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What to expect when starting anti-depressants.

Are you new to anti-depressants or not sure what to expect when starting them?

Please see below a fact sheet that our GPST1, Dr Saad has put together.

What do you need to know when starting anti-depressant medication?

Taking Anti-Depressants

Antidepressants usually need to be taken for 2-4 weeks (ideally at the same time every day) before the benefit starts to be felt. Usually, the full effect can be reached within 4-6 weeks. If you take an antidepressant for 4 weeks without feeling any benefit, speak to your GP. They may recommend increasing your dose or trying a different medicine.

It’s important not to stop taking them if you get some mild side effects early on, as these effects usually wear off quickly. Some expected side effects including nausea, diarrhea, headache, anxiety/agitation. These tend to occur within the first 5-7 days and tend to settle down within 10-14 days. If they persist beyond this or they are unbearable then please contact the surgery.

Some antidepressants may affect alertness and concentration, affecting a person’s ability to drive. This is particularly relevant when starting treatment or after increasing the dose. Antidepressant drugs are not addictive but withdrawal symptoms may occur if medication is stopped abruptly so please discuss with a GP prior to stopping.

Reviewing Progress

Regular review is recommended after starting antidepressant medication to check response, for any side effects or problems, and to ensure the dose is correct. These reviews should happen every 2-4wks for at least the first 3 months.

Your GP will advise when you need your review appointments, but if you are within the first three months of being on an antidepressant and you haven’t been reviewed in the past 4 weeks then please contact the surgery to arrange a review. You can do this simply by using eConsult: this will direct you to short review pathway and the surgery will then contact you to discuss the next steps. Please follow the link below.

eConsult link: https: https: https: Econsult Link

If you are unable to use eConsult, then please contact the surgery to arrange a review.

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