Depression Pills

Here is a list of the kinds of medication most commonly used in serious cases of depression, with most of their known potential side effects. I included a few “informal” antidepressants (herbs etc.) too.

It is really important that you first read my Introduction and Basic Medication Tips below.

Antidepressants?

Introduction:
This list is not intended as some kind of medical advice. Medical advice is something you should get from your psychiatrist. She ought to know about your specific problems and needs, and what medication might be considered in your case. She knows her trade, and she knows you. I don’t.

So this list here is primarily meant to help you bringing up possible side effects (and perhaps searching for some medication alternatives) in that discussion you are going to have with your psychiatrist. I hope this is clear.

Keep in mind we are talking just about potential side effects here: many users of medication with listed side effects will not experience them. “Potential” indicates only that in some cases, for some particular users, some side effects may occur. It would be wrong to assume beforehand that such effects actually will happen to you.

A good psychiatrist will try to prescribe that specific medication that she thinks you do need most urgently. She should advise that medication only if she thinks that your not taking that medication would have much worse overall effects, than your taking the risk of some of its side effects. This is something you can ask her to explain.

We all are unique personalities: your own individual experiences may vary. From my own fifteen-year-stretch of using various antidepressants, I do know that a few of them did come with unexpected (unlisted) side effects. So be not surprised if your actual experiences will not quite fit into the general picture.

My list has a somewhat wider range of medication than a strict definition of “antidepressants” would allow. It includes some that belong – for example – at the activating or tranquillizing ends of the spectrum. This is because sometimes a psychiatrist will advise a different kind of medication that is better suited to your specific kind of depression.

For most categories I give examples of brand names, but in that respect the list cannot be complete. New names appear all the time, and identical pills have different names in different parts of the world. Most of the brand name examples here are American, with European ones coming second.

To see if your own specific antidepressant is listed below, just hit Ctrl-F on your keyboard to activate your browser’s search function, and enter the brand name. If your medication brand is not listed, you will have to find out yourself to what category it belongs.
Essential Medication Tips

Six Basic Medication Tips:
1. Together with your psychiatrist, first determine if you really do need an antidepressant. Are there really no therapeutic alternatives left to try out? Generally, taking antidepressants should be a last-resort course to consider only after all other possibilities have been tried.
People far too often start using antidepressants without really needing them, and in that case (with milder forms of depression) some of the side effects may easily make things worse instead of better for you.

2. Do never take some antidepressant without a careful diagnosis and a proper prescription by your psychiatrist. She should, for example, also take into account how specific antidepressants might interact with any medicines you may be using for other reasons.
And you certainly should never buy cheap antidepressants from some dubious online store, if only for the obvious reason that you cannot be sure if what they send you actually is the genuine thing.

3. When your psychiatrist concludes you need an antidepressant, always ask her to bring up a few different medication alternatives, and discuss the pros and the cons of each one. There are two reasons for this.
In the first place, psychiatrists may prescribe something out of professional habit or routine, without taking enough time to consider a few alternatives.
Secondly, while concentrating on your most urgent problems, they may tend to underestimate how a specific “side effect” might for you amount to a depressing effect.

4. You should never stop using, or change your daily dose, or re-start using medication without consulting your psychiatrist first.
This also includes obvious things such as combining two different antidepressants, or running the risk of really severe side effects by quitting a specific medicine too abruptly.

5. If you tend to feel suicidal, avoid hoarding large quantities of pills. Some medicines can be dangerous when taken in an overdose.
In risky cases, no sensible psychiatrist will give out one large-quantity prescription for an extended period: instead, she will give you frequent small-quantity prescriptions for shorter periods. When you feel not sure of yourself, ask her to do that anyway.

6. While using medication, keep seeing your psychiatrist regularly, if possible at least once every month.
Some medicines can take quite some time before they actually begin to work; and some side effects can come or go over a longer stretch of time. Your psychiatrist must be able to keep monitoring all the long-term effects in your specific case.
She should also prevent you from continuing to take medication just out of habit, after this might have become less necessary.

Amy Winehouse in Pills

BONUS TIP.
From the list below, never without asking a qualified psychiatrist just combine medicines from two different categories (for example one from the SSRE category with one from the SSRI category). They can interact or even counteract in dangerous ways.
If you insist on experimenting with such combinations by yourself anyway, then apparently you are stupid enough to take a gamble with your own life. Please say sorry to your family and friends before you try such a thing: for afterwards, it may be too late. Am I clear?
Medication list:
UPDATE: The many specific brand names I listed for each of the categories below, caused search engines to wrongly (and stupidly) classify StayOnTop as a dubious commercial pill-pushing site! So regrettably I had to remove all those name lists from this page.

To get the page version that does include all those brand names,
download this PDF file.

Generic category: AAP, Atypical Antipsychotics.
• Action: these affect your dopamine level.
• Intended main effects: reducing agitation.
• Potential side effects: blurred vision, involuntary body movements, muscle spasms, restlessness, weight gain.
• Brand names: To get a version of this page that includes all popular brand names here, download this PDF file.

Generic category: BZD, Benzodiazepines.
• Action: these affect your level of gamma-aminobutyric acids.
• Intended main effects: sedative, sleep-inducing, reducing anxiety.
• Potential side effects: confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, lack of coordination, lightheadedness, memory problems, unsteadiness.
• Brand names: To get a version of this page that includes all popular brand names here, download this PDF file.

Generic category: Lithium Ion, Li+ element-based salts.
• Action: how exactly these work is as yet still not satisfactorily figured out, but their effectiveness as an antidepressant is undisputed, especially with bipolar depression.
• Intended main effects: suppressing extreme mood changes.
• Potential side effects: dehydration, dry mouth, gout, kidney problems, skin problems, thirst, weight gain.
• Brand names: To get a version of this page that includes all popular brand names here, download this PDF file.

Generic category: MAOI, Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors.
• Action: these affect your serotonin/norepinephrine levels.
• Intended main effects: reducing depression (especially atypical depression).
• Potential side effects: bladder problems, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, headache, increased heart rate, insomnia, low blood pressure, muscle aches, nausea, nervousness, sexual problems, sleepiness, vomiting, weight gain.
• Brand names: To get a version of this page that includes all popular brand names here, download this PDF file.

Generic category: Natural Herbs and Vegetal Derivates (this is in fact not one specific category, but I include them here for the sake of completeness).
• Action: how these work varies, and is generally not very clear, but some of them may affect your serotinin level.
• Intended main effects: highly varying. For some, sedative or reducing agitation; for some, reducing depression; for some, activation or stimulation.
• Potential physical side effects: these vary wildly too, so it is impossible to list them all here.
For the most commonly used antidepressant herb, St John’s Wort, the associated potential side effects are: confusion, dizziness, sedation, skin problems, tiredness.
• Examples: 5-HTP (from Griffonia), Angelica, Camphor, Cannabis (from Marijuana), Cat’s Claw, Chocolate (from Cacao), Clary Sage, Coffee, Damiana, Dwarf Morning-Glory, Geranium, Golden Root (also known as Roseroot or Aaron’s Rod), Gingko Biloba, Ginseng, Jasmine, Kava, Lady’s Slipper, Melissa, Nicotine (from Tobacco), Passion Flower, Saffron, SAM-e (a natural amino acid derivate), Snake Root, St John’s Wort, Turmeric, Valerian, Yellow Gentian (also known as Bitterwort).
• Note: Most seem better suited for cases of mild depression than for chronic or serious depression. For a few of them, such as Chocolate, the antidepressant effect is assumed by some people while disputed by others.
• Important: A few of these “informal” antidepressants may influence the effects of “formal” antidepressants, so on your own initiative combining herbal antidepressants with one prescribed by your psychiatrist, may not always be wise.

Generic category: NDDI, Norepinephrine-Dopamine Disinhibitors.
• Action: these affect your dopamine/norepinephrine levels.
• Intended main effects: reducing depression, reducing anxiety.
• Potential side effects: almost none, as far as I know.
Please correct me if necessary.
• Brand names: To get a version of this page that includes all popular brand names here, download this PDF file.

Generic category: NDRI, Norepinephrine-Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors.
• Action: these affect your dopamine/norepinephrine levels.
• Intended main effects: reducing depression, reducing lethargy.
• Potential side effects: appetite loss, anxiety, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, restlessness, sexual problems, stomach pain, sweating, weight loss.
The side effects may vary here, depending from the active chemical component. For example, the buproprion-based ones are less likely to have sexual side effects than the methylphenidate-based ones.
• Brand names: To get a version of this page that includes all popular brand names here, download this PDF file.

Generic category: SARI, Serotonin Antagonist and Reuptake Inhibitors.
• Action: these affect your serotonin level.
• Intended main effects: reducing depression, reducing anxiety.
• Potential side effects: appetite gain or loss, blurred vision, coordination problems, confusion, constipation, diarrhea, drowsiness, dry mouth, fatigue, headache, increased heart rate, memory problems, muscle pain, nausea, nervousness, skin problems, stomach pain, sweating, swellings, tremor, vomiting, weight gain or loss.
• Brand names: To get a version of this page that includes all popular brand names here, download this PDF file.

Generic category: SNRI, Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors.
• Action: these affect your serotonin/norepinephrine levels.
• Intended main effects: reducing depression, reducing anxiety, reducing agitation.
• Potential side effects: appetite gain or loss, bladder problems, blurred vision, constipation, dilated pupils, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, fatigue, fever/chills, glaucoma, headache, insomnia, lightheadedness, nausea, sexual problems, tremors, vomiting, weight loss.
• Brand names: To get a version of this page that includes all popular brand names here, download this PDF file.

Generic category: SSRE, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Enhancers.
• Action: these affect your serotonin level.
• Intended main effects: reducing depression, reducing anxiety.
• Potential side effects: constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, insomnia, lightheadedness, sweating.
• Brand names: To get a version of this page that includes all popular brand names here, download this PDF file.

Generic category: SSRI, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors.
• Action: these affect your serotonin level.
• Intended main effects: reducing depression, reducing anxiety.
• Potential side effects: dizziness, feeling jittery, headache, insomnia, nausea, sexual problems.
• Brand names: To get a version of this page that includes all popular brand names here, download this PDF file.

Generic category: TCA, Tricyclic Antidepressants.
• Action: these affect your serotonin/norepinephrine levels.
• Intended main effects: reducing depression.
• Potential side effects: bladder problems, blurred vision, confusion, constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, fatigue, increased heart rate, sexual problems, tremors, weight gain.
• Brand names: To get a version of this page that includes all popular brand names here, download this PDF file.

Generic category: TeCA, Tetracyclic Antidepressants.
• Action: these affect mainly your norepinephrine level.
• Intended main effects: reducing depression.
• Potential side effects: appetite gain, agitation, dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, headache, increased heart rate, sexual problems, skin problems, sleepiness, sweating, weight gain.
• Brand names: To get a version of this page that includes all popular brand names here, download this PDF file.

This is it. If you really feel you might need one of the above, there is only one thing you can and should do: make an appointment with a qualified psychiatrist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *