Mirtazapine is a medication prescribed for mental depression. This drug treats depression by increasing serotonin and norephinephrin neurotransmission in the brain through an alpha 2 adrenoreceptor block. Mirtazapine also inhibits acetyl choline and histamine receptors. This is the cause for its side effects. Main side effects are weight gain and dry mouth.
What the doctor should know before prescribing Mirtazapine?
If the patient has heart problems, low blood pressure, urinary retention, increased eye pressure, diabetes mellitus, psychotic disorders, history of seizures, bipolar disorder, kidney diseases or liver diseases then he/she must discuss with the doctor before taking Mirtazapine.
The doctor should know if the patient is pregnant or breast feeding as well. Senior citizens may not tolerate this medication as well, due to its antimuscarinic side effects.
Before prescribing this medication, the doctor should know the patients complete medications history including all over the counter drugs and the herbal medications he/she is currently on.
How should the patient take it?
Mirtazapine is available as tablets; it should be taken as a whole without crushing with a full glass of water to minimize side effects. Also It can be taken without regard to the meals.
What are things patients should know?
This medication is known to cause serious reduction of the white blood cell counts. So patients are advised to report any fever, sore throat, or other signs of infections to the doctor immediately.
Mirtazapine is known to cause problems, if the drug has withdrawn abruptly. They include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, agitation, anxiety and headache. So do not stop the drug without counseling your doctor. If needed, the doctor will stop this drug gradually over several weeks. Do not share this medication with anyone. Take this medication according to the advice.
What are the common side effects?
Antimuscarinic side effects such as dry mouth, blurred vision, urine retention, and increased heart rate are common, especially early in the drug treatment. These side effects gradually disappear after some time.
Drowsiness is also another side effect, especially early in the treatment. So patient must not drive vehicles or operate machinery during the course of the treatment. But they can do these activities once the side effects are significantly lowered over the time. Also taking alcoholic beverages can increase the side effects.
Postural hypotension is another troublesome side effect, especially in the elderly patients. So the patient must not get up from the bed quickly, after getting up from the sleep. They should first sit in the bed, and then gradually get up from the bed.
What are other side effects?
Tremor, edema, dizziness, abnormal dreams, confusion, anxiety, insomnia, muscle and joint pains are reported in some patients. Rarely patients can complain hallucinations, movement problems, syncope and mania.