SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are the most commonly prescribed of all antidepressant drugs. They include citalopram (brand name Celexa), paroxetine (>Paxil), fluoxetine (>Prozac), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluvoxamine (Luvox), and sertraline (>Zoloft). Doctors also prescribe SSRIs for people with other conditions including anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and certain types of nerve pain.
Stopping SSRIs suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, sweating, flu-like symptoms, sleep disturbances, anxiety, tremor, and irritability. These problems affect up to 31 percent of people who suddenly stop taking SSRIs. Withdrawal symptoms are most common with paroxetine, and less common with sertraline. Fluoxetine does not cause these withdrawal symptoms, because it remains in the body for a long time after you stop taking it.
You'll usually notice withdrawal symptoms one to three days after your last dose of an SSRI, and they may last for up to two weeks. Slowly decreasing your drug dose over the final one or two weeks you take it may help decrease or prevent some of these unpleasant effects. Talk to your doctor before you stop taking an SSRI. Your doctor can determine if it's appropriate for you to quit taking the medicine and help you minimize the risk of withdrawal symptoms. Children may have an increased risk of suicide while taking antidepressants. Be sure you talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of taking or withdrawing antidepressants.
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