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Anti-depressant medicines can help to correct changes in your brain involved with depression. There are several options than can be effective, and your doctor or psychiatrist will help to find the one best suited to your needs. There are three main types of anti-depressant medications used in New Zealand.

Serotonin Selective Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI)

eg fluoxetine, paroxetine, citalopram. These antidepressants do not work immediately and it may take up to four weeks before you notice a difference.  Some people feel anxious when they first start SSRIs and you should tell your doctor if this happens to you.

Tricyclic Anti-depressants (TCAs)

eg imipramine, nortriptyline. These work in a different way to the SSRIs. Your doctor is likely to need to adjust the dosage of these antidepressants to suit your situation. Again they may take up to four weeks to work. The side effects most likely to be experienced include some drowsiness (which may actually be helpful if you cannot sleep) and a dry mouth.

Serotonin and Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitor (SNRI)

eg Venlafaxine. This anti-depressant can be useful if other treatments have not been effective or for severe depression. Side effects are similar to TCAs.

It’s important that you use medications correctly. Many of the beneficial effects need time to take effect, whilst the side effects (eg nausea, tiredness, agitation) can happen quite quickly.

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