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Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

Your healthcare provider prescribed a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) for you. An SSRI is a medicine that helps with symptoms of depression (antidepressant). SSRIs can help you feel less sad or hopeless, and help you have more interest in life if you have depression. SSRIs are also used to treat panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

The name of my SSRI is ____________________________________________.

Guidelines for use

  • Follow the fact sheet that came with your medicine. It tells you when and how to take your medicine. Ask for a sheet if you didn’t get one.

  • Before starting your medicine, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

    • Manic depression or bipolar disorder

    • Kidney disease

    • Thyroid disease

    • Diabetes

    • Liver disease

    • Seizure disorders

    • Past or current problems with drug abuse or dependence

  • Tell your healthcare provider about any other medicines you are taking. This includes over-the-counter or herbal medicines.

  • Take your medicine exactly as directed. This medicine takes several weeks to work as it should. Because of this, it's important to take this medicine every day. Do this even if you believe that it's not helping your symptoms. You may need to take this medicine for a few months. Or you may need to take it for the rest of your life. It depends on your symptoms.

  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, unless it’s almost time for your next dose. In that case, skip the dose you missed. Don’t take a double dose.

  • Take your medicine with food.

  • Limit how much alcohol you drink while taking this medicine. Or if possible, don’t have any alcohol at all while taking this medicine.

  • Don’t take an SSRI if you are currently taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAO inhibitor).

  • Don’t increase or decrease your dose or stop taking your medicine without talking with your healthcare provider. If you want to stop taking your SSRI, your healthcare provider will need to help you reduce the medicine slowly.

  • Before using new over-the-counter medicines, check with the pharmacist to be sure it will not interact with the SSRI.

  • Don’t share your medicine or use another person's medicine, even if it's the same medicine and dose. Check with your provider if you have trouble affording your prescription.

Possible side effects

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any of these side effects. Don’t change your dose or stop taking the medicine until your healthcare provider tells you to. Mild side effects include:

  • Anxiety

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea

  • Headaches

  • Loss of sex drive or problems with having orgasms

  • Sweating

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of the following occur:

  • Unusual joint or muscle pain

  • Trouble breathing

  • Shaking chills

  • Feelings of too much excitement

  • Trouble controlling your emotions or actions

  • Skin rash (hives)

  • Tremors

Call or text 988 if you have thoughts of harming yourself or others. You will be connected to trained crisis counselors at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. An online chat option is also available at You can also call Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255). Lifeline is free and available 24/7.

Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Paul Ballas MD
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2022
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