Medicines for depression
There are several different groups of medicines used to treat depression. There are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s), tricyclic antidepressants (TCA’s) and other antidepressants that don’t fall in to these groups.
SSRI’s are the most commonly used group of antidepressant medicines. Examples of these medicines include paroxetine, fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram and escitalopram.
TCA examples include amitriptyline, doxepin, clomipramine and nortriptyline.
As well as treating depression antidepressants are used for anxiety, panic attacks, incontinence and hot flushes amongst other uses.
The antidepressants that interfere most with alcohol are mirtazepine and the TCA’s due to the fact these medicines cause a lot of drowsiness. Combining these medicines with alcohol makes the drowsiness much more likely. There can also be difficulty breathing with the TCA’s.
Whether caffeine is consumed from coffee, tea, soft drink or even chocolate (which has a bit of caffeine) it can be a problem with the SSRI’s. The combination can cause anxiety, difficulty sleeping and feeling jittery.
Some antidepressants can cause weight gain. Eating a healthy diet will help to prevent this as well as help with feelings of depression and anxiety.
St John’s Wort
St John’s Wort is taken by some people as a natural antidepressant. The way this works is by increasing serotonin levels. This is a problem because prescription antidepressants also increase serotonin levels. Having serotonin levels that are too high can cause severe side effects.
Codeine and other opioids
Strong pain medications like codeine and other opioids are a problem with antidepressants because they too increase serotonin levels which can be very dangerous. The dose of pain medicines needs to be monitored by your Doctor to make sure serotonin syndrome doesn’t occur from levels that are too high.