Side effects of antidepressants

The side effects of antidepressants can cause problems at first but then generally improve with time. Some of the more common side effects of the main types of antidepressants are outlined below. For more information about side effects of your specific medication, see the patient information leaflet that comes with it or look up your medicine in the Medicines A-Z.

SSRIs and SNRIs

Common side effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) can include:

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)


Common side effects of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) can include:

MAOIs

Common side effects of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) can include:

In rare cases, MAOIs have the potential to cause a wide range of other side effects. You should check with your GP or mental health specialist if you are concerned about any unusual symptoms that you have.

There have been cases where MAOIs have caused a dangerous rise in blood pressure. This can cause symptoms such as:

Potential health risks


Serotonin syndrome

Serotonin syndrome is an uncommon, but potentially serious, set of side effects linked to SSRIs and SNRIs.

Hyponatraemia

Elderly people who take antidepressants, particularly those who take SSRIs, may experience a severe fall in sodium (salt) levels known as hyponatraemia. This may lead to a build-up of fluid inside the cells of the body, which can be potentially dangerous.

Diabetes: Long-term use of SSRIs and TCAs has been linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.