Diabetes and Depression
Even though a depression medication may affect blood sugar or the drugs being taken for diabetes may affect the depression medication, it does not necessarily mean it is not the right drug of choice. Close monitoring and dose adjustments of drugs may allow it to be taken. A health care provider will work with the person on choosing the best depression medication for diabetes.
Elavil is in a group of drugs called tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).This drug affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced.Serotonin and norepinephrine are neurotransmitters in the brain that are linked with depression with their levels are low. This drug works to raise the levels of those neurotransmitters. Elavil may cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate. Side effects include dry mouth, daytime drowsiness, blurred vision, tremors, weight gain, constipation, urine retention, increased heart rate, dizziness, and sexual problems. There are other TCAs that may also be considered safe for people with diabetes.
Paxil, an antidepressant, is in a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It restores the balance of serotonin by increasing its amount. Paxil may cause fluctuations in blood glucose levels, according to the University of Texas Health Science Center, but those fluctuations are said to be minimal. Side effects include dry mouth, mild nausea, headache, insomnia, feeling nervous and/or jittery, dizziness, weight changes, and sexual problems. Other SSRIs that may be helpful are Prozac and Zoloft.
Effexor is an antidepressant in a group of drugs called serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). This drug increases serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain. Evidence suggests that Effexor may be linked with bouts of hypoglycemia, which couldbe mild or severe. Side effects include dry mouth, drowsiness, strange dreams, changes in appetite, mild nausea, constipation, blurred vision, increased sweating, lightheadedness, and sexual problems. Another SNRI that may be helpful is Cymbalta.
Wellbutrin is an antidepressant that may increase the amounts of norepinephrine and dopamine, another neurotransmitter, in the brain. Evidence suggests that Wellbutrin may be linked with hyperglycemia, so consult your physician before starting on this drug. Insulin and diabetes pills may affect Wellbutrin’s performance. Side effects include dry mouth, decreased appetite, weight loss, anxiety, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and insomnia. This drug is much less likely to cause sexual problems.
The above drugs do have the potential of causing serious side effects in people with or without diabetes. These can include severe allergic reactions, thoughts of suicide, hallucinations, and seizures.
Diabetes is a complicated disease that can involve many other health problems. Therefore, it is important to talk to a health care provider before taking any drugs, including depression medications for diabetes.
Web MD: Drugs to Treat Depression - https://www.webmd.com/depression/recognizing-depression-symptoms/antidepressants
Northern County Psychiatric Associates: Diabetes, Depression and Stress - https://www.webmd.com/depression/recognizing-depression-symptoms/antidepressants
Drug Information Online (Drugs.com) - https://www.drugs.com/
University of Texas Health Science Center: Walking a Tightrope - https://www.uthscsa.edu/mission/winter96/diabetes.html
Image courtesy of https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Depression.jpg