Side Effects of Antidepressants
Side effects have played a significant role in the development
of SSRI’s. The first drug, iproniazid, was developed to fight
tuberculosis in the early 1950's, and had a noticeable side
effect on mood elevation. Soon it was known as a "happy drug".
This drug immediately gained attention from physicians and
depression researchers. At that time the only drug on the
market for depression was opium, which was a highly addictive
substance (Turkington 49-50). Ten years of specific drug
research to identify different models of nerve transmissions and
tailoring chemicals to affect these processes resulted in the
development of Prozac (Turkington,61).
"Eli Lilly and Co.'s (Prozac's manufacturer) official product
information acknowledges that tremors alone occur in 10% of
patients on Prozac. Any side effect occurring in 1% or more of
patients is acknowledged as "frequent" by the pharmaceutical
industry (Glenmullen). Some of these side effects that have
been reported are feelings of jitteriness, sleep problems
"tardive dyskinesia," and "sexual dysfunction". Other side
effects from Prozac include weight gain, tiredness, increased
appetite, feeling weak, sore throat, and trouble with
Side effects of antidepressants fall in three different
categories: sedation; dry mouth, blurry vision, constipation,
urinary problems, increased heart rate, and memory problems; and
dizziness on standing up, orthostatic hypotension. Those that
interfere with dopamine, such as Effexor and Asendin, may
produce movement disorders and endocrine system changes.
Blocking serotonin may create stomach problems, insomnia, and
anxiety. The newer drugs such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft have
had fewer side effects, and many of these will disappear or
diminish within a few weeks (Turkington,56-57). Prozac and other
SSRIs are said to zero in on serotonin without affecting other
brain systems. Adding drugs such as thyroid hormone, lithium
buspirone(BuSpar), or Ritalin to Prozac can decrease the dosage
alleviating many symptoms, and boosting the effects alleviating
patients depression (54).
If while taking Prozac you become psychotically depressed with
hallucinations or delusions, the physician could add
antipsychotic drugs such as haloperidol (Haldol),
thiothixene(Navane), or chlorpromazine (Thorazine) to your
antidepressant. This practice may increase the risk of drug
The most serious pharmacodynamically mediated drug-drug
interactions is serotonin syndrome and hypertensive crisis.
Hyperpyrexia and death may be the outcome of this rare drug-drug
interaction. "For this reason, it is mandatory to wait at least
2 weeks before switching from an SSRI to an MAOI, and at least 5
weeks when switching from fluoxetine to an MAOI, particularly
Tardive dyskinesia is a...