Early Adverse Effects of Medicines for Depression and Their Management

Q: Hello, I have many psychiatric problems. One of them is anxiety. I feel hopeless. depressed and shying. So I went to a psychiatrist and he gave me some medications. It’s about 4 days that I used these medications. I felt some better but they make me very sedative. I sleep nearly 15 hours a day and during my waking hours I feel lethargic. My sleeping is not regular, I wake up every 5 minute; it is very interruptible sleep. I feel uncomfortable in my abdomen inside. These medications make me feeling unbalanced; my ears are uncomfortable. They make me feel dizzy. How many days these bad side effects will last? Can I stop the medications?

I take the following pills:
1- Purlex – escitalopram 20 mg once a day at morning.
2- Anafranil 25 mg once a day at evening.
3- Stellasil – trifluoperazine 1 mg once a day at evening

Please answer, I will be very thankful.
– By Vivi


The medications you are taking usually take around 15 days before they exert their full action. This is due to the specific pharmacokinetics of these medications which require this lag period before an optimum concentration of the active component of the drug is attained in the body.

One has to be patient during this phase and be persistent in taking medicines.

All symptoms you are experiencing now are nothing but side -effects of these drugs.

Side Effects of Anti-depressants

SSRIs are notorious to give the following side effects:

  • Stomach disorders, constipation, nausea, vomiting and changes in appetite.
  • Dizziness, not feeling alert
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Decreased sex drive

Self Care

  • Drink adequate clear fluids to prevent dry mouth. You can also chew sugarless gum.
  • Have a diet adequate in fiber and plenty of fluids to combat stomach upsets. You can even use a laxative ( stool softener) if constipation troubles you.
  • Keep doing some light exercises.
  • If you observe any serious adverse symptom, report to the doctor immediately.

Side effects usually start weaning off after a month of treatment. You need to keep patience. Gradually the medications will work and you will start feeling better.

However, if after taking this treatment regularly for about 4 weeks and you don’t notice any improvement in your depression, then you should see your doctor and discuss about changing the treatment regimen.

Take Care,

Buddy M.D.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “Dealing With Side Effects of Antidepressants

  1. Bobby Chakravorty

    1.I am an engineering college professor in India, aged about 62. I was a simple happy go lucky guy with lot of involvement with students in music, art and social welfare. After marriage in late 1986, I had mismatch with my wife’s values and ideas. But being a +ve bent of person and loving my only daughter very much, I never could separate myself. Meanwhile, I lost my most beloved younger brother, an ace police officer in a brutal incidence and I had the sole responsibility of his family in 2003. I was very depressed and suffered from anxiety like never before; but still continued my job with inspiration from my students. The child (now 24) also suffered. I consulted quite a few psychiatrists and psychologists. They gave different types of medicines and finally it appeared that Escitalopram 10 mg and Clonazepam 0.5 mg are suiting me. They also tried deanxit, cloba and risperidone 1 mg and Setraline without success.

    In 2009, it was found I have CAD, HTN and diabetes II; had 2 stents implanted and carrying on with appropriate follow up medicines except Eecosprin as it gives me great gastric pain. I take only Clavix (a substitute of Plavix in India). Now my weight has increased and tummy has bulged out by about 2.5 inches. Without clonazepam I don’t get sleep. I want to get rid of this addiction of 3-4 years. I am only disturbed by unruly behavior and still bit anxious of the future of my kith, kin,etc; Rest is OK. Of course, I cannot forget the past and sometimes feel weeping alone, but not frequently.

    2. My wife, a general doctor here, is also in depression and anxiety and takes Paxep CR 12.5 + Betacap TR 40 with her friend psychiatrist’s suggestion but does not seem to improve. At times she is very angry and difficult to calm down.
    Please help.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Don’t wean off from your medications abruptly. Weaning is done gradually, and you may get some withdrawal symptoms too, while on the process.

      Taking anti psychotic medicines for some time is alright. If you really think that you are mentally prepared to leave these medications, you need to talk to your doctor.

      Only under his close observation, weaning the drug may be done.


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