Antidepressant Side Effects and Long-term Effects

Typical SSRI antidepressant side effects that occur in more than 5% of the patientsstudied include:


Typical SSRI antidepressant side effects that occur in 1 to 5% of the patients studied include:

loss of libido
sexual dysfunction
impaired concentration
abnormal dreaming

Typical SSRI side effects that occur in 1% or less of the patients studied include:


In addition to these, there are HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of other less-common side effects that can occur in the patients who take them.

As mentioned earlier, 15 to 20% of the participants in SSRI drug studies must drop out due to intolerable side effects. If these people were factored in, the true percentage of persons experiencing side effects would increase significantly.

In actual practice, about one third of the people who are prescribed antidepressants drop out within the first month. Another third drop out or switch drugs within six months.


When looking at long-term risks from taking SSRI’s, several problems stand out. One is the persistent sexual dysfunction that a significant percentage of users experience.

Another problem concerns the increased risk of liver toxicity when SSRI’s are combined with many other drugs. About five to ten percent of the general population are genetically predisposed to being poor metabolizers. These are the people who are most at risk of liver problems that occur when SSRI’s are taken along with other medications.

A third problem is the deteriorating health of those who take SSRI’s.

Long term side effects are very rarely studied. Even long termeffectiveness of depression medications are rarely studied. And when they are, what is a person to believe?

Consider these conflicting statements regarding Effexor/Effexor(same drug, same company – effexor is marketed in the US whileEffexor is marketed in the UK).

US Label, 1996: “The effectiveness of Effexor in long term use, that is, for more that 4 – 6 weeks, has not been systematically evaluated in controlled trials.” (Wyeth, 1996)

UK Data Sheet, 1996: “Effexor has been shown to be efficacious during long-term (up to 12 months) treatment” (Wyeth,1996)

Which statement is true? If it hasn’t been ‘systematically evaluated in controlled trials’, how do they know it is ‘efficacious during long-term treatment’?

Maybe someone can enlighten me.




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