Aim:  This medication is intended to correct the chemical changes in your body which are associated with depressive illness.  This normally takes at least 2-3 weeks.  At present, it is not possible to predict which particular medication is best suited to any individual patient’s chemistry, so that the antidepressant first prescribed may need to be changed after some time if it is not effective.  Statistically, any antidepressant has a 70% chance of helping an individual patient.


Dosage:  The number of tablets you need to take will be kept to a minimum.  However, Government policy ensures that only low-strength tablets are available, so that an effective dosage requires a larger number of tablets each day.  The dosage will be slowly increased as required.  Most people need between 150 and 300 mg/day of the standard antidepressants (equivalent to 60-120 mg of TOLVON/LUMIN).


Time of taking medication:  As regards their effectiveness, the timing is not important.  However, as most people are made somewhat drowsy until they get used to the tablets, it is better to take the tablets at night (so improving your sleep also).  Too many tablets at night will make you too drowsy in the morning, so that some tablets may also have to be taken in the evening, or during the day.  Before or after meals does not matter.  (In some people, Imipramine and Chlomipramine keep them awake, so they should be taken early in the day).


Length of treatment:  Once you recover, you will need to keep taking the tablets for some months afterwards, to prevent the chemical imbalance from returning.  These tablets are not at all addictive.


Side effects:  You may experience some or none of the following:

  • Sleepiness:  Do not drive or take part in any activities requiring alertness (such as using machinery) if you are drowsy.  This side effect usually subsides very quickly.
  • Increased appetite resulting in weight gain (often up to 2 stone) in those who give in to the hunger or sweet craving.  Daily exercise and writing down what you eat will help.
  • Dry mouth: mouth washes, gargling, chewing gum or boiled sweets may help.  Drink only low calorie drinks or water to avoid weight gain.  Extra dental hygiene is important as saliva is not produced. Urocarb antidote medication may help.
  • Difficulty reading fine print:  inexpensive glasses may help.
  • Constipation or difficulty passing urine.
  • Dizziness when standing up, getting out of bed, or bending over.
  • Poor memory:  this is related to the dose you take.
  • Less common – skin rashes, hands shaking, palpitations, increased perspiration, bizarre dreams, confusion.

The antidote medication Urocarb may help some of the above symptoms.


Use of Alcohol:  You can have a small amount of alcohol quite safely with these tablets, but do remember that you will probably become drunk or sleepy much more easily.


Pregnancy:  If you are thinking of becoming pregnant, you will probably have to stop the medication.


This information is intended to improve your knowledge of the treatment you are receiving.  Any further points can be discussed at your next consultation with your doctor.


Important Disclaimer:  This site is medical information only, and is not to be taken as diagnosis, advice or treatment, which can only be decided by your own doctor.

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