Antidepressant Articles

New Anxiety, Bipolar and Depression Drugs in the Pipeline?

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

New Anxiety, Bipolar and Depression Drugs in the Pipeline? What happens when the drug pipeline for common mental health concerns — such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder — starts to dry up?

“Most psychiatric drugs in use today originated in serendipitous discoveries made many decades ago,” according to a recent article on Science News by Laura Sanders. And it’s true — we can trace back today’s most popular psychiatric drugs to discoveries made over 30 — and in some cases, 40! — years ago.

Because of the heady cost of drug development — costing hundreds of millions of dollars to bring a new drug to market — most pharmaceutical companies have been playing it safe these past few decades. They’ve been working on developing “me too” drugs — subtle molecular changes to existing compounds.

Which means the pipeline is darned near empty of truly new drugs likely to come out in the next 5 to 10 years for the most common types of mental illness.

Withdrawal from Psychiatric Meds Can Be Painful, Lengthy

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Withdrawal from Psychiatric Meds Can Be Painful, LengthyAlthough this will not come as news to anyone who’s been on any one of the most common psychiatric medications prescribed — such as Celexa, Lexapro, Cymbalta, Prozac, Xanax, Paxil, Effexor, etc. — getting off of a psychiatric medication can be hard. Really hard.

Much harder than most physicians and many psychiatrists are willing to admit.

That’s because most physicians — including psychiatrists — have not had first-hand experience in withdrawing from a psychiatric drug. All they know is what the research says, and what they hear from their other patients.

While the research literature is full of studies looking at the withdrawal effects of tobacco, caffeine, stimulants, and illicit drugs, there are comparatively fewer studies that examine the withdrawal effects of psychiatric drugs. Here’s what we know…

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation: A New Electrical Treatment for Depression?

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation: A New Electrical Treatment for Depression?When electricity and the brain are mentioned in the same sentence, your mind might immediately jump to disturbing images of people receiving huge shocks while covered in electrodes, strapped to tables.

But electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatment has developed considerably since the days depicted in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”  A current study at JAMA Psychiatry examines a treatment called transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS).

Could this fairly new form of electrical treatment for depression really be effective — and without the negative side effects of ECT?

A Pep Talk for Those With Treatment-Resistant Depression

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

A Pep Talk for Those With Treatment-Resistant DepressionIn his book, Understanding Depression: What We Know And What You Can Do About It, J. Raymond DePaulo Jr., M.D. asserts that for the 20 percent of his patients who are more difficult to treat, or “treatment-resistant,” he sets an 80 percent improvement, 80 percent of the time goal. And he usually accomplishes that.

Now, if you’re not someone who has struggled with chronic depression, those stats won’t warrant a happy dance.

But if you’re someone like myself, who assesses her mood before her eyes are open in the morning, hoping to God that the crippling anxiety isn’t there, then those numbers will have you singing Hallelujah.

Could Aspirin, Advil & Other NSAIDs Keep Antidepressants From Working?

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Could Aspirin, Advil & Other NSAIDs Keep Antidepressants From Working?Have you told your doctor about the other medications or drugs you regularly take? If you’re on an antidepressant, you probably should.

If you’re taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), you may be less likely to experience the beneficial effects of the most commonly prescribed classes of antidepressants, SSRIs (such as Paxil, Zoloft and Prozac).

NSAIDs include ibuprofin (such as Advil, Motrin, and Midol), naproxen sodium (such as Aleve) and good ole aspirin.

According to an article appearing in the recently published The Carlat Psychiatry Report, that was the surprising conclusion of a paper published last year (Warnerschmidt Jl et al, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2011;108:9262–9267), and a newly released report reaches a similar conclusion.

Research Suggests Pregnant Women Forgo Antidepressants, With One Exception

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Research Suggests Pregnant Women Forgo Antidepressants, With One ExceptionConventional wisdom has been for women who are taking antidepressant medication, to stay on it even while pregnant. Try to discontinue such medications can often be a long, slow process that has its own ups and downs. (Ask anyone who’s ever been on antidepressant for a year or more — it’s not fun trying to get off of it.)

It turns out, though, that conventional wisdom is largely wrong. Most infertile women who are taking popular antidepressants — such as Prozac, Paxil or Celexa — would help their unborn child by discontinuing the medication. With one exception — those women who are suffering from a severe depression (versus mild or moderate depression).

Why? Those women taking antidepressants nearly double the risk of a miscarriage if they stay on them during their pregnancy.

Budeprion XL 300, Generic Wellbutrin, To Be Withdrawn

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Budeprion XL 300, Generic Wellbutrin, To Be WithdrawnIn 2007, The People’s Pharmacy, a newspaper drug advice column by Joe and Terry Graedon, noted on their website that they started getting reports from people taking a generic form of Wellbutrin called Budeprion XL 300 mg. These reports discussed how patients taking the generic version of this antidepressant weren’t experiencing the same beneficial effects of the medication as when they were taking the name-brand version. And the side effects were often worse.

The Graedons became so concerned that they commissioned an independent lab analysis of the generic version of Wellbutrin manufactured by Impax Lab and Teva Pharmaceuticals in 2007. This report found that the generic version of Wellbutrin simply wasn’t equivalent to the brand-name version.

In April 2008, the FDA reviewed their existing studies, and concluded they were the same. The FDA did not review the independent analysis, or any actual data on the 300 mg version of the product (you know, the one people were actually complaining about).

Here it is more than four years later, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally agrees with the independent analysis, the Graedons, and the hundreds of people who’ve complained about the efficacy of Budeprion XL.

4 Tips for Caring for Yourself After a Depressive Episode

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

4 Tips for Caring for Yourself After a Depressive Episode Experiencing one depressive episode increases your risk for experiencing another. So in order to reduce the risk, it’s important to be proactive and take good care of yourself.

In his new book, Depression: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed, clinical psychologist Lee Coleman, Ph.D, ABPP, includes a valuable chapter on how to take care of yourself after a depressive episode. Coleman also serves as the assistant director and director of training at the California Institute of Technology’s student counseling center.

Below you’ll find four helpful tips for caring for yourself after an episode of depression.

What Club Drug May Help Depression?

Monday, July 9th, 2012

What Club Drug May Help Depression?Antidepressants not working for you? Psychotherapy a drag? Supplements no better than a sugar pill?

You might want to check out a drug more popularly known among the club scene and all-night dance parties than for the treatment of depression.

As we reported last month, researchers are taking a second look at ketamine — also known as Special K in the club scene — to help with depression.1 It appears it has the potential to be faster-acting than traditional antidepressants, which may make it a new treatment option for people who are depressed and are suicidal or in crisis.

Ketamine is already approved for certain medical uses, such as a human anesthetic, but its use is tightly controlled by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration because of its potential for abuse. Now a number of pharmaceutical companies are investigating its use in the treatment of depression with active research trials around the world.


  1. We also noted nearly 2 years ago that ketamine also provides relief to bipolar patients. []

Top 5 & 25 Psychiatric Medications for 2011

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Top 5 & 25 Psychiatric Medications for 2011

Medications used to treat mental disorders continue to enjoy the best sales they’ve had ever. Meanwhile, psychotherapy usage continues to decline.

We started tracking the top 25 psychiatric medications prescribed in the U.S. back in 2005, with the help of IMS Health and their innovative Xponent service, which tracks the vast majority of prescriptions dispensed in the U.S.

The top 5 are below, while the rest of the list follows.

Video: 6 Ways to Prepare for Antidepressant Withdrawal

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

[caption id=”attachment_4049″ align=”alignleft” width=”225″ caption=”A row of split and shaved Paxil fragments, lined up in descending size, that I took near the end of my …

Video: Anxious? You’re Not Alone: Check Out These Anxiety Blogs

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

I am not the only person with an anxiety disorder.

Likewise, you are not the only person with an anxiety disorder.

But it can sure feel that way sometimes, eh? Especially on days when everyone else at the party is acting super sociable, but you’re slunked (is that a word?) down in a corner and too dizzy to talk to anyone.

It’s easy to feel alone on days when everyone else seems to be gathering their groceries from the store shelves just fine, but you’re still hovering in the breezeway, leaning on your cart, and trying to muster up the courage to walk inside.

And it’s easy to feel alone at work, too. Everyone else can pay attention to the corporate PowerPoint presentation in the conference room, but you’re sitting next to the closed door, thinking about how far you are from the office restroom, and flexing your leg muscles for a quick escape.

Every time we say “I am alone!” we are lying.

We are not alone in our struggles…and I made a video, just for you, to prove it:

Recent Comments
  • julie: Amen, sister! I am a psychotherapist and I agree with your openness about your experience with depression....
  • the bell curve: I was the released AP. His wife found out and he turned from me and never looked back. It’s...
  • CNJ: I myself have some of the traits…I’m creative, love to write, often notice things most others miss,...
  • CNJ: Princess Diana was a classic HSP…if only she’d seen wonderful websites like this one, she could have...
  • David Knight: This is all useful but no mention of the most effective treatment for anxiety problems –...
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