How long does mirtazapine take to work?

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In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “How long does mirtazapine take to work?”. Mirtazapine is an antidepressant which is used to treat a number of mental health related problems. 

However, this medicine may take some time to work. This blog will cover all there is to know about the beneficial effects of mirtazapine. We will also discuss some tips to ensure the proper use of this medication. 

How long does mirtazapine take to work?

Mirtazapine usually takes up to 2-4 weeks to start producing its beneficial effects. This time period is taken because this antidepressant changes the amount of excitatory neurotransmitters in your brain and it can not happen overnight. 

Once your antidepressant starts working, It improves sleep quality, increases appetite, boosts energy levels, reduces the frequency of panic attacks and much more. Anxiety and depression do not progress overnight. 

These health conditions gradually start deteriorating your mental health and with time your symptoms become much worse and you start needing the actual antidepressant treatment. Similarly, the treatment also takes time to produce the beneficial effects.

When you take your first ever mirtazapine dose, your body does not recognize it. The drug is new to your entire system and some time is taken by your body to adapt to the presence of the med. 

This is exactly why your antidepressant may make you feel worse before they make you feel better. Side effects appear way earlier than the beneficial effects. Make sure you report to your healthcare provider if you suffer from any unusual side effects. 

Why is mirtazapine prescribed?

Mirtazapine (Brand name: Remeron) is an antidepressant. It does not belong to any typical class of antidepressants and its mechanism of action is different from SSRIs and SNRIs. It does not block the reuptake of serotonin by any pathway. 

Mirtazapine (Remeron) belongs to the tetracyclic antidepressants. It has a dual mode of action. Mirtazapine is believed to be responsible for the activation of 5-HT1 receptors, which are one of the serotonin receptors. This antidepressant also acts on the noradrenergic system. 

Experts believe that remeron enhances the stimulatory action of the noradrenergic system which increases the secretion of serotonin. It also prevents the inhibitory action of the noradrenergic system which hinders the release of serotonin. 

This way, it actively increases the amount of this excitatory neurotransmitter in your system. Mirtazapine is used for the treatment of the following conditions:

Depression 

Mirtazapine is used in the treatment of mild to major depression disorder (MDD). It is a state of mind which is concerned with disturbing thoughts, especially about one’s self. 

It is associated with symptoms like hopelessness, tearfulness and emptiness. Depression is caused by the deficiency of excitatory neurotransmitters. 

Mirtazapine increases the amount of active serotonin to help relieve the symptoms of depression. Serotonin is an excitatory neurotransmitter responsible for modulating mood, cognition, reward, learning, memory, and various other psychological processes. 

Anxiety 

Mirtazapine is also used to treat generalised anxiety disorder. As the name implies, this mental health condition is associated with general worry or anxiety about pretty much everything without having any logical reason. 

People suffering from GAD worry about small matters related to family, friends, relationships, study, work, health, wealth etc. 

Treatment resistant depression 

Treatment resistant depression is the kind of depression that does not go away after typical antidepressant treatment. Experts believe that mirtazapine is a good option to treat depression that has been resistant to normal SSRI or SNRI treatment. 

Depression in elderly patients

Mirtazapine has been a good antidepressant to treat depression and the disturbing symptoms associated with it in geriatric population. The drug seems to control mood problems quite well in such patients. 

Post-operative nausea

Mirtazapine can also be used to help control nausea that usually becomes a problem after operative procedures. 

Alcohol dependence

Mirtazapine can also be used to control alcohol dependence or alcoholism. Its mode of action in this case is still a topic of research and so is its safety and efficacy. However, it is not recommended to take mirtazapine with alcohol as the two don’t pair that well together. 

Insomnia or inability to fall asleep 

Mirtazapine can significantly help improve your sleep cycle by providing relief in the disturbances that might occur when you try to fall asleep. It also increases the duration of your sleep and reduces the frequency of nighttime wakefulness, especially in people who have insomnia comorbid with depression. 

Neuropathic pain

Mirtazapine can also be used for neuropathic pain. The med can significantly reduce the intensity of this throbbing kind of pain and increase the frequency of pain-free episodes. 

Inability to feel hungry/hunger suppression

Mirtazapine can be used to boost appetite in people who are not always hungry. Several studies revealed that mirtazapine can significantly help people with anorexia nervosa. However, when the drug is solely used for the treatment of depression, it may make you gain weight as a side effect. 

What are the side effects associated with the use of mirtazapine?

The common side effects of mirtazapine include:

  • Sleepiness or drowsiness 
  • Excessive tiredness or fatigue 
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness 
  • Xerostomia or dry mouth 
  • Anxiety 
  • Agitation 
  • Confusion 
  • Gain of appetite
  • Weight gain 
  • Gastrointestinal side effects including nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea/Constipation 

Mirtazapine is also associated with some serious side effects, which may include:

  • Allergic reaction associated with symptoms like redness of skin, itching, burning sensation, blisters, blue-purple patches, tightness of chest, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, hoarseness etc. 
  • Convulsions 
  • QT prolongation 
  • Pain and tightness in chest
  • Arrhythmia 
  • Flu like symptoms 

These side effects can vary from person to person. People who are on higher doses are more susceptible to these side effects. Report any problems with bleeding or bruising to your doctor. 

How to ensure the proper use of mirtazapine?

In order to achieve the maximum therapeutic response from a drug, it is extremely important to use it right. Read the following points for the proper use of mirtazapine:

  • Make sure mirtazapine is the right choice of antidepressant for you. Stick to your doctor’s recommended dose. Do not take more or less than that. 
  • Ask your doctor before taking mirtazapine if you’re pregnant, trying to conceive or if you’re a breastfeeding mother. 
  • If you fail to understand how to use the drug properly or have any other question, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
  • In case of overdose, immediately reach out to the hospital. Make sure you properly guide them about how much drug you have taken and when. 
  • If you have missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember, but if a lot of time has passed and your next dose is near, do not take it. It’s better to skip the missed dose and take the next one.
  • Report any problems with bleeding or bruising to your doctor. If you see any unexplained blisters or rashes on your body, or experience any problems with urination, or if you feel changes in your vision, immediately report to your healthcare provider. 
  • Keep the bottle away from children and pets. In case of overdose, immediately take them to the hospital. 

Consult your healthcare provider, if your mood worsens or you experience a serious side effect. Mirtazapine tends to induce suicidal behavior in users younger than 24 years of age. If you have someone who shows suicidal behavior or you see hopelessness in them, make sure you keep an eye on them and get medical attention as soon as you can. 

It is extremely important to monitor your side effects and inform your doctor about any other medication that you might be using along with your mirtazapine. Drug interactions are a real problem and they are often neglected. 

They should be an important consideration before taking two or more medicines together. Yes, drugs in combination are often used to achieve better therapeutic response but this is not the case with every interaction. 

Some drugs are highly incompatible with one another. They often cancel out each other’s effects or antagonise them. Some drugs are so incompatible that they end up changing the entire chemical composition of one another. 

Some interfere with metabolism or bioavailability (the rate and extent at which the active drug moiety enters systemic circulation/blood). This can lead to drug accumulation in different parts of the body. 

It is always advised to inform your healthcare provider of any medicine you take before getting a new prescription. Your doctor will make sure not to prescribe any such drug which might interfere with those you are already taking. 

Conclusion

In this blog post, we have discussed the time taken by mirtazapine to start making changes with your system. Mirtazapine is an antidepressant which is used to treat a number of mental health related problems. 

It usually takes up to 2-4 weeks to start producing its beneficial effects. This time period is taken because this antidepressant changes the amount of excitatory neurotransmitters in your brain and it can not happen overnight. 

Make sure you use this medication or any other medication only when your doctor has advised it. Using medications which can affect your brain is not something ideal and should not be encouraged unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. 

FAQs: how long for mirtazapine to work

How quickly does mirtazapine work for anxiety?

Mirtazapine usually takes up to 2-4 weeks to start producing its beneficial effects. This time period is taken because this antidepressant changes the amount of excitatory neurotransmitters in your brain and it can not happen overnight. 

Is mirtazapine fast acting?

Mirtazapine is an antidepressant and an antidepressant is a fast acting drug. These drugs make changes in your brain and later the amounts of different excitatory neurotransmitters in your system. This process takes time and you can not expect it to work overnight. Make sure you stick to the prescribed dose and do not deviate from it.

What are the most common side effects of mirtazapine?

  • Sleepiness or drowsiness 
  • Excessive tiredness or fatigue 
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness 
  • Xerostomia or dry mouth 
  • Anxiety 
  • Agitation 
  • Confusion 
  • Gain of appetite
  • Weight gain 
  • Gastrointestinal side effects including nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea/Constipation 

Is mirtazapine more effective at lower doses?

Mirtazapine is effective at lower doses only for the treatment of insomnia. However, the more complex mental health conditions require a proper dosage schedule in order to get better. 

Is 15mg of mirtazapine enough?

15mg mirtazapine is usually an initial dose of the treatment. It is always recommended to start from the lowest effective dose because it is impossible to predict how your body will react once it is exposed to this medication. The side effects vary from person to person and some people may exhibit the signs of allergic reactions soon after taking the first ever dose of mirtazapine. 

References 

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