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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the difference between SSRI and SNRI?

    I had a major breakdown last year in August and since then my psychiatrist has been trying to find the right meds for me. I have tried 3 types of SNRI effexor xr 300mg pristiq 50mg and currently Im on cymbalta 180mg. None of them work for me cymbalta is the only one I noticed a positive change but it has stopped working and now I suffer from extreme fatigue.

    My psych wants to switch me to Lexapro next week but I haven't read many positive reviews about this drug.

    I'm just wondering if the SNRIs don't work for me will I have a better chance with the SSRI??

    Please help me I am at the end of my teather with meds
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  • My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    SSRI = Specific Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor.

    SNRI = Serotonin and Noradrenaline (sometimes called Norepinephrine) Reuptake Inhibitor.

    Serotonin and Noradrenaline are neurotransmittors - their job is to “send a message” across the gap (the “synapse”) between one neuron and another in the brain.

    There is fairly convincing evidence that low levels of one or both of these neurotransmittors are often causally associated with depression - that is why SSRIs and/or SNRIs can be effective medications - they (in effect) increase the levels of these neurotransmittors.

    But, because the neurophysiology of depression is poorly understood, matching the “right” SSRI/SNRI  to the “right” person is more an art than a science - it is sometimes called “being on the medi-go-round”.

    Also, bear in mind that anti-depressants generally take a while (weeks to months) to kick in fully.

    I hope that you and your psychiatrist can work together to find one which works for you :-).

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