Watch Antidepressants and Drug Interactions

iStock_000008847188SmallAre you taking an antidepressant? Do you worry about how it might interact with other drugs? While Dr. Daniel Carlet, AOL’s mental health expert, says “unfavorable drug interactions with antidepressants are not a huge problem,” you should still know of a few exceptions.

Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, or Lexapro are all antidepressants. If you are taking one of these and suffer from migraines, be careful. These antidepressants and the family of drugs known as Triptans, which are used to treat migraines, both increase serotonin and may cause serotonin syndrome, which has symptoms that range from mild to severe.

St. John’s Wort is an over the counter herbal supplement that may help depression. But, when taken with birth control pills, it can lessen their effectiveness. So can the antidepressants Tegretol, Topamax and Provigil.

Nardil and Parnate are antidepressants that are rarely prescribed because they can have an adverse interaction with certain cheeses, chocolate, some beers, red wine, and processed meats.

If you are taking Zoloft, Anafranil, Elavil or Nortriptyline, you should avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice. Because these antidepressants break down certain enzymes that the grapefruit inhibits, it can increase the level of the drugs in your blood stream, leading to nervousness, insomnia, and diarrhea. Taking Nortriptyline and grapefruit or its juice can lead to an irregular heartbreak and possibly heart failure.

Paxil and the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen is not a good combination because Paxil inhibits the metabolism of Tamoxifen, making it less effective. Safer antidepressants to take with Tamoxifen include Zoloft, Celexa, and Lexapro.

If you take Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, or Paxil, you should avoid alcohol. While research has not shown a consistent link between the two, many patients complain of feeling tired or like they have a terrible hangover, even after just one glass of alcohol. You should also avoid aspirin and ibuprofen. There is a small risk of stomach bleeding association with this combination, so take acetaminophen instead for pain.

If you are taking Nardid, Parnate, or Marplan, avoid any over the counter cough syrups that contain dextromethorphan. This combination could cause your blood pressure to increase.

Always consult your physician if you have any questions about drug interactions or experience any odd side effects while taking an antidepressant.

(The copyright holder of this work, Ragesoss, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide.)

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Libby Pelham

About Libby Pelham

I have always loved to write and gives me the opportunity to share my passion for writing with others. I work full-time as a web developer at UTHSC and most of my other time is spent with my son (born 2004). I love everything pop culture, but also enjoy writing about green living (it has opened my eyes to many things!) and health (got to worry about that as you get older!).