some common and not-so-common, approved and unapproved treatments SSRIs are used for




Antidepressant Topic Index
SSRI Overview and Topic Index | Why SSRIs are so popular, but are they right for you?

1.  FDA-Approved Indications

At least some of the SSRIs are approved to treat these conditions. Anything Celexa is prescribed for, except depression, is an off-label application. On the other hand, Prozac and Paxil (but not Paxil CR) are approved to treat a shitload of stuff, some of which few other SSRIs are thrown at.

1.1  Depression. Duh.

In the US almost all serotonin-selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are approved to treat major depressive disorder. Luvox (fluvoxamine) is the oddball, as it is only approved to treat OCD. Stress major, as there’s always one study after another showing how antidepressants only work for those of us with severe depression. If you’re functional every day of the week and you have a pretty good idea as to what is causing you to be depressed (other than your brain is screwed up and/or there’s a family history of severe depression), you should try therapy and lifestyle changes first. They’ll probably do you a hell of a lot more good.

1.2  Anxiety

Almost all SSRIs are approved to treat one or more conditions in the alphabet soup of the anxiety spectrum (GAD, OCD, SAnD, PTSD). Celexa (citalopram) is the only SSRI approved in the US to treat depression and nothing else. It’s used off-label to treat anxiety disorders, and works rather well.


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2.  Totally Off-label Applications

2.1  Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Paxil is especially popular for this one.

2.2  As Anti-Epileptic Drugs (AEDs)

What? Aren’t seizures a side effect of antidepressants? Yes, but mainly for Wellbutrin, or if you’re taking way too much, or if you were unlucky in side effect lotto. SSRIs can actually help prevent seizures, although you certainly wouldn’t want to take one as your only AED. SSRIs may have a very specific, a potentially life-saving property when it comes to epilepsy:

Ictal respiratory dysfunction occurs in patients with epilepsy and may contribute to sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Fluoxetine reverses respiratory arrest in a mouse model of epilepsy, suggesting that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may reduce ictal respiratory dysfunction. Video–electroencephalography (EEG) and pulse oximetry data from 496 seizures in 73 consecutive patients with partial epilepsy was reviewed, including 87 seizures in 16 patients taking SSRIs (SSRI+) and 409 seizures in 57 patients not taking SSRIs (SSRI)). The proportion of ictal-related oxygen desaturation <85% with partial seizures without secondary convulsions in SSRI+ patients was reduced relative to SSRI) patients (p = 0.011). There was no statistically significant difference in ictal oxygen desaturation for secondarily generalized convulsions. SSRIs are associated with reduced likelihood of ictal oxygen desaturation in patients with partial seizures. -- Serotonin reuptake inhibitors are associated with reduced severity of ictal hypoxemia in medically refractory partial epilepsy

In English: SSRIs can save your life by keeping you breathing when a seizure would otherwise cause you to suffocate because your brain hates you.1



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SSRI Overview and Topic Index | Why SSRIs are so popular, but are they right for you?
Antidepressant Topic Index


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1 I have had up close and personal experience with this. Giving someone CPR in the midst of a flurry of seizures is just too much fun. Coming out of a seizure gasping for air is not to be missed either.
Since I have secondarily generalized seizures I'm not missing out on anything by not getting along with SSRIs.


Serotonin-Selective Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) Uses by Jerod Poore is copyright © 2011 Jerod Poore
Date created: 1 July 2011 Last edited by: JerodPoore on: 2014–05–31





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1 While there are plenty of books to help you with hypochondria, for some reason there’s not much in the way of websites. Then again, staying off of the Internet is a large part of curing/managing the disorder.

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3 Have I mentioned how open source operating systems for commercial applications is one of the dumbest ideas in the history of dumb ideas? I don’t even need my big-ass rant any more. Heartbleed has made my case for me. And that’s just the one that got all the media attention. The very nature of an open source operating system makes security as much of an illusion of anonymity. Before you flip out too much: the domain Crazymeds is hosted on uses a version of SSL that is not affected by the Heartbleed bug. That’s one of the many reasons why I pay a lot of money and keep this site on Lunarpages.

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