An Overview of Medications Used for OCD

Medications Used to Treat OCD

Medications are one option available for OCD treatment. Psychiatrists or other physicians can prescribe these medications. These doctors often work closely with psychologists, social workers, or counselors who provide psychotherapy.
The most commonly used medications used for OCD are antidepressants.
A number of medications that were originally approved for treatment of depression have been found to be effective for OCD. If your doctor prescribes an antidepressant, you will need to take it for several weeks before your symptoms start to fade. So it is important not to get discouraged and stop taking these medications before they've had a chance to work.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
Some of the newest antidepressants are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. These medications act in the brain on a chemical messenger called serotonin.
SSRIs tend to have fewer side effects than older antidepressants. People do sometimes report feeling slightly nauseated or jittery when they first start taking SSRIs, but that usually disappears with time. Some people also experience sexual dysfunction when taking some of these medications. An adjustment in dosage or a switch to another SSRI will usually correct any bothersome problems. It is important to discuss side effects with your doctor so that he or she will know when there is a need for a change in medication.
Fluoxetine, sertraline, fluvoxamine, clomipramine, and paroxetine are among the SSRIs commonly prescribed for OCD. SSRIs are often used to treat people who have panic disorder in combination with OCD. Brand names for SSRIs used to treat OCD include:
  • Anafranil® (clomipramine)
  • Prozac® (fluoxetine)
  • Luvox® (fluvoxamine)
  • Zoloft® (sertraline)
  • Paxil® (paroxetine).
  • SSRI medications are started at a low dose and gradually increased until they reach a therapeutic level.
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