Antidepressant Blackbox Warning


All antidepressants come with a blackbox warning that basically says the following:

The purpose of antidepressant medications is to relieve the symptoms of depression, not to cure or prevent the illness. It is imperative that patients discuss and weigh the risks and benefits associated with this type of treatment. For children and young adults, particularly those 25 and younger, worsening of depression, and/or drastic shifts in mood or mental condition, abnormal behavior, and suicidal ideation may occur. If you suspect this may be a possibility or you feel uncomfortable on the medication, discuss your concerns immediately with your physician or therapist. Do not abruptly stop taking medication or change dosage without a doctor’s instruction. If you forget or miss a dosage DO NOT DOUBLE UP. You’ll just feel worse.

It is important to note that the onset of depression relief is not rapid or sudden – i.e, you won’t pop a pill and feel rainbows and sunshine the next day. Typically, antidepressant medication begins to work in 3-4 weeks, sometimes longer. Be patient. For optimal results, a combination of some form of therapy and medication is highly recommended. Be open and honest with your doctor, and most importantly, with yourself about how you feel. That way, side effects can be minimized and managed, and your medication can be altered and tailored accordingly. As with all medication, side effects may occur and vary from person to person.

I find keeping a log noting how I feel or any concerns I may have to be particularly helpful when taking any kind of medication. This ensures I can keep track of my overall wellness and make the most of my doctor’s visits. Hey – healthcare isn’t cheap and your well-being is worth the extra effort! Sometimes a few extra minutes with your doctor can eliminate hefty bills from emergency room visits in the long run.

As always, store your medication at room temperature, away from light and moisture (so not the medicine cabinet, ironically. I keep mine in a locked strong box). Take medication seriously and only take what is prescribed to you. Finally, and maybe most important of all, KEEP OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN AND ANIMALS! Even one pill can prove lethal.


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