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Sertraline: A Little SSRI Light Reading

Published July 9, 2010 - 5 Comments

I’ve been doing a little light reading on my days off… some of it can be pretty technical, and I don’t pretend to understand those parts, but I’ll trust that the people who are supposed to, actually do understand these things.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.   Hmm…  that’s a bit of a mouthful.  Couldn’t they come up with something a little simpler?  SSRI?  OK then.  SSRI it is.  But what the hell does it do?  Corrects a chemical imbalance in the brain that may be related to symptoms of depression or anxiety. Sweet.  So it re-wires the brain.  Lovely.

So I kept reading…   approved for the treatment of a number of mood and anxiety disorders including depression, social anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) in adults ages 18 and older. Hmm…. there’s a lot of different stuff in that list.  I think we can eliminate a couple of those right off the top.  premenstrual dysphoric disorder? Yeah, like that one.

So essentially this is a happy pill, like a Smarty or an M&M?  Something to put a smile on your face.  Sounds good so far.  But if that’s the upside, what’s the downside?  There’s always a downside, right?   The most common side effects are dry mouth (OK, no problem.  An excuse to keep a Coke on hand) , insomnia (yeah, unlikely), diminished sexual interest (ummm…  OK), decreased sexual performance (Hey!  Now hold on a minute!), diarrhea (Oh, this is just getting better and better), nausea (But of course!), and sleepiness (Well, now I have an excuse… although doesn’t this contradict the insomnia one?) . Not everyone gets side effects. (Well that’s great.  How many get all of them?)

And then there was the little part about the risk of suicidal tendencies in people under 25, but I’m way beyond that now…

Well I guess that there’s nothing more left to say about that.