As with anxiolytics, the consumption of antidepressants has growing in recent years. The high consumption of these drugs are due to the increase in diagnosed cases of depression, a common mental illness affecting 300 million people in the world.
How do antidepressants work in the body?
Antidepressants are intended to correct chemical imbalances in the brain responsible for changes in mood and behaviour.
Antidepressants are used to combat the symptoms of moderate or deep depression, which can be prolonged sadness, loss of interest in life, inability to enjoy life, lack of concentration or insomnia.
Antidepressants are also indicated in other types of disorders like severe anxiety and panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder or post-traumatic stress.
There are almost 30 types of antidepressants, but they can be classified into 4 types:
-SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)
They are the most used and the first ones that are usually prescribed because they have fewer side effects than the other types. They act by inhibiting the serotonin reabsorption. Among these antidepressants we find fluoxetine (Prozac) and others such as paroxetine, sertraline or citalopram.
-SNRIs (Selective Serotonin and Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitors) In addition to inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, they also act on the noradrenaline, preventing its reuptake. Some examples are duloxetinala,
lavenlafaxine, desvenlafaxine, or levomilnacipran.
-Tricyclic. They act very similar to the previous two, but can affect
other neutransmitters, so they cause more side effects.
-MAOIs (Monoamine oxidase inhibitors). They are the least used by the
serious side effects that can occur, and because they interact with many medications, so they are only used in the most severe and resistant cases. This drug act blocking the effects of the monoamine oxidase, an enzyme that breaks down serotonin, epinephrine, and dopamine.
What is serotonin?
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, also known as 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT). It is found mainly in the brain, intestines and blood The body uses it to send messages between nerve cells.
Serotonin plays an important role in mood, emotions, appetite and digestion.
As a neurotransmitter, serotonin sends signals between nerve cells and regulates their intensity. Scientists, also believe that serotonin affects the functions of the whole body and may have an impact on cardiovascuar health, blood clotting, eye health, bone metabolism and neurological disorders.
Scientists don't know what are the exact causes of depression, but one theory is that it's due to an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the body.
Doctors commonly prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) as antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors cause the body to stop absorbing serotonin, leaving higher levels of serotonin to circulate.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors that have FDA approval to treat depression are:
• citalopram (Celexa)
• escitalopram (Lexapro)
• paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)
• sertraline (Zoloft)
• vilazodona (Viibryd)
What kind of antidepressants cause excessive sweating and why?
All classes of antidepressants can cause excessive sweating. Sweating is a common and bothersome side effect of antidepressant treatment. Tricyclics and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been clearly shown to cause sweating. They can also lead to night sweats and up to 22% of people taking antidepressants report these sweats as a side effect (especially sertraline and venlafaxine).
SSRIs produce an increase in serotonin in the brain. Serotonin affects both the hypothalamus, which sets our core temperature at which sweating occurs, and the spinal cord, which may lead to excessive sweating. Tricyclic and SNRI antidepressants cause more norepinephrine to float around the brain, which stimulates receptors (peripheral adrenergic receptors) that lead to sweating.
It is important to keep in mind that sometimes sweating from antidepressants, particularly those involving serotonin, can be a sign of a potentially lethal condition called serotonin syndrome. There is a higher risk if you are taking more than one medication that affects serotonin, or if another medication you take interacts with your antidepressant.
How do I stop sweating from antidepressants?
Anticholinergic medications could be used as a potential treatment for excessive sweating. In case reports, the anticholinergic drug benztropine has been successfully used to treat antidepressant-induced excessive sweating (Garber and Gregory, 1997; Feder and Guze, 2000). Other medications such as glycopyrrolate, oxybutynin, propanthelin and others have been successful in treating hyperhidrosis.
But the first-line treatment will always be the least invasive and with fewer side effects such as antiperspirants.
How to prevent night sweats?
Simple lifestyle changes can help you reduce night sweats.
1. Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake.
2. Avoid the use of tobacco and illegal drugs.
3. Keep your room at a comfortable temperature, cooler at night than during the day.
4. Don't exercise, eat spicy foods, or drink hot drinks too close to bedtime.
While we wait for the changes and medications to take effect, having a good antiperspirant like Duradry, can help achive full dryness in one week or less and will greatly relieve those discomforts caused by excess sweating.