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Advantages of SSRIs over Older Antidepressants

It is such a relief for people suffering from some disease if scientists discover an effective treatment option against that disorder. Depression sufferers were undoubtedly happy to learn that the way to make them feel better and lead usual life was found in the twentieth century.

However, everything needs improvements; it is especially true about the medicines, which almost always bring some problems in the form of side effects along with bringing the relief from the disease symptoms.

Mental illnesses like depression, manic depression, anxiety disorders, and other psychological problems have been successfully treated for quite a long period of time. On the other hand, scientists never gave up searching for the better pills, more effective drugs, and safer medicines to give the sufferers their usual lives back with less side effects and unpleasant feelings, which, unfortunately, accompany any treatment.  

MAOIs antidepressants, which became available in the 50th of the previous century, were followed by tricyclic antidepressants, which turned out to be effective pills, but were associated with a risk of fatal end in case of overdose. MAOIs, on the other hand, were very difficult to take due to their interactions with a wide range of drugs, and what is more important, with many foods as well.

Therefore, looking for more comfortable and humanistic, so to say, options never stopped. As a result of scientific aspiration to develop easier ways of fighting depression and other mental illnesses selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were created.

They turned out to be more beneficial than the older medication in a number of aspects.

  1. Selectivity

SSR inhibitors core advantage, which actually forms the basement of the other pros, is their selectivity. That means these drugs affect certain compounds in the human brain without influencing others. In the case with SSRIs the amount of neurotransmitter serotonin is increased, since the pills block its reuptake by the cells, which originally release that neurotransmitter.

Older antidepressants (MAOIs and tricyclics) affected several neurotransmitters, some of which had nothing to do with depression. Such violent intrusion into the organism usual functioning is, by no means, not beneficial for the pills users. Most often the weak-point is expressed by the occurrence of undesirable adverse reactions during the treatment period.

  1. Side Effects

SSRIs met expectations of the scientists and patients in the side effects profile. They turned out to work more gently in the human body producing fewer adverse reactions in comparison to the older antidepressants. For example, they appeared to have lower rates of experiencing convulsions.

No need to say that side effects are the main reason for stopping the treatment by many patients and looking for some other options to get rid of the disease. Therefore, the fewer adverse reactions occur and the milder they are, the more popular the drug becomes. SSR inhibitors are much better tolerated than any other antidepressants, and that is the key to their popularity and frequent use.

  1. Overdose

Tricyclic antidepressants were reported to lead to death in case of overdose. That is because their effective dose is close to the toxic one, when it is possible to get poisoned. SSRIs are safer in this aspect and their overdose is rarely lethal (though, extremely high doses of any pill increase the risk of fatal end).

  1. Suicidal Thoughts

A very important question pertains to the antidepressants and the incidence of suicidal thoughts occurrence in patients. Statistics says that quite a great number of depression sufferers develop suicidal intentions. Multiple trials have shown that the risk of their occurrence is significantly lower during the treatment with SSRIs. In fact, these medications seem to be effective in reducing their number, which is one more benefit of these drugs.

  1. Indications

SSR inhibitors are prescribed if fighting with a number of mental illnesses and mood disorders. They seem to work effectively for patients with severe depression; bipolar depression, reducing the number of switches to manic episodes of the disease; anxious depression, lessening anxiety symptoms; atypical depression; and dysthymia.

  1. Interactions

A significant progress was made in the aspect of drug and food interactions of antidepressants with the development of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Older antidepressants, especially MAOIs, may interact with so many other medicines and foods that it is really difficult to undergo the treatment. Moreover, MAOIs were reported to sometimes cause lethal interactions when taken in combination with foods like liver, cheese, meats, fish, and many-many others. Consequently, SSRIs are more preferable for patients taking some other medications and for those, who cannot be restricted from foods and products.

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7. Stopping the Treatment

 It is always advised to stop the treatment with antidepressants lowering the dose of the pills in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms. SSRIs should also be stopped gradually; however, withdrawal symptoms are much milder with this type of medications, which is one more merit of serotonin inhibitors.

To make a conclusion it is reasonable to say that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the most often prescribed pills against depression and other mental and mood disorders not in vain. They have shown their efficacy and safety and significantly improved the life of many people.


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