Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

Your healthcare provider prescribed a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) for you. An SSRI is an antidepressant. SSRIs help reduce the extreme sadness, hopelessness, and lack of interest in life that are typical in people with 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 medication. It tells you when and how to take your medication. Ask for a sheet if you didn’t get one.

  • Tell your health care provider if you have:

    • Manic depression or bipolar disorder

    • Kidney disease

    • Diabetes

    • Liver disease

    • Seizure disorders

    • History or current problem with drug abuse or dependence

  • Tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including over-the-counter or herbal medications.

  • Take your medication exactly as directed. This medication takes several weeks to reach its full effect. Because of this, it is important to take this medication every day, even if you believe that it is not helping your symptoms. You may need to take this medication for a few months, or for life, depending 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 medication with food.

  • Limit alcohol intake or if possible, avoid alcohol completely while taking this medication.

  • Don’t take an SSRI if you are currently taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAO inhibitor).

  • Don’t stop taking your medication without talking with your healthcare provider. If you wish to stop taking your SSRI, your healthcare provider will need to help you taper off  the medication gradually.

Possible side effects

Tell your health care provider if you have any of these side effects. Don’t stop taking the medication 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 immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Increased feelings of depression

  • Unusual joint or muscle pain

  • Trouble breathing

  • Shaking chills

  • Excessive excitement

  • Difficulty controlling your emotions or actions

  • Skin rash

  • Hives

  • Tremors


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