Medication Monday: Levomilnacipran

Hello everyone. I hope you had a restful self-care Saturday and Sunday, but it is now Monday, which means that it is time once again for Medication Monday, the weekly series that discusses some of the mental health medications currently available. This week we are talking about the antidepressant levomilnacipran, which may also go by the brand name Fetzima.

Levomilnacipran is an antidepressant approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). As I’ve noted before, MDD is not the same as bipolar depression, and the use of antidepressants meant specifically for MDD can exacerbate the manic sides of bipolar depression. And as with most antidepressants, you should not stop taking levomilnacipran suddenly, as doing so may exacerbate the underlying depression and may cause symptoms of withdrawal. This is true even if you feel like it is not working right away, since levomilnacipran, like most mental health medications, can take a week or two to work.

As with most medications, levomilnacipran also has some notable side effects. These include constipation, decreased appetite, difficulty urinating, increased heart rate, increased sweating, nausea, orthostatic hypotension, sexual side effects, vomiting, palpitations. In rare situations, it can also cause serotonin syndrome, increased blood pressure, low sodium, weakness, headache, changes in vision, and swelling or redness around the eye. 

If you have concerns about these side effects, you should discuss them with your doctor. As I have said before and will continue to say, Medication Monday is not a substitute for medical advice, but rather a brief, informative introduction to the various mental health medications currently available. While you health care provider will have prescribed levomilnacipran because they believe it the best treatment option for your case, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be educated and able to speak knowledgeably with your doctor about the prescription. And hopefully, this post and the other posts in this series have helped you do that.

And as always, thanks for reading.

 

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