What side effects of antidepressants should I watch for?

What Your Doctor Can Do for Side Effects

If you're bothered by side effects, your doctor can often help by changing:


  • How much medication you take. Sometimes side effects can be stopped or minimized by reducing the dose. Or your doctor may lower the dose and then raise it more slowly.
  • When you take the medication. You may be able to cope with drowsiness or insomnia, for instance, by taking your medication in the evening or first thing in the morning.
  • How you take the medication. Taking your medication in smaller doses several times a day rather than in one dose can help. Taking your medicine with food may eliminate side effects such as nausea.
  • The type of medication. A different medication may be able to stop your depressive symptoms with fewer or less severe side effects.

Don't make any changes on your own. Always talk with your doctor before you make any changes in how you take medications.

Not all antidepressants have side effects. And not everything you feel is caused by your antidepressant. However, you should tell your doctor right away if you think you're having side effects from your antidepressant medication. Often, side effects happen early in treatment, usually during the first 4 to 6 weeks, and then disappear. For a few people, side effects are so bad they must stop taking the medication. Side effects vary for each type of antidepressant. See The Types of Antidepressant Medicines to look up the side effects for your type of antidepressant.