If your doctor has prescribed antidepressants, there are some important things you need to know about how to take them. Following these guidelines can reduce problems and help you get the most benefit from your medicine.

Key points

  • Antidepressants work best when you take them exactly as your doctor prescribes them. This also helps reduce side effects.
  • You may start to feel better within 1 to 3 weeks after you start to take an antidepressant. If you have not improved at all in 3 weeks, you may need to try a different medicine.
  • Antidepressants can cause side effects, but most of them are mild and go away after you take the medicine for a few weeks.
  • Taking an antidepressant for at least 6 months after you feel better can help keep you from getting depressed again.
  • Be sure your doctor knows about any other health conditions you have and any medicines you take regularly. This information can affect which antidepressant your doctor prescribes for you.
  • Quitting antidepressants suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms or cause depression to return. If you are having a problem with your medicine or are ready to quit taking antidepressants, work with your doctor to slowly reduce the dose over a period of a few weeks.
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