SSRIs: Uses, Side-Effects, and Cessation

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SSRIs: Uses, Side-Effects, and Cessation

During times of intense stress, such as when a person feels threatened, norepinephrine naturally increases. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any unauthorized or illegal use, copying or dissemination will be prosecuted. Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions. Psychologist Alexander Bingham discusses nonpharmaceutical treatments for depression. 2006 A multidistrict litigation consolidated in the Central District of California related to Paxil withdrawal symptoms settled for $78.7 million.

  • In WikidataSelective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are a class of drugs that are typically used as antidepressants in the treatment of major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, and other psychological conditions.
  • Uncommon, rare, and unpredictable drug-related adverse effects may not have emerged in clinical trials and may not be included in the PDR until the drug has been available for several years.
  • This class of drugs is used to treat depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
  • If you stop taking your selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor too abruptly, it can cause you to experience discontinuation syndrome, or withdrawal symptoms.

Inhibitory neurotransmitters, by contrast, weaken or slow nerve signals. Both SSRIs and SNRIs act on neurotransmitters, which are chemicals in the brain that help carry nerve signals between neurons. If an SSRI works, patients may have a tendency to stop taking it prematurely.

Although all overcoming alcohol addiction have the same mechanism of action — increasing serotonin levels in the brain — all SSRIs are not the same. The use of antidepressants increased nearly 400 percent between 1988 and 2008. As of 2022, SSRIs are the most common class of antidepressants in the U.S. and are believed to be safer and generally cause fewer side effects than other antidepressants. Talk to your doctor about how best to treat the anxiety symptoms you are experiencing. Some studies have shown that when pregnant women take antidepressants like specific SSRIs, the medication can harm fetal development. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about the costs and benefits of being on an SSRI and whether the medication is the best option for you.

How Do SSRIs Work?

It’s difficult to pinpoint the effectiveness of SSRIs because each individual and case is unique. Doctors may end up prescribing a number of different SSRIs and dosage options before a patient finds one that works. In general, four signs of alcohol poisoning the effectiveness is usually tied to the severity of the depression or anxiety disorder. has provided reliable, trusted information about medications, medical devices and general health since 2008.

ssri drugs

SSRIs can improve the symptoms of depression, but they can also cause serious side effects. SSRIs are considered second-generation antidepressants and are often prescribed to treat depression before other types of antidepressants, including serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants . In 1988, the first SSRI, fluoxetine, was introduced in the United States. The adverse effect profile of fluoxetine was far superior to that of any other available antidepressant because of its selectivity for serotonin receptors.


Side effects of antidepressants can be predicted by receptor selectivity and site of action. The author explores the reasons for the different profiles and discusses adverse effects, especially sexual dysfunction, weight gain, and sleep disturbance, the most troubling adverse events seen during long-term SSRI therapy. The informed management of these side effects by primary care practitioners supports successful treatment of depression. Researchers found that some birth defects occur about two or three times more frequently among babies born to women who took certain types of SSRI medications early in pregnancy. You can read the article’s abstract hereexternal icon, and read more below for a summary of this study’s findings.

How long is the average person on SSRI?

It's usually recommended that a course of SSRIs continues for at least 6 months after you feel better, to prevent your condition coming back when you stop. However, if you've experienced previous episodes of depression, a 2-year course may be recommended.

The effect of SSRIs may take up to 6 weeks before the patients feel the effects of treatment. If patients tolerate the current dose well, the clinician can consider an increase in dosage after several weeks. SNRIs are sometimes used to treat nerve pain and certain anxiety disorders in addition to depression. Researcher David Healy and others have reviewed available data, concluding that SSRIs increase violent acts, in adults and children, both on therapy and during withdrawal. Antidepressants provide a modest-to-moderate reduction in anxiety in GAD, and are superior to placebo in treating GAD. Typically, it may take several weeks or longer before an antidepressant is fully effective and for initial side effects to ease up.

We’ve also connected thousands of people injured by drugs and medical devices with top-ranked national law firms to take action against negligent corporations. Both SSRI and SNRI medications are reuptake inhibitors that block the body from reabsorbing neurotransmitters, increasing their availability. SSRIs only boost serotonin, while SNRIs increase both serotonin and norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter. SSRI overdose is relatively infrequent due to their increased safety profile and tolerability compared to other classes of antidepressants. SSRI overdoses are rarely fatal and usually do not have serious consequences. Out of all the SSRIs, citalopram and escitalopram are more likely to cause overdose due to differences in their structures.

SSRI Antidepressants: Types, Uses & Risks

A comprehensive study from the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities revealed that the most common reported links include heart, brain and abdominal birth defects. According to a 2017 study from the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, about 40 to 60 out of 100 people who took an antidepressant noticed an improvement in their symptoms within six to eight weeks. Typically, someone with an anxiety disorder such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder may see improvements faster compared to patients with severe depression.

Some people, especially children and young adults, may be more likely to have suicidal thoughts when they take SSRIs. Studies show that when compared to results from taking a placebo, chances of having suicidal thoughts doubled -- from between 1% and 2% to between 2% and 4% -- when taking any kind of antidepressant, including an SSRI. If you have thoughts of hurting yourself while taking an SSRI, call 911. The anti-inflammatory effects of SSRIs have prompted studies of the efficacy of SSRIs in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, RA, inflammatory bowel diseases, and septic shock.

What is the most commonly used SSRI?

Sertraline hydrochloride, used for multiple mental health and mood disorders, is the most prescribed antidepressant on the list with more than 18 million prescriptions in 2021.

Despite the increased risks for certain birth defects from some SSRIs found in this study, the actual risk for a birth defect among babies born to women taking one of these medications is still very low. Because these specific types of birth defects are rare, even doubling the risk still results in a low absolute risk. In this CDC study published in The BMJ, researchers re-assessed several previously reported links between SSRI use and birth defects using more recent data.

Safety issues

SSRIs are safer and have fewer side effects than older antidepressants. These medications have also shown activity in treating other conditions for which they are not currently approved, such as migraine and fibromyalgia. Why have the frequency and type of side effects with SSRIs increased with time? Dosages used in early clinical trials may not have been sufficient to allow for a full understanding of the side effect profile of the drugs.

The loss of bone density does not appear to occur in younger patients taking SSRIs. SSRIs directly increase the risk of abnormal bleeding by lowering platelet serotonin levels, which are essential to platelet-driven hemostasis.SSRIs interact with anticoagulants, like warfarin, and antiplatelet drugs, like aspirin. This includes an increased risk of GI bleeding, and post operative bleeding. The relative risk of intracranial bleeding is increased, but the absolute risk is very low. SSRIs do not appear to affect the risk of coronary heart disease in those without a previous diagnosis of CHD. A large cohort study suggested no substantial increase in the risk of cardiac malformations attributable to SSRI usage during the first trimester of pregnancy.


When someone takes an SSRI, the medication inhibits the “reuptake” process, increasing the body’s level of serotonin and giving it more opportunities to communicate. Serotonin is a type of neurotransmitter, a molecule used by your nervous system to carry messages between neurons, between the nervous system and muscles, or between the nervous system and the brain. 17.Graudins A, Stearman A, Chan B. Treatment of the serotonin syndrome with cyproheptadine. SSRIs inhibit the serotonin transporter at the presynaptic axon terminal. By inhibiting SERT, an increased amount of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine or 5HT) remains in the synaptic cleft and can stimulate postsynaptic receptors for a more extended period.

Can SSRI cure anxiety?

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which were designed to treat depression, are also effective for many anxiety disorders. They have revolutionized the treatment of anxiety, replacing chronic use of benzodiazepines (BZs). SSRIs are effective for OCD, PDs, phobias, PTSD, and GAD (see Table I).

In general, serotonin syndrome is distinguishable by taking a thorough history. There is no definitive treatment for serotonin syndrome aside from discontinuing the offending agent, supportive measures, and benzodiazepines for agitation. Cyproheptadine has shown some success in several small studies and case reports for patients who do not respond to initial treatment. In WikidataSelective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are a class fetal alcohol syndrome in adults of drugs that are typically used as antidepressants in the treatment of major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, and other psychological conditions. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are antidepressant drugs that treat patients with a wide variety of psychiatric disorders. SSRI medications are considered a first-line treatment for depression and other disorders because of their tolerability, effectiveness, and safety.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) Information

Among adults younger than 25 years, results indicated that there was a higher risk for suicidal behavior. For adults between 25 and 64, the effect appears neutral on suicidal behavior but possibly protective for suicidal behavior for adults between the ages of 25 and 64. For adults older than 64, SSRI's seem to reduce the risk of both suicidal behavior. SSRI and SNRI antidepressants may cause jaw pain/jaw spasm reversible syndrome . Buspirone appears to be successful in treating bruxism on SSRI/SNRI induced jaw clenching. This combination of symptoms is sometimes referred to as Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction .

Don't stop taking your medication without contacting your doctor first, as stopping might pose risks for you. For example, SSRIs may increase your risk of bleeding, especially when you're taking other medications that increase the risk of bleeding, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , aspirin, warfarin and other blood thinners. When taking an antidepressant, tell your doctor about any other prescription or over-the-counter medications, herbs or other supplements you're taking. Some antidepressants can interfere with the effectiveness of other medications, and some can cause dangerous reactions when combined with certain medications or herbal supplements. This commonly prescribed type of antidepressant can help you overcome depression. Discover how SSRIs improve mood and what side effects they may cause.

ssri drugs

This relative safety is supported both by case series and studies of deaths per numbers of prescriptions. The 2016 Finland study also found no association with ADHD, but did find an association with increased rates of depression diagnoses in early adolescence. The decline is particularly striking for women who, compared with men, seek more help for depression. Recent clinical data on large samples in the US too have revealed a protective effect of antidepressant against suicide.

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