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5 Things You Don’t Know About OCD Medication

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a mental health condition that can be debilitating depending on its severity.

Doctors tend to prescribe a cocktail of remedies for treating OCD, including medication and therapy.

New-age treatments which have gained widespread appeal as a counter to OCD medication now includes specialized BrainsWay TMS™  therapy.

BrainsWay TMS™ is the only FDA-cleared TMS treatment for OCD. This groundbreaking, innovative solution is safe, non-invasive, and efficacious.  

These specialized medical devices work to ‘realign’ neural activity in problematic areas of the brain.  

5 Things You Don’t Know About OCD Medication

The most commonly prescribed OCD medications include Luvox, Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Anafranil, Celexa, Effexor, and Lexapro. While certainly beneficial, they are not without side effects.  

Luvox – Fluvoxamine  

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) lists Fluvoxamine as a bona fide OCD treatment. However, as with any medication, there are rare/serious side effects and common side effects too.

The common side effects include perspiration, fatigue, anxiety, dry mouth, insomnia, diarrhea, and dizziness.

There are also rare side effects that can also be serious.

These include low sodium blood levels, seizure, vision problems, glaucoma, swelling, and serotonin syndrome. The latter condition can occur if Luvox is combined with other MAOIs.  

Prozac – Fluoxetine  

This antidepressant medication is FDA approved for MDD, PMDD, and OCD. With OCD, patients suffer from obsessions and compulsions.

These disturbing thoughts and ritualized actions characterize this mental health disorder.

The common side effects of fluoxetine include diarrhea, perspiration, fatigue, nausea, insomnia, dry mouth, and sexual dysfunction.

More serious side effects include increased risk of bleeding events when aspirin/anti-inflammatory drugs/anticoagulants are used.

Low sodium levels can lead to many complications including, glaucoma, inflammation, and serotonin syndrome.  

Paxil – Paroxetine  

This antidepressant medication is widely prescribed for social anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Common side effects of this medication include anxiousness, fatigue, insomnia, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, and nausea.

Rare side effects/serious side-effects include all maladies associated with low sodium blood levels.

Discontinuation syndrome of Paxil can lead to increased agitation, irritability, and disturbances. Serotonin syndrome and seizures can also result.

Glaucoma remains one of the most serious albeit rare sensory problems with Paxil.  

Zoloft – Sertraline  

This antidepressant medication works deep in the brain. It is used, like others in this list for treating post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Dosages of this medication range between 50 mg – 200 mg daily, depending on the severity and patient size.

The most commonly reported side effects of Zoloft include perspiration, headaches, dry mouth, nausea, and diarrhea.  

Patients can agonize through a variety of complications from taking this medication. These include all the maladies associated with low sodium blood levels.

Bleeding events are also possible with SSRI antidepressants such as Zoloft. Serotonin syndrome is equally important since this can result in confusion, pain, inflammation, anxiety, diarrhea, spasms, and possibly even death.

Increased risk of suicide is always a concern with many different types of antidepressants.

Celexa – Citalopram  

Citalopram is an antidepressant medication that is highly effective at treating major depressive disorder, and OCD. It’s available in multiple dosages, with tablets in 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg sizes.

The liquid citalopram is available in 10 mg/5 mL sizes. Commonly reported side effects such as dry mouth, fatigue, sweating, anxiety, headaches, nausea, and insomnia are known.

Rare side-effects include all the complications associated with low-sodium blood levels.

Symptoms such as an inability to remember, increased risk of bleeding, sore gums, and GI bleeding have been reported.

There are also indications that citalopram can lead to abnormal heart rhythms.  

5 Things You Don’t Know About OCD Medication

Effexor – Venlafaxine  

This antidepressant medication is also prescribed for GAD, MDD, and OCD.

Possible side effects of this medication include headaches and nausea, dry mouth, diarrhea, anxiety, sexual side effects, high blood pressure, and insomnia.

The serious side effects include serotonin syndrome which can result in death as a worst-case scenario and increased heart rate. As with other SSRIs and SNRIs, there is an increased risk of bleeding events.

It is important to avoid warfarin, ibuprofen, anticoagulants, and aspirin when taking Effexor.  

Lexapro – Escitalopram  

Lexapro is an antidepressant medication used for treating GAD, and MDD. It’s also widely prescribed for OCD.

Common side effects reported from taking Lexapro include dry mouth, headaches, nausea, constipation, city, irritability, and insomnia. Of course, sexual side effects are also common.

The serious side effects of Lexapro include the increased risk of bleeding events.

Any of the orifices can be affected, such as nose, mouth, ears, eyes, gums et cetera. Glaucoma and severe muscle tightness, seizure, shivering, confusion, and teeth grinding are possible because of low sodium levels. Any medication that is a blood-thinning agent such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or warfarin should be avoided.    

Therefore, the 5 things you don’t know about OCD medication include the following:

  1. Low-Sodium Blood Levels and associated conditions such as glaucoma, inflammation, vision problems, and teeth grinding
  2. Increased Risk of Bleeding Events through the nose, mouth, ears, gums and GI tract have been reported. 
  3. Sexual Dysfunction varies in severity from person to person
  4. Fatigue & Restlessness are common side effects with a wide variety of OCD medications, particularly SSRIs.
  5. Black Box Warnings – ironically, antidepressant medications can also increase the risk of suicide in patients. This is especially true of patients suffering from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Instances of suicidal thoughts are lower with OCD patients.

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