Everyone feels blue at some point or another. Maybe it has to do with a loss, setback, or disappointment that recently occurred, such as the breakup of a marriage, loss of a job, or the death of a loved one. Some people’s moods are affected by the weather, and still others feel differently based on the types of foods they consume. While a bad or sad mood will eventually lift, depression lingers. As a medical condition, depression can produce a number of ill effects that have a serious and negative impact in the sufferer’s life. While antidepressants have been a lifesaver for some people, there are adverse side effects that can occur. Accidents and injuries caused by antidepressants can have serious and potentially life threatening impacts. Before taking any medication, arming yourself with the facts can help you make an informed choice about products that could potentially impact your health and well-being.
Antidepressant Side Effects
The potential side effects of antidepressants have long been debated. As a treatment for depression, medications such as Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, and Prozac have helped millions of people lead normal, healthy lives. At the same time, antidepressants cause known side effects that range in severity. A Harvard Medical School study lists some of the common side effects of antidepressants, which include:
- Physical symptoms, such as insomnia, headaches, rashes, muscle and joint pain, and stomach upsets. Reduced blood clotting capacity can prevent problems in people who combine depression medications with certain over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen and naproxen.
- Involuntary movements, such as ticks, muscle spasms, trembling, and loss of motor skills.
- Sexual side effects, such as lack of desire, decreased enjoyment, and performance problems.
- Dangerous drug interactions, which can cause a racing heart, high blood pressure, fever and delirium when taken with other prescription drugs and herbal remedies.
- Pregnant women taking antidepressants may experience problems with low birth weight.
In 2004, The Food and Drug Administration began requiring a ‘black box’ warning on antidepressant medications due to increased risk of suicidal behavior. Though hotly debated, the risk of committing suicide while taking an antidepressant occurs most commonly in children under 18. Young people also show an increased risk of aggressive behavior while taking antidepressants. Anyone prescribed an antidepressant should be closely monitored by a physician.
Risks Associated With Not Taking an Antidepressant
While there are potentially serious risks associated with taking antidepressants, there are also risks associated with not taking them. You should always consult with your doctor before stopping any prescribed medication. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, patients who have been taking antidepressants for six weeks or more and then abruptly stop could end up suffering from antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. Side effects of stopping antidepressants may include:
- Flu-like symptoms;
- Stomach upset;
- Loss of sleep;
- Increased anxiety;
- Problems with balance; and
- Sensory disturbances.
Patients who stop taking their medication can also suffer a relapse of their depression, which may include thoughts of self-harming or suicidal behavior.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Medical Malpractice Attorneys
If you suspect that you or a loved one has had an adverse reaction to antidepressant medication, contact our experienced Florida medical malpractice attorneys. At Hogan Frick, we fight for the rights of patients and their families. We hold negligent medical providers and pharmaceutical companies accountable for the injuries they have caused, and ensure victims of medical malpractice get the compensation they deserve.