Antidepressants

Clinical characteristic

This class of drugs includes drugs that increase the pathological hypothymic affect, as well as reducing somatovegetative disorders due to depression. Currently, more and more scientific evidence suggests that antidepressants are effective in anxiety-phobic and obsessive-compulsive disorders. It is assumed that in these cases it is not the antidepressive proper that is realized, but the anti-obsessive and anti-phobic effects. There is evidence of the ability of many antidepressants to increase the threshold of pain sensitivity, to have a preventive effect in migraines and vegetative crises.

Side effects

Side effects related to the central nervous system and the autonomic nervous system are expressed by dizziness, tremor, dysarthria, a disturbance of consciousness in the form of delirium, epileptiform seizures. Exacerbation of anxious disorders, activation of suicidal tendencies, inversion of affect, drowsiness or, on the contrary, insomnia are possible. Side effects can occur hypotension, sinus tachycardia, arrhythmia, impaired atrioventricular conductivity.

When taking tricyclic antidepressants are often observed a variety of anticholinergic phenomena, as well as increased appetite. With the simultaneous use of MAO inhibitors with food products containing tyramine or its predecessor, tyrosine (cheeses, etc.), a “cheese effect” occurs, manifested by hypertension, hyperthermia, seizures, and sometimes fatal.

When prescribing serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and reversible MAO-A inhibitors, there may be disturbances in the activity of the gastrointestinal tract, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, and against the background of SSRIs, impotence may develop. In the case of a combination of SSRIs with tricyclic group preparations, the formation of the so-called serotonin syndrome is possible, manifested by fever and signs of intoxication.

Mood stabilizers

Clinical characteristic. To mood stabilizers include means that regulate affective manifestations and have a prophylactic effect during a phase of affective psychosis. Some of these drugs are anticonvulsants.

Side effects when using lithium salts are most often represented by tremor. Often there are dysfunctions of the gastrointestinal tract – nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea. Weight gain, polydipsia, polyuria, hypothyroidism are often observed. Acne, maculo-papular rash, alopecia, and worsening of the course of psoriasis are possible.

Signs of severe toxic states and overdose of the drug are metallic taste in the mouth, thirst, pronounced tremor, dysarthria, ataxia; in these cases, the drug should be stopped immediately.

It should also be noted that the side effects may be associated with non-compliance with the dietary regime – a large intake of liquid, salt, smoked meats, cheeses.

Side effects of anticonvulsants are most often associated with functional disorders of the central nervous system and are manifested in the form of lethargy, drowsiness, ataxia. Hyperreflexia, myoclonus, and tremor may occur much less frequently. The severity of these phenomena is significantly reduced with a gradual increase in doses.

With a pronounced cardiotoxic effect, an atrioventricular block may develop.

Nootropics

Clinical characteristic. Nootropics include drugs that can positively influence cognitive functions, stimulate learning, enhance memory processes, increase brain resistance to various adverse factors (in particular, to hypoxia) and extreme loads. However, they do not have a direct stimulating effect on mental activity, although in some cases they can cause anxiety and sleep disturbance.

Side effects are rarely observed. Sometimes nervousness, irritability, elements of psychomotor excitement and disinhibition of impulses, as well as anxiety and insomnia appear. Dizziness, headache, nausea and abdominal pain are possible.

Psychostimulants

Clinical characteristic. As the name of the class suggests, it includes psychotropic drugs that increase the level of wakefulness, have a stimulating effect on mental and physical activity, temporarily increase mental and physical performance and endurance, and reduce the feeling of tiredness and drowsiness.

Side effects are mainly associated with effects on the CNS (tremor, euphoria, insomnia, irritability, headaches, signs of psychomotor agitation) and the autonomic nervous system (sweating, dry mucous membranes, anorexia). In addition, there may be disorders of cardiovascular activity (arrhythmia, tachycardia, increased blood pressure), as well as changes in the body’s sensitivity to insulin in patients with diabetes. Prolonged and frequent use of stimulants can lead to the development of mental and physical dependence.

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