Mirtazapine – therapy and side effects
Mirtazapine is an antidepressant drug. It is used for the treatment of depression and sometimes obsessive-compulsive and anxiety disorders. The antidepressant is only available on prescription in tablet or liquid form.
The drug is one of the most frequently prescribed remedies for depression, the extent to which mirtazapine has a mood-lifting effect depends on the patient.
The most important at a glance
- The effect of mirtazapine usually lasts about 4 to 6 weeks.
- Common side effects are headache, dry mouth and feeling of sickness. They are usually mild and disappear after a few weeks.
- If you and your doctor decide to stop mirtazapine, your doctor will likely recommend gradually reducing the dose to avoid additional side effects.
- Mirtazapine is not a sleeping pill, but it can make you sleepy. This can be helpful if you have depression and problems falling asleep.
- Mirtazapine is also known by the brand name Zispin SolTab.
For whom is mirtazapine suitable?
Mirtazapine is used to relieve depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety in adults. Since it is available only on prescription, a taking should be coordinated with the attending physician.
This must be informed about other clinical pictures and medicines, since Mirtazapin can have influence on the effects of other active substances.
Medications that should not be taken together with mitrazapine include medications for heart disorders, high blood pressure, and other antidepressants.
Taking other antidepressants in combination with mitrazapine is particularly dangerous because there are several agents that work together to produce high blood pressure.
Also, epilepsy patients, or patients who have the eye disease glaucoma, should not take the antidepressant. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also be prescribed other medications.
Side effects of mirtazapine
One speaks of normal side effects in the case of side effects that occur in more than one in a hundred patients. These include a dry mouth, increased appetite and thus weight gain, headaches, fatigue and indigestion.
Serious side effects occur in less than one out of 10.000 patients on. These include:
- Thoughts about harming yourself or ending your life.
- Constant headaches, prolonged confusion or weakness, or frequent muscle cramps – these may be signs of low sodium in the blood (which can lead to seizures in severe cases).
- Yellow skin or the whites of the eyes become yellow – this can be a sign of liver problems.
- High fever, sore throat, mouth ulcers – these signs of infection could be due to a problem with your blood cells.
- While taking the drug, patients can consume alcohol moderately, but alcohol together with mirtazapine provides rapid onset of fatigue and balance problems.
Mode of action of mirtazapine, duration of action and long-term use
Mirtazapine is a type of antidepressant and works like other antidepressants by increasing the activity of mood-altering chemicals called norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain.
As with many psychotropic drugs, it takes time for the full effect of the medicine to develop. Some patients notice a benefit after as little as one week. However, it usually takes rather four to six weeks for the medicine to take full effect.
This is because it takes time to build up sufficient levels of mirtazapine in the metabolism to achieve the desired effect.
It should therefore only be taken in consultation with the doctor and at the earliest if there is no improvement after six weeks.
Mirtazapine is generally a safe medication and can be taken for a long time. There doesn’t seem to be any lasting harmful effects when taken for many months and years.
Discontinuation of the drug may be appropriate after as little as six months. The doctor is best placed to assess whether it is worth continuing to take the drug.