When you are first diagnosed with depression, your doctor will likely prescribe antidepressant medication. If this drug doesn’t work well for you or if you experience side effects, your doctor may ask you to try a different antidepressant. This process of switching antidepressants can be overwhelming if you’ve never dealt with it before. In this blog post, we will discuss what to expect when switching antidepressants and what you should do if you’re still not finding the relief you need.
Why Switch Antidepressants?
There are various reasons why your doctor might recommend switching antidepressants. Your initial antidepressant may not work as well as expected, or you may experience side effects that aren’t tolerable, or maybe you’ve built a tolerance to the original medication. Whatever the reason for switching antidepressants, it is essential to understand what to expect.
How Long Does It Take to Switch Antidepressants?
It typically takes a few weeks to switch antidepressant medications. Your doctor may recommend that you gradually decrease the dosage of your current antidepressant while increasing the dose of the new one. This gradual transition is necessary in order to avoid uncomfortable side effects and ensure that the new medication works as intended. Not all medications interact the same, however, so your psychiatrist may employ other strategies.
Antidepressant Switching Strategies
There are several strategies that your doctor may use when switching antidepressants. These strategies include:
- Slow Tapering: This involves gradually lowering the dose of your current antidepressant while at the same time introducing a new medication.
- Cross Taper: This method involves taking both medications together in gradually decreasing doses until only the new one is left.
- Switch and Stop: This strategy involves stopping your current antidepressant and immediately starting the new one.
It is important to remember that each patient’s situation is unique and what works best for one person may not work as well for another. Your doctor will work with you to determine which switching strategy is most suitable for your individual needs.
What Are Common Side Effects When Switching Antidepressants?
Side effects are a common occurrence when switching antidepressants. Some of the most common side effects include:
In addition to side effects related to the switch in medication, it is important to be aware that some medications take longer than others for the full effect to manifest. Therefore, it is important to be patient and give your body time to adjust to the new medication.
What Should I Do if I Experience Side Effects?
If you experience any side effects when switching antidepressants, it is important to contact your doctor immediately. They will likely recommend that you stop taking the medication or reduce the dosage until the side effects go away.
What if Antidepressants Still Don’t Help?
If you’ve exhausted all of the available antidepressant medications and none seem to work, your psychiatrist may diagnose you with Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD). Despite its intimidating name, there are several treatment options for TRD outside of traditional antidepressant medications. These treatments include:
- TMS: TMS therapy is a technological breakthrough in depression treatment. It utilizes MRI-strength magnetic pulses to stimulate areas of the brain that are underactive in patients with depression.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on changing thoughts and behaviors in order to improve emotional well-being. When used in conjunction with alternative antidepressants, CBT can be a powerful tool for treating depression.
- SPRAVATO (Esketamine): SPRAVATO® is an FDA-approved nasal spray medication that provides fast, temporary relief from depression symptoms during the time it takes for prescribed depression medication to take effect.
By working with your doctor, you can find the right treatment plan for you. Switching antidepressants may seem daunting at first, but with the proper knowledge and support system, it can be a manageable process.
BestMind Behavioral Health Specializes in Treating Depression
For more information on what to expect when switching antidepressants, consider talking with the experts at BestMind Behavioral Health. We offer a variety of options, including medication and alternative therapies, to help you get your life back on track. We accept various insurance plans, so it is easy and affordable to get the care you need. Our team of licensed psychiatrists, certified physician assistants, and advanced registered nurse practitioners are here to help you get the best care possible. If you would like to learn more about our services, please contact us today.
We hope this article has been helpful in providing you with an understanding of what to expect when switching antidepressants. With the right strategy and support, you can find a medication that works best for you and your individual needs. Remember, the journey to feeling better is possible!