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Differences Between SSRIs and SNRIs


Being depressed is nothing new. It is just natural to feel a little down at times due to unpleasant situations. All people of any age can experience sadness or depression. A child may be depressed over his broken, favorite toy. The child expresses his grief through an irritating cry. A teenager may be depressed over her frustrated puppy love. She exemplifies her depression through tears and excessive eating. An adult may be depressed over his unsuccessful work. He manages it through drinking. An elderly person may be depressed over the death of his spouse. She may demonstrate her depression through busying herself on worthwhile activities.

You can overcome depression as long as you have the faculties to let it all out. However, if you are depressed for a long time and any comforting isn’t enough, maybe you have to discuss this matter with your doctor. Your doctor might prescribe for you an anti-depression medication like an SSRI or an SNRI. Read on to learn the differences between SSRIs and SNRIs.

SSRIs, or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, are medications intended for the treatment of depression and panic attacks. These medications may also be used for the prevention of migraine occurrences since studies have shown that most people who are SSRI users for about 3-4 weeks have fewer incidences of migraine attacks. The dosage of this medication largely varies for each person.

The main task of SSRIs is to change the levels of our brain chemicals: norepinephrine and serotonin. These brain chemicals are the culprits for having depression and headaches. With the intake of SSRIs, the frequency, severity, and duration of our headache or migraine will be alleviated.

Before taking SSRIs, tell your doctor the medications you are currently taking. Why? Because there can be possible drug interactions that might cause very serious effects on your health, or at worst, death. SSRIs should not be taken with Nardil, Marplan, Parnate, and Fastin.

However, if you take SSRIs, there may be possible side effects. This includes a decrease in appetite. If previously you were having second scoops of rice, you may dislike the possibility of not having seconds. Other side effects can be difficulty in sleeping, restlessness, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, sexual dysfunction, and headaches. I thought SSRIs were meant to prevent headaches and migraines? SSRIs will cause you headaches which are milder than the ones they need to prevent. Since you are introducing a new type of medication to your body, it will attempt to adjust to its side effects. To be safe, if you experience any of these side effects, consult your doctor immediately.

SNRIs are Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors. Like SSRIs, these medications are effective against depression symptoms and even anxiety. These medications work through blocking the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. SNRIs bind to the transporters of these brain chemicals on the presynaptic cells. Examples of SNRIs are: Venlafaxine (Effexor), Bupropion (Wellbutrin), and Duloxetine (Cymbalta).

Unlike SSRIs, SNRIs only produce similar but minimal side effects. When it comes to sexual dysfunction and weight gain, Bupropion and Duloxetine only cause minimal side effects. Other side effects of SSRIs include: dry mouth, constipation, high blood pressure, excessive sweating, tachycardia, heart palpitations, difficulty in urination, tremors, and blurred vision. If any of these side effects occur, consult your doctor immediately.

Here are some special considerations when taking SSRIs. If you are pregnant, ask your doctor about the risks to your unborn baby. SSRIs may have some effects on your pregnancy. It may affect the growth and development of your baby. When you are taking other medications aside from SSRIs, inform your doctor because there can be possible drug interactions that can be dangerous to your health. Be sure to reveal everything to your doctor when he takes your health history.


  1. SSRIs and SNRIs are anti-depression medications.

  2. SSRIs mainly inhibit the brain chemical, serotonin, while SNRIs can inhibit serotonin and norepinephrine.

  3. Before taking SSRIs or SNRIs, consult a doctor.

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