If you have depression and are taking antidepressants, there is a chance that they may not yield the results you were expecting. When this occurs, speak with your doctor about your lack of response with the prescribed medication. If you and your doctor agree that your continued lack of response is not improving, it might be time to look at other treatment options. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one to experience this. In a study conducted for about four months, at least half of the 4,000 depression patients participating, didn’t get complete relief from the first antidepressant they tried.
If you are not experiencing remission or even some improvement from your medication, your doctor may consider:
- Starting psychotherapy if you do not already undergo this treatment
- Increasing the dose of your current antidepressants
- Continuing at the same dose and adding a second drug
- Switching, which is gradually stopping your current drug and starting a second drug
When to Make a Change
According to George I. Papakostas, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, here are three factors to consider when making the decision quit, switch, or add medication:
- How long have you been on your medication?
- How bad are your side effects, and how much trouble are they causing you?
- Have your depression symptoms improved comparatively to how long you’ve been on the current medication?
If you’re suffering from seemingly unbearable side effects and have experienced little improvements, or you’re just not seeing reasonable improvements, your doctor can switch you to a different medication altogether.
The best thing you can do as a patient taking antidepressants for your depression is to consult with your doctor if you believe you’re not having the best response to your current antidepressant medication.