Guidelines for Taking Antidepressants

If antidepressant medicine is prescribed for you, these guidelines will help you get started. The guidelines also give suggestions on when to call your doctor about the medicine.

Getting Started

Note: If you're breastfeeding, pregnant, or planning on becoming pregnant, talk with your doctor. He or she will talk with you about how to take your medicine while breastfeeding and might want to prescribe a different medicine if you're pregnant or become pregnant.

Follow these steps when you start an antidepressant medicine. These steps will help you succeed with treatment.

If you stop taking your medicine too soon, you increase your risk for becoming depressed again (known as a relapse.) Also, you might have side effects if you suddenly stop taking antidepressant medicine.

When to Talk With Your Doctor

Work closely with your doctor to make sure you have an antidepressant medicine that works well for you. Call your doctor any time you:

You also need regular follow-up with your doctor to talk about your medicine. Talk with your doctor about what kind of follow-up is right for you (by phone, secure message, or in person).

You should be in contact with your doctor:

For some people, tapering off medicine after 6 or 8 months is a good idea. People who have more severe or long-term depression should continue taking medicine for longer. Talk with your doctor about how long you should continue.

Clinical review by Greg Simon, MD
Group Health
Reviewed 03/01/2014