulation of neurotransmitters release.
High doses and prolonged use of tricyclic antidepressants lead to the occurrence of cardiotoxic effects. Side effects of tricyclic antidepressants include arrhythmia, tachycardia, and decrease in the contractile activity of the myocardium.
During the use of tricyclic antidepressants, a person may experience allergic skin reactions, jaundice, tremors, convulsions, headache, euphoria and sexual dysfunction (especially in elderly men).
Antidepressants of MAO inhibitors group can also cause cardiovascular side effects. The risk of such side effects is increased when consuming foods rich in tyramine (bananas, chicken liver, smoked food, cheese and beer).
Other side effects of antidepressants of this type are a violation of sleep quality and duration, euphoria, dry mouth, hallucinations and other mental disorders. Less common side effects of antidepressants are dizziness, headache, anxiety, worry and tremor of the hands.
Medications from the group of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have poorly expressed side effects that are mainly related to serotonergic hyperactivity. Common side effects of antidepressants (SSRIs) are various disorders of gastrointestinal tract. Fatigue, poor coordination of movements and weight gain can also occur.
Some adverse reactions are severe and pose a real danger to health. Young people and adolescents easier tolerate side effects of antidepressants. Women during pregnancy can take antidepressants only as a last resort and under the doctor’s supervision.
Why is it necessary to continue taking antidepressants even if they cause side effects?
Most antidepressant drugs cause insignificant negative reactions that often disappear in the first weeks of use. If to continue the treatment, depression symptoms will decrease and side effects will disappear over time.
Generally, the positive effect of the treatment exceeds the negative influence of mild or moderate side effects. If side effects of antidepressants continue to cause discomfort, consult the doctor. Change in the dose or type of antidepressant can reduce the risks of side effects.