Your doctor will choose your medication based on various factors, such as: your prior experience with the medication, co-occurring medical and psychological disorders and any other medications you’re taking.
The most commonly prescribed medications for depression are antidepressants. Most antidepressants prescribed today are both safe and effective when taken as directed by your physician or psychiatrist.
Although antidepressants in the U.S. are often prescribed by family doctors or general practitioners, you should nearly always seek out a psychiatrist for the best treatment of depression with medications.
Today, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are frequently prescribed for depression—with Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), and Luvox (fluvoxamine) being the most commonly prescribed brand names.
SSRIs work on increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain. Researchers are not sure why an increase in serotonin helps relieve depression, but decades’ worth of studies suggest such medications nonetheless help improve mood.
SSRIs were once thought to have fewer side effects than other antidepressants, but research in the past decade suggests otherwise.
While SSRIs appear to be safe, most people will experience side effects while taking them, such as nausea, diarrhea, agitation, insomnia, or headache.
For most people, these initial side effects dissipate within 3 to 4 weeks.
Many people taking an SSRI complain of sexual side effects, such as decreased sexual desire.
Long-term side effects of taking SSRIs for more than a year include sleep disturbance, sexual dysfunction, and weight gain.
Feeling like a Guinea Pig
Not everyone feels better with the first medication they try—and needs to try several other medications to find the best one for them. This can be very frustrating, especially in light that these medications take up to a month to have any therapeutic effect.
Your doctor also might prescribe an atypical antipsychotic to boost the effectiveness of your antidepressant. In my personal experience these have never helped. More often the side effects are so unpleasant, I’ve discontiued these within day.
Some of the most popular of these medications Are Abilify and Seroquel XR and Resulti
While I’ve had success with Lexapro and Paxil, they are not a long term solution. Psychotherapy of some form is required to get to the root issue. These medications may make it easier for you to cope temporarily and help navigate and facilitate psychotherapy