College of Pharmacy
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HelixTalk #140 - The Ultimate Guide to SSRIs: An In-Depth Drug Class Review
Date posted: December 7, 2021, 6:00 am
In this episode, we review the pharmacology, indications, adverse effects, and unique drug characteristics of the most common SSRIs on the market.
- SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are the drug of choice for depression, anxiety, and a variety of other psychiatric indications.
- Fluoxetine (Prozac) and paroxetine (Paxil) inhibit CYP2D6, a metabolic pathway for several opioid analgesics, tamoxifen, and many other antidepressants.
- Adverse effects of SSRIs start immediately but the beneficial psychiatric effects take up to 1 to 2 months to occur. Patient counseling about the timing of adverse effects and efficacy are important!
- SSRIs should not be abruptly discontinued in patients taking the medication chronically. Withdrawal symptoms can include flu-like symptoms, changes in mood or sleep, and (rarely) even electric-like shocks. To discontinue, the SSRI dose should be tapered down over the period of several weeks.