In this blog post, we are going to talk about the safety and efficacy of mirtazapine in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Mirtazapine is an antidepressant in nature, but it can be used for other health conditions as well.
This blog will cover the role of mirtazapine in the management of OCD. We will also talk about what OCD is and how it can affect you.
Can mirtazapine be used for the treatment of OCD?
Yes, mirtazapine can be used for the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). This antidepressant has shown to be efficient in the management of symptoms associated with OCD and helped many patients recover from this mental illness.
However, it is not recommended to start using mirtazapine for OCD without your doctor’s approval.
What data do we have from research studies?
Many researchers have come forward and performed multiple trials to completely understand the efficacy of mirtazapine in the treatment and management of OCD.
A 2005 study included 30 participants and divided them into two groups, one control group and the other group was treated with mirtazapine. All 30 participants had symptomatic OCD and they had not taken any medication for the treatment of this condition.
The initial dose of mirtazapine was 30mg, which was later escalated to 60mg per day. After a 12-15 weeks trial, it was concluded that the group taking mirtazapine showed significant improvement in their obsessive behaviour and intrusive thoughts.
This indicates that mirtazapine is indeed an effective option for the treatment and management of OCD. A recent 2022 clinical trial included OCD patients who failed to achieve any therapeutic outcome after being treated with only sertraline.
The researchers added mirtazapine in their treatment regimen. Again the participants were divided into two groups: control ( and test (Mirtazapine) group.
The participants included in the control group only received sertraline, whereas the participants in the test group received the combination therapy of sertraline and mirtazapine.
The doses were carefully determined in order to minimise the side effects and maximise the beneficial effects. After a few weeks of study, the results started to show up. It was observed that the test group, the one receiving mirtazapine along with sertraline, showed more therapeutic results.
The participants of this group experienced significant improvement in their symptoms while the improvement in the control group was limited. This indicates that the addition of mirtazapine can enhance the effects of sertraline for the treatment and management of OCD.
Another research review included all the possible drugs used for the treatment of OCD and included mirtazapine in that list, along with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and some other classes of antidepressants.
This indicates that there is clinical evidence that backs up the beneficial effects of mirtazapine for OCD. Another 2009 study investigated the effects of mirtazapine.
The study concluded that mirtazapine is a powerful antidepressant and can help to counteract the symptoms associated with obsessive compulsive disorder. Not just this, it can be also used for post traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, and social anxiety disorder etc.
It can also be added in the treatment regimen of schizophrenia. The same study also revealed how mirtazapine has a faster onset of action as compared to SSRIs. Mirtazapine can start working in about 2 weeks, whereas SSRIs may take up to 6 weeks to kick in.
This difference between the onsets of action have given mirtazapine a head start. Some experts believe that mirtazapine pairs excellently with SSRIs and can provide promising results.
However, not every antidepressant fits the physiological composition of every other individual. Some people may not be able to tolerate mirtazapine that well and may end up discontinuing the treatment with this antidepressant.
Make sure you only use this medication or any other antidepressant if your healthcare provider has prescribed it. Do not opt for self medication.
What actual people have experienced so far?
Many people have revealed how mirtazapine helped save their lives and made them feel like themselves again. It is a known fact that obsessive compulsive disorder is a nerve-racking condition.
As this disease progresses, it starts changing your personality and makes you feel like an entirely different person. Erica, a long term user of mirtazapine stated:
“I have been battling with depression since i was a child, but it never got so bad and usually went away with simple home remedies. When it got worse, I consulted a doctor, but wow! Antidepressants are hard, aren’t they? I tried and switched antidepressants for almost 8 times, yes!”
She further stated:
“My mother got concerned with the fact that no antidepressant works for me as many people have gained benefits from antidepressants that I couldn’t seem to bear. This made my mom suggest to me another psychiatrist. Going to that new doctor was at first a little awkward for me as I don’t like to change the way things usually are, but I did.”
“The new doctor told me that I don’t actually have depression, but an undiagnosed and severely progressed OCD. He put me on mirtazapine 30mg at first and then increased my dose after 2 weeks, and wow! The drug changed my entire personality, fixed it actually. I started feeling myself again and my life changed.”
It’s good to see how Erica finally got diagnosed properly and started the medication that suited her condition best. Misdiagnosis is one of the common problems. You can’t expect to treat your condition if you’re not certain what’s actually happening with you. Another user stated:
“Mirtazapine has worked wonders for me. I was always scared of meds, but I had to start because my OCD kept getting worse. I had a little knowledge about ADs, but I didn’t know mirtazapine can be used for OCD. I did use it and it worked amazingly well for me.”
This is another good review. People usually are scared of antidepressants because they’re famous for the side effects they produce. However, the benefit-risk ratio is what matters the most.
If a couple of months of upset stomach or headaches can save you from a nerve-racking mental health condition then I don’t think it’s really a bad deal. However, antidepressants don’t work well for everyone. Another user, 40-year old Adam, stated:
“Using mirtazapine was a nightmare for me. I think that drug somehow deceived me. At first, it started to tone down my OCD. I felt better, slept better, and my appetite got better, but as my body got used to mirtazapine, it just stopped working.”
“Out of nowhere, one morning, it just stopped working. I went to my doctor. He increased my dose and I felt a little more side effects, but I did not give up as I was eager to get rid of my OCD. It did work for a few weeks, but then it stopped again. It happened two more times until I could no longer go to a higher dose. So disappointed.”
This review tells us how these meds work differently in different individuals. In some people, even low doses are enough to produce noticeable effects, while other people keep increasing their doses to gain more therapeutic advantage.
However, you can only increase your antidepressant dose to a certain limit. Higher doses are associated with more pronounced side effects. Too much serotonergic activity can also give rise to a number of problems like serotonin syndrome.
Make sure you stick to your doctor’s recommended dose. If mirtazapine has stopped working, just go ask your healthcare provider what to do next. Never increase your dose on your own.
What actually is obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)?
Obsessive compulsive disorder is a condition characterised by troublesome thoughts that won’t go away, no matter what you do, and a weird urge to do things over and over again. Many people suffering from OCD experience obsessive self hygiene patterns.
They would go over and over again to wash their hands and even take repeated showers. Such people follow a certain pattern and obsessively stick to it.
The most disturbing thing that people with OCD go through is the voices in their heads. Such people are subjected to intrusive thoughts, which can get extremely bizarre. These include:
- Thoughts related to self harm: People suffering from OCD might think of ending their lives in gruesome ways.
- Thoughts of harming your loved ones: Some people suffer from disturbing thoughts of killing their own children, parents, friends or spouses.
- Intrusive thoughts related to sexual desire: People might feel like engaging in sexual activites with inappropriate relations like siblings, children, relatives etc.
In this blog post, we have talked about the safety and efficacy of mirtazapine for the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder. OCD is a condition characterised by troublesome thoughts that won’t go away, no matter what you do, and a weird urge to do things over and over again.
We have shed some light on research studies which have properly explained the role of mirtazapine in the treatment of OCD. Many clinical trials were carried out to determine the exact dose with maximum therapeutic response and minimum side effects.
FAQs: mirtazapine ocd
How much mirtazapine should I take for OCD?
Mirtazapine is usually started from 30mg per day for the treatment and management of OCD. However, the dose is later escalated, most commonly to 60mg per day. However, the exact dose varies from person to person. People with severe OCD may end up on higher doses as compared to people who have controlled OCD. Severe or drug resistant OCD can be treated by pairing mirtazapine with some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).
What is the best medication to treat OCD?
The most effective medications for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are antidepressants, which belong to the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Examples include Lexapro (Escitalopram), Zoloft (Sertraline), Celexa (Citalopram), Prozac (Fluoxetine) and Paxil (Paroxetine). Other classes of antidepressants are also used, like Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and atypical antidepressants like mirtazapine.
Does mirtazapine reduce anxiety?
Yes, mirtazapine can be used to tone down anxiety disorders, like post traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, and social anxiety disorder. Make sure you only use this medication if prescribed by your healthcare provider.
How long does it take for mirtazapine to work for anxiety?
Mirtazapine may take up to 2-3 weeks to kick in. This onset of action of mirtazapine is much faster than other antidepressants like SSRIs, SNRIs etc. However, benzodiazepines provide immediate relief in anxiety with their rapid onset of action.
Does Remeron help OCD?
Yes, remeron can be used for the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). This antidepressant has shown to be efficient in the management of symptoms associated with OCD and helped many patients recover from this condition. However, it is not recommended to start using remeron for OCD without your doctor’s approval.
- Lorrin M Koran et al. J Clin Psychiatry. (2005) – Mirtazapine for obsessive-compulsive disorder: an open trial followed by double-blind discontinuation https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15816795/#:~:text=Conclusion%3A%20Mirtazapine%20may%20be%20an,blind%20studies%20would%20be%20indicated.
- L M Koran et al. J Clin Psychopharmacol. (2001) – Mirtazapine treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11593084/
- Arash Mowla et al. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. (2022) – Is mirtazapine augmentation effective for patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder who failed to respond to sertraline monotherapy? A placebo-controlled, double-blind, clinical trial https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35695582/
- Christopher Pittenger, MD, Ph.D. and Michael H. Bloch, MD, MS – Pharmacological treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4143776/
- Katherine F Croom et al. CNS Drugs. (2009) – Mirtazapine: a review of its use in major depression and other psychiatric disorders https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19453203/