Guide to Switching Antidepressants

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Overview: Antidepressants have enabled many people to recover from their mental health problems, or at least manage the symptoms. But all antidepressants are different – and appear to have different levels of effectiveness. Finding the right antidepressant can take time – with your body preferring some to others. While SSRIs are most commonly prescribed, sometimes it is necessary to use an antidepressant from a different class. In this article, we provide a guide on switching antidepressants – which can helpfully provide relief for anyone hoping to enjoy success on a second or subsequent antidepressant.

 

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Antidepressants have helped many people recover from several mental health conditions

 

Notices: We have a profile on all of the medicines listed on this page. For added information on any of these medicines, you are advised to locate the medicine on this page and view the profile.

 

When First Switching: It is recommended to avoid an abrupt withdrawal of one antidepressant to another. This could cause withdrawal effects from one antidepressant – and would be coupled with side effects from a new antidepressant. Instead, it is recommended to slowly lower the dosage of the ineffective antidepressant, before introducing the new antidepressant at a lower dose – before slowly titrating upwards.

 

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Table: The following table summarises advice for switching from one antidepressant to another. However, it is important to ask a qualified mental health professional or General Practitioner regarding switching antidepressants.

 

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Cautions

ALWAYS EXERT CAUTION WHEN SWITCHING ANTIDEPRESSANTS.

EXERT CAUTION WHEN REDUCING DOSAGES, AND DO SO GRADUALLY

 

Notes: The most common switch – from one SSRI antidepressant to another – can sometimes be achieved by an abrupt change. The second SSRI should reduce any withdrawal effects from the first, but it is still recommended to exert caution – and slowly lower the dosage of the first medicine if possible. However it is recommended when switching from or to Fluoxetine (Prozac), to always avoid an abrupt change. Fluoxetine has a much longer life in the body.

 

Reference: This article was compiled with the help of data from the 6th edition of the Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines.

 

Disclaimer: The information above is merely supposed to act as a guide, and doesn’t replace the opinion of a mental health professional or General Practioner. Always seek their advice, and exert caution when switching from one antidepressant to another. While extensive time and research has been undertaken to complete this article, mistakes are possible. We accept no responsibility for any harm or damage caused by the information in this page. To reiterate, this page is merely a guide, and you should always consult your Doctor over switching antidepressants.

 

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