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What do I need to know if I take antidepressants?

When You Take Antidepressants

  • Be patient - it usually takes 4 to 6 weeks before you start to notice the effects.
  • Make sure you tell your doctor about all other medicines you take.
  • Don't stop taking them without talking with your doctor because it could be harmful.
  • Do not drink alcohol or take any recreational drugs because they can make you more depressed and interact badly with your medicine.
  • Talk with your doctor about any side effects to see if something can be done to reduce them.

It's important that you understand your medications for them to work for you. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor what you may think are "silly" questions about your medications. The only silly questions are ones that go unasked. Take the time to write down any questions or concerns you have about the medication before your appointment. Then take the list with you and write down your doctor's answers. See Are Medications for Me? for a list of questions for your doctor.

How Do I Take Antidepressants?

Antidepressants come in various forms, including tablets, capsules, and liquids. In addition to what you see printed on the prescription label, your pharmacist can give you directions on how to take them. It's OK to use water or juice to help you swallow pill forms, and you can take liquids directly from a spoon or dilute them in a glass of water. Follow the printed label as to how often you should take the medication. Your pharmacist or doctor will also tell you what foods and other medications you should avoid. If you have any questions or don't understand the directions, be sure to call your doctor or pharmacist.

Ask your doctor if there is any written information about the medication that you can take home.