Nefazodone

Brand names of nefazodone

  • Lin-Nefazodone
  • Serzone

Nefazodone is a prescription drug that is prescribed to treat depression. This medication is taken orally and it has an effect on the natural chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain that are used by the nerves to communicate with each other. The neurotransmitters released by the nerves in the brain are once again taken up by the nerves, which release them for re-utilization. Several experts are of the view that depression is a result of any imbalance in the amount of neurotransmitters that are released by the nerves.

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The anti-depressant drug nefazodone acts by slowing down the uptake or re-absorption of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine by the nerves. As a result of this action, additional serotonin and norepinephrine are able to send signals to the other nerves. Chemically, this drug is not related to the class of drugs called serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors or the tricyclic anti-depressants. On the other hand, nefazodone is chemically related to a different antidepressant called trazodone (Desyrel) and the actions of both these drugs are common. This medication was approved for sale and common use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 1994.

Things you need to tell your physician before taking nefazodone

As in the case of beginning treatment with any prescription drug, before you start taking nefazodone, it is essential that you tell certain things to your physician or pharmacist, especially if you have allergic reactions to this drug, any of its ingredients or have any other form of allergy. This drug is likely to enclose a number of inactive elements that may result in allergic reactions or different other problems. Therefore, if you are not certain about the ingredients contained in nefazodone, ask your pharmacist to provide you with a list for the same.

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Prior to using nefazodone, you must tell your physician or pharmacist regarding your entire medical history, particularly if you ever had or have any liver ailment; seizures; any personal or family history of suicide attempts; a personal or family history of psychiatric disorder, such as bipolar/manic-depressive disorder; loss of excessive body water or dehydration; intestinal ulcers bleeding, such as peptic ulcer disease; and/ or heart/blood vessel ailments, such as a history of heart attack and/ or stroke.

If you are taking this medication and need to undergo any surgery, including dental surgery, you should tell your surgeon/ dentist beforehand that you are using nefazodone. In addition, you also need to tell them about all the prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbal products and dietary supplements you are already using.

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People using nefazodone ought to exercise additional caution because this drug has the potential to make them feel lightheaded and/ or drowsy. Therefore, it is advisable that they should not undertake any task that may require clear vision or alertness, such as driving or operating a machine, till they are certain about the effects of the drug on them and until they can perform these tasks safely.

In addition, people undergoing treatment should avoid alcoholic beverages as it may result in liver ailments, besides worsening the dizziness and drowsiness. Elderly people taking nefazodone should exercise additional caution as this drug may make them more susceptible to its adverse effects, particularly bleeding, drowsiness and dizziness.

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This drug should be given to pregnant women only when it is absolutely necessary for their condition. Pregnant women who intend to take nefazodone ought to consult their physician regarding the advantages as well as the risks of taking this drug during pregnancy. While it is yet to be ascertained whether nefazodone passes onto the breast milk, it is advised that new mothers taking this drug should talk to their physician prior to breast-feeding.

Usage

Nefazodone is prescribed for treating the symptoms of severe depression. Owing to the perils of developing liver ailment, this anti-depressant drug is generally used when all other antidepressants have failed to yield the desired results. Nefazodone acts by assisting in reinstating the balance of specific natural chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters, especially serotonin and norepinephrine.

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How to use nefazodone

Before you start using nefazodone and every time you get a refill of the drug, you should carefully read the Medication Guide as well as the Patient Information Leaflet that your pharmacist has provided you. In case you are unable to comprehend anything or have any query, talk to your physician or pharmacist. This medication should be taken orally either with or without food, generally twice every day or as instructed by your physician. The dosage of this medication is largely dependent on the medical condition of the patient and his/ her response to the therapy. Usually, your physician will start your treatment with nefazodone at a low dose and gradually increase it.

It is important that you always take nefazodone strictly according to your physician's prescription. Never take this medication in overdose or for a longer period than what has been prescribed. Doing either will not help to improve your condition sooner, but may increase the risks of developing severe side effects. In order to obtain the utmost benefits of taking nefazodone, use it on a regular basis and take the medication at the same time(s) every day, as it will help you not to miss a dose. Even if you start feeling better after taking this medication for quite some time, do not stop taking it. You need to take nefazodone for the entire prescribed period. Most importantly, do not discontinue the medication without the consent of your physician.

In case you forget taking a dose of the medication, take it immediately when you remember. However, when it is already time for the subsequent dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Never take a double dose to make up for the missed dose.

The benefits of taking nefazodone are not evident immediately, but it usually takes many weeks before the effects of the drug can be noticed. Contact your physician if your condition remains the same or worsens even after taking the medication for some time.

It is advisable that you do not share nefazodone with any other person. In addition, you need to take regular psychiatric and medical tests like laboratory examinations to monitor the functioning of your liver. The check-ups are also necessary to detect if you have developed any side effects from using the medication. So it is important that you keep all your appointments with your physician and laboratory. Talk to your physician for further details.

How nefazodone works

The antidepressant drug nefazodone has an effect on the levels of norepinephrine and serotonin - neurotransmitters or natural chemicals found in the brain that are used by nerves to communicate with one another. It is understood that these neurotransmitters are responsible for an individual's mood, mental condition as well as emotions.

Side effects

Serious:
Common:
Less common:

Possible interactions

Herbal medicines or minerals:
It has been found that using nefazodone and St. John's wort in conjunction usually works to augment serotonin; it is advisable that you avoid this combination. In addition, using St. John's wort with this drug may further worsen the sensitivity to sunlight. As ginseng partially works in the form of an MAO inhibitor, never use the combination of nefazodone and this herb. People undergoing treatment with nefazodone would be better off if they keep away from using herbs like ma huang, Indian snakeroot and yohimbe. On the other hand, using the herbs kava kava and valerian in combination with nefazodone is likely to worsen the drowsiness of the patient. It may be noted that the FDA has only permitted the sale of one dietary supplement named Cholestin, which actually encloses lovastatin. As using nefazodone along with an HMG-CoA inhibitor may possibly augment the chances of developing rhabdomyolysis or myopathy, it is advisable that you never use this combination.
Beverages:
People undergoing treatment with nefazodone should avoid drinking grapefruit juice as it may result in toxicity.
Alcohol:
Consumption of alcoholic beverages while taking nefazodone is not advisable.
Exposure to sun:
If you are taking the antidepressant drug nefazodone, you need to exercise caution while going out in the sun for this drug may cause photosensitivity.

Discontinuation

You should never stop taking nefazodone all of a sudden or without the consent of your physician.

Storage instructions

Nefazodone should always be stored at room temperature between 20°C and 25°C and in a dark and dry place. While you should never keep nefazodone in the bathroom, always store all medications in such a place that is beyond the reach of children and pets.

Unless instructed otherwise, when any medication becomes outdated or is needed no longer do not discard it by flushing down the toilet or pouring it into a drain. It is important that you dispose of all such medications in an appropriate and safe manner. If required, talk to your pharmacist or any neighbourhood waste disposal company regarding the proper and safe manner to discard the unwanted medications.

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