Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

Your healthcare provider prescribed a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) for you. An SSRI is a medicine that helps with 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 is important to take this medicine every day. Do this even if you believe that it is 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 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 is 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 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 orgasm

  • Sweating


When to call your healthcare provider

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

  • Increased feelings of depression

  • Unusual joint or muscle pain

  • Trouble breathing

  • Shaking chills

  • Feelings of too much excitement

  • Trouble controlling your emotions or actions

  • Skin rash (hives)

  • Tremors