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A-Z of Drugs

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A-Z of drugs

 of Drugs

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SSRI's

Also known as:

Pros, happy pills, bottled smiles, Citalopram (Cipramil), fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine (Faverin), paroxatine (Seroxat), and sertraline (Lustral).

SSRI's and the law

SSRI's are legal when prescribed under prescription.   However, supply or possession with intent to supply is illegal and Class C penalties apply.

What are SSRI's?

SSRI's are prescribed for anxiety related illnesses, depression, and other problems such as bulimia, obesity and alcoholism.   Prozac is the most commonly supplied SSRI.  

What do they look like?

SSRI's comes in many forms.   For example Prozac can come in the form of a capsule, tablet, and liquid.

How are they used?

SSRI's are taken by mouth. Fluoxetine (prozac) oral liquid comes with a specially marked dropper for measuring the dose.    To take this the user would need to dilute the liquid in 4 ounces (120 ml) of water or apple juice just before taking it.

What are the effects?

After taking the drug increased serotonin levels in the brain cause an elevation of mood for the user. The drug does have some side effects although these are considered to be milder than most other drugs.   For example, it may cause nausea, headache, insomnia, dry mouth, loss of appetite, agitation, fatigue and sexual dysfunction.

When do the effects start and how long do they last?

The effects of the pill start about 14 days after the course begins and can last for the length of the course prescribed.

What are the risks?

Stopping the drug without a gradual reduction will make levels of serotonin drop fairly quickly causing severe anxiety, especially if psychological problems are still present.   SSRI's should not be taken with monoamine oxydase inhibitors (MOIA's) such as Manerix, Nardil or Pernate as this will cause serotonin in the body to increase to dangerously high levels causing blackouts and sickness.

There are reports that SSRI's have been linked to suicide, particularly in children but this is highly controversial and is in need of further investigation.

Are they addictive?

Withdrawal from taking SSRI's may be very difficult for many people.   Sometimes this can be worse than the initial feelings of anxiety.

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Stoke-on-Trent Drug and Alcohol Action Team, First Floor, Civic Centre, Glebe St, Stoke on Trent, ST4 1WR
Tel: 01782 235708 . Fax: 01782 235003 . E-mail: drugactionteam@stoke.gov.uk